Attending Open Studios in 2018 introduced Blaise Simonelli to an undiscovered passion: painting. She says she suddenly “felt the pull to create.” While growing up in southwest Florida, Blaise says she was oblivious to the world of art and what it would mean for her later in life. But after what would become a life-altering experience, the Boulder artist says, “I basically bought an easel and got right to it!” In the beginning, Blaise painted landscapes and animals from photographs until she stumbled upon something new. “I experimented with abstract, where my true passion resides.”
H+G: Please describe your artistic style and medium(s).
Blaise: My style falls in the abstract expressionist genre. I prefer nonrepresentational, with the intention of harmonizing and incorporating both quiet and bold spaces. I use acrylic paint and a variety of mark-making tools.
H+G: What is your favorite thing about creating art?
Blaise: Losing myself. This happens every time I paint.
H+G: What is your greatest challenge about creating art?
Blaise: The ‘ugly stage.’ I’ve heard it is simply part of the creative process, but it can feel daunting when you’re in the thick of it. You’re jamming along and bam, there it is! You’re in the weeds … but it’s only temporary.
H+G: What inspires you?
Blaise: My mom, with her unwavering support and love. She is my greatest fan—and for me, there is no more powerful driving force. And this probably goes without saying for most artists, but other artists inspire me substantially.
H+G: What terrifies you?
Blaise: That’s a hard one. Offending people is near the top of the list, for sure. Seeing others—especially animals—in pain or suffering. Injustices. Climate change.
H+G: Why are you drawn to painting?
Blaise: It’s an outlet for me, sort of like a form of therapy. Painting grants humility, but it’s also liberating, and I benefit from both. I love the feeling of reckless abandon, which is predominantly the state I’m in when painting. And I love seeing the end result—even more so when someone else resonates with the work. That is when the experience comes full circle for me.
H+G: What artists do you admire?
Blaise: Karen Scharer, Ruth Schleeh, Kitty Sabatier, Julia Rehme and so, so many others. These four women, though, there are no words for their talent. Their work is authentic and bold, yet soft and mesmerizing.
H+G: What is your favorite pastime?
Blaise: It was always reading, and then these beautiful pigs joined my life, and I started painting. Now, it’s most definitely spending time with my pig kids—Doug, Harold, Hector and Riley. I’ve had them four years now, and I can’t imagine life without them. They love to eat and nap—particularly in a warm mud wallow—and they love kisses! When I kiss them on their snouts, they get really excited, and sometimes they return a kiss by breathing back on you. It’s a hard, concentrated breath that’s deliberate and warm—literally—and made just for you. It’s easily the highlight of my day!
H+G: What do you want your art to say?
Blaise: More than wanting my art to say something, I want it to evoke emotion and convey something for the viewer at a more personal level—something I wouldn’t necessarily understand or even be aware of. In a sense, I want my art to belong to the spectator because I’ve already established my experience with a piece, and I can cherish that.
Visit blaisesimonelli.com to find out where Blaise is currently exhibiting and to view her other works.