After 20 years as a commercial artist in New York, this week’s cover artist, Donna Corvi, needed a change. Now she is a full-time artist based in Montauk. A quick scan of her work makes one thing clear: she is quite fond of trees. So it’s only fitting that during the holiday season we should feature her painting, “Pine Tree.” We reached out to Corvi to find out what she admires so much about trees and to discuss her new projects, using found art to create 3-D pieces.
Trees are a definite motif in your work. Can you talk a little bit about what draws you to that particular subject?
Trees, especially in their naked state, have always been a delight for my senses. The patterns the bare branches make, tangled or straight and tall, the sounds they make as they rub together in the wind, the changing light of day and sunsets as backgrounds or the fragrance of evergreen in the winter—all have inspired me to capture it on canvas all these years.
You’ve also been experimenting recently with 3-D art. What drew you to that?
I have been so saddened by the environmental changes happening on our planet: pollution, fires, deforestation, tree diseases and more. I felt the best way to bring a visual consciousness to people was to bring it to a stark reality with three-dimensional objects in my tree-totem and pollution series. Using branches I gather on my long walks, I use black paint, compounds and sometimes cement to create small, medium and large wall sculptures that can be both disturbing and beautiful at the same time.
Do you prefer one medium to the other?
I love going back and forth between the media—they each help me see things differently!
Your 3-D art uses found art. Can you explain what found art is and give an example of a great piece you’ve found that made it into your work?
To me, found art is finding beauty or interesting qualities in a discarded item, man-made or nature made and using minimal modifications to make it uniquely yours. I’ve always loved picking things up I find on my walks, or at rummage sales, and storing them in open bins until something just clicks. Right now I’m collecting pieces for an outdoor piece I will call “All Creatures Great and Small.” One that is my favorite is a 6-foot tree ornament that began with a rusted metal barrel band found at the recycling center.
Is there another artist working in this medium you think our readers should know?
I do love local artist Scott Bluedorn’s work!
Is there a particular place on the East End you go looking for great trees and/or found art?
Montauk! Whether it’s on my walks along roads, on the beaches or in the woods—my pieces are 100% Montauk found or grown!
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
I do. Never stop creating! Starting out, it’s difficult to support oneself doing only art. But there’s no shame in having another way of supporting your talent. Sketch, keep a journal of ideas, and don’t stop doing what brings you joy—the rewards are emotionally and creatively fulfilling and will enhance whatever you do in life.
Where can our readers see your work?
I will have several small works at the Woodbine Collection in Montauk through January 8, 2017. Plus, my website donnacorvi.com.