MilspoFAN: Tell us a little about yourself, your journey as a military spouse, and where you are today.
Patrizia: I grew up in Europe in a multicultural family to a Polish mother and an Italian father. Much of my youth was influenced by the Germanic culture of Switzerland and Bavaria. I suppose my youth prepared me for a melting pot world and in hindsight, the United States is the best place for this reality to land.
I was living in Amberg, Germany back in 2008, finishing school as a linguist, when my now husband transferred to Vilseck with the Army. As he says, “Patrizia was minding her own business, I wasn’t.” After dating, interrupted by a deployment, we married in 2011. In 2016 our beautiful daughter completed our family by her debut only one day after graduating in BUS&ADM from Mount Saint Mary College in NY.
We view the moves that come with the honor of serving our country as “long term tourism”. Everywhere we have lived has its own regional history, culture, traditions and values. This is also where I draw inspiration for my paintings-local scenes, historic places, rare flowers or animals are always the first to be painted. We have lived in the Germany, D.C., N.C., N.Y., C.A., and now back to Germany. We have enjoyed the first 11 years of our journey together, and look forward to the adventures to follow.
MilspoFAN: How did you become a painter?
Patrizia: Painting has been a lifelong passion. I first remember painting around age 5. My brother has some pieces of mine from that age on his wall and my mother has a piece of mine from around high school. Sometimes people ask me “How long did it take to you do this painting” and the short answer might be 3 hours or 5 hours, but the real answer is life long. It took whole life to gather the experiences and perfect the techniques to paint this way.
MilspoFAN: Describe for us your creative work and the aesthetic of your painting.
Patrizia: I currently work exclusively in watercolor. I have a few oils out there, but watercolor has been my central medium over the last 3 years. When I paint, I go to a happy place, filled with color and joy, and I think about the person receiving the painting. Especially with commissions, where I know that 9/10 times there will be a small happy tear in their eye because the painting is most likely of a childhood home, or a beloved late dog, or their father’s boat where they spent the summers of their youth.
The Monterey Dreamland collection, as I’ll explain below, is an outlier that departed from my normal style without retreating from my normal aesthetic.
MilspoFAN: How has your role as a military spouse impacted your work as a painter- creatively, logistically, or otherwise?
Patrizia: Being a military spouse is the key that opened up my artistic niche as a painter of home portraits back in 2017. That marked the point when my art moved from a passion to a business reality, a jump that many artists more talented than me struggle to make. Our recent assignment in Monterey brought with it exposure in the Navy Community and the introduction of custom Navy nautical charts.
The military community is basically a metropolitan city spread out all over the world. Like a large city, you don’t know everyone, but you will bump into folks again from time to time. And like a large city, everyone is ultimately connected. Every time a family with my art moves to a new community, my exposure within the military community broadens.
MilspoFAN: How do you cultivate your creativity?
Patrizia: My clients mostly do that for me. I specialize in custom renditions of important points in people’s lives. And these clients do an amazing job of capturing really beautiful parts of the experience we call life. I’m honored to be able to join those memories and to transform photos into art.
For the Monterey Dreamland Exhibit, I departed from my normal style and entered a surreal world inspired by Salvador Dali. That show was allot of fun but also very stressful as it was my very first solo exposition.
The Monterey Dreamland Collection, though surreal, maintained my underlying positive outlook on life. It addressed the environmental polarity that exists between man and nature but did it in such a way that if the viewer were to never consider the deeper meaning, that they could still enjoy the beauty of the art itself
MilspoFAN: How do you meet other artists or plug into the local arts scene when you PCS?
Patrizia: With every move I experience a break in the relationships I build with the local art communities where I live. That is honestly frustrating and in some ways I feel like I’m starting over with building artistic roots.
media provides an open avenue to quickly connect with other local military artists after a move. We all share that common experience of being ripped away and starting relationships from scratch, so when I message a stranger who is a fellow military spouse artist for coffee it doesn’t come off as completely weird.
MilspoFAN: What’s next for you?
Patrizia: Opening my own studio in early 2020. I’ve already signed for a space here in Amberg, Germany and I have big plans to open this place up for local military spouses. I am thinking about not only having a spce for my art and painting brushes, but also offering private art classes, group painting classes paint&wine style as well as art classes for kids. This will be a learning experience in bringing my product to a larger audience. Additionally, there are talks about partnerships with many interesting venues as well as other military spouse entrepreneurs. Partnership and cooperation is the theme for 2020 for me. I’m very excited about the upcoming year and the new friendships it will offer.
MilspoFAN: What is the most practical piece of advice that you would give to other artists?
Patrizia: Remain open minded. Reach out and ask questions. The art isn’t the end…a better and more beautiful world is the end.
The art scene is more about why you create than what you make. People should feel a connection to you and your art. When your art enters a home, part of you enters with it. If that link isn’t created, the collector will have less of a connection with your work.
Share with other artists how you do what you do. It was an artist in Three Rivers, CA that shared with me how Facebook networking moved her art from a local level, struggling to pay the bills, to a national draw with more demand than she can handle. The “Artists Helping Artists” podcast helped me better grasp the practical business side of art. In both of these examples, individual artists realized that helping others is not a threat to their own customer base. In fact, helping others expands your own relationships and enlarges the true legacy that an artist leaves behind, their impact on the larger world.
MilspoFAN: How do you use your art practice to raise awareness of environmental matters?
Patrizia: The Monterey Dreamland was a unique platform in the perfect place to broach discussion on the reality that we live in a fragile and connected planet. I combined seemingly unrelated local icons in Monterey, California to send an environmental message. The exhibit location in an international tourist town, along with the proximity to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, helped that message move from my studio, into the gallery, and back into homes across the world.
MilspoFAN: Is there anything else that you would like to share with the readers?
Patrizia: Yes, reach out to me. If you are a creative military spouse looking to connect, reach out. If you know somebody who is a military artist, encourage them to reach out. Key people invested in my life, and I want to pay that forward.