We had the good fortune of connecting with Cynthia Fletcher and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cynthia, we’d love to hear more about your end-goal, professionally.
My goal is to build my ability to express a thought, a feeling or an idea
visually. This drives me to continue to refine skills and expand my tool kit
of techniques in order to forge an image that will convey what I’m
chasing. The piece I create is the shadow left by the thought or emotion
that evoked it. I have never regarded what I do as a career. I enjoy the
process of making things but the tangible “products” are secondary to the
quest to convey the intangibles that define our lives. A certain feeling
moves through me and I know that I have to try to give it form. I need to
bring my full attention to it and as soon as I’m done, I know that I am just
that much better equipped for starting the next piece. There will be no
end. I know that I will keep responding to the pull and keep following the
excitement of the next vision. I can’t imagine life without the very
personal and compelling joy of working in the studio.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I was a graphic artist and printmaker for decades. The range of tools and
techniques kept me interested and I enjoyed finding new imagery with a
new technique. I loved the combination of technical understanding and
openness to chance that it takes to be a printmaker. At a certain point I
moved toward realism in my prints. I was creating head studies in layers
of transparent inks or doing a head study in values of black over a
multilayered monotype. I realized that I had never painted directly, and
decided to learn a bit about oils. I became immersed in the new medium
and found I had a great drive to describe form accurately. Three
years ago I had a trauma in my life and I used painting as a method of
understanding it and describing my feelings about it. One year ago Covid understanding it and describing my feelings about it. One year ago Covid
19 changed the world forever. I began recording images that the virus
wrought that I had never seen before. I used a traditional, descriptive
technique to record a highly emotional historic event. I wrote about each
piece and became a reporter with a brush. I continue my coronavirus
series trying to capture how deeply effecting the changes that the
coronavirus brought to the world are for the individual.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Because I’m art centric I would first recommend spending all day at the
Getty Center, taking breaks from the galleries to stroll the gardens. Make
sure to spend a day at the Huntington, primarily focusing on their gardens including the extraordinary new Chinese garden
and make sure to take a break mid day in the Tea Room in the Rose
garden. The Broad’s curated shows are a must, as is recovering afterwards
with a meal at Otim. A full day is needed to take in all the contemporary
galleries in Bergamot Station in Santa Monica where new art by emerging
artists can be viewed and taken home if you are so inclined. Cassia is a
great place to discuss all you saw over delicious Southeast Asian food.
Now that you’ve gotten a good dose of culture, how about a hike on the
Malibu coast, in either Tuna or Zuma canyon, or at Malibu Creek. Rest up
afterwards at the Saddle Peak Lodge, but make sure to get there while the
sun is still up because the place demands exploring. Then I recommend a
drive to Laguna Beach for a hike in the hills followed by a swim at the
cove of your choice. Have drinks at the Rooftop followed by dinner at
Lumberyard, Sapphire or the Belgian Bistro.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My artistic life began as a child thanks to my mother. She was a lifelong
artist, training at the Art Student’s League in New York City, and the
Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and produced work for over 80
years. Through her I learned the joy of a creative life. After graduating I have continued to study art at colleges, in workshops and in private
studios. I try to spend time creating with artists I particularly admire in
order to listen to their thoughts and watch their methods of working. Most
recently I studied with Catherine Kehoe, Maggie Siner and Deborah
Davidson. Each gave me vast amounts of new information to sift through
and inspired me to incorporate countless new ideas and methods into my
own artistic practice. I have a group of creative friends called the
ArtCircle who have met routinely for years. We discuss how
we foster and maintain creativity, tip one another off to good exhibits,
concerts and movies, we show our work and talk about what we are up to
and ask for feedback. Over the years we have helped one another grow
and find success as well as weather life’s hardest moments . The circle of
support and encouragement has had a profound effect on all of us.