LELIA BYRON

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I paint stories of people and places both real and imagined. Everything in this world has a story: objects, people, and places. I am a lover of stories and a storyteller myself. I paint individuals, but I also see my work as an exploration of the universality of human dreams, needs, struggles, and joys. Paintings for me are like books: the closest you can get to showing the things you experience and feel in real life. That’s because art like books requires it viewer’s imagination to describe the intangible that occurs in the everyday.  Yet, a painting exposes all its elements at the same time and connects all its pieces simultaneously. A book is woven in one direction. A painting has no one beginning, it has no one end.

 

Narrating through use of multiple figures on one canvas, thick oil paint, and bright colors, I find inspiration in meeting new people and seeing different places. In this way, although my work speaks about much broader topics, it is also very autobiographical because it tells the story of where I go and what I am thinking about. The studio is like a manifestation of the inside of my head: all my thoughts and feelings tacked on pieces of paper, drawings and experiments hanging off the walls, canvases stacked. I like artwork that is original, personal, intimate, and emotional. Art is a love story with creating, discovering, and challenging. I am driven by this need and also by the feeling that I have something to say.

 

I want people to talk about the topics I paint, and in general for my paintings to connect with people and connect people. I  think that my paintings often take on many different roles. A painting can be something that transforms canvas to bring back in detail a grandmother’s late husband. A painting can be a means to change a desolate piazza in a small town in Sicily to a place full of life as people stop by daily to see the mural painting develop, to bring gifts of fruit and ice cream in appreciation, and to discuss as I am high in the scaffolding the direction of the painting. Should Mount Etna be erupting? Who should I paint in the image? A painting can be exhibited in a university as a way to tell a story of unheard individuals and to encourage a discussion about undocumented factory workers in the US. This is something that is very exciting to me– that painting, with its limitless definition, can be anything and serve any purpose. 

 

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