About Stephanie Aguilar

Emu with Hornet's Nest, 2017, 12x24, oil

Artist's Statement

I am an oil painter who sometimes plays with acrylics and paints figurative subjects-- birds, animals and people-- against abstracted backgrounds.  I enjoy painting using quick, loose brushstrokes and vibrant color to convey movement and joy in my work.  Sometimes I wipe as much paint off a canvas as I put on, layering colors and experimenting with new techniques keeps painting fresh for me, along with lots of music and coffee.

I  especially love painting birds and they have dominated my work for many years.  They seem to be the perfect subject for me on many levels.  I try to capture flight and lightness in fast brush stokes on canvas.   The color in birds lends itself well to art and I enjoy the challenge of placing birds in settings that will enhance this natural beauty.  I also love the femininity of birds combined with the toughness they inherently possess in order to survive in the world.  The theme of motherhood works its way into my work with nests and eggs.

I am very much enjoying creating my latest series of work I started last fall.  I look to couture fashion for inspiration, especially the work of the late Alexander McQueen.  He also had an affinity for birds, along with feathers, branches and nests.  While looking at his work and the extravagant, theatrical runway shows he would produce, I am struck by his amazing creativity but also by the lengths we people go to to make women look "beautiful," sometimes in ways which may be uncomfortable, even dangerous.  But I wanted some joy in these paintings as well, and maybe a bit of humor.

I am also still working with a technique I stumbled upon last year, feeling anxious over the political climate, frustrated and a little "stuck" with my art.  I had an old painting on my easel waiting to be to painted over, when I had a sudden need to start painting -- no patience for gesso.  As I painted audacious chickens and some background over a moose with flower-covered antlers my emotions were redirected to the canvas.  They were now involved in a struggle between old painting and new, what to cover up and what to leave exposed, sometimes the new work taking over and at times the old work guiding the new.  These paintings remind me of a roll of film I double exposed many years ago, rendering surreal images of zoo animals coming out of a rental moving truck.  But this time, the challenge was to make the unrelated relate.  My anxiety that day was not so much forgotten as rechanneled.  "What the Cluck?" describes my typical “method,” forcing myself out of my comfort zone. 

This type of discovery is why I paint and though can be exhausting and frustrating it is what keeps me coming back to my studio.  It also may be why my paintings do not always look like part of the same collection. When I get too comfortable,    or things are losing their pull, I get deliberately reckless, because my most successful methods often come from my      mistakes and letting go of my fears.  And lots of coffee.

 

 

Background

Stephanie Aguilar earned her BA at The University of Illinois in Interior Design and worked for architectural and interior design firms in Chicago, Los Angeles and Denver. She has been painting, designing and creating her entire life, always experimenting with techniques and exploring color.  Stephanie lives in Golden Colorado with her husband and two daughters.