July 10, 2009


Miss Olivia — creating art and loving it

Cortland artist to exhibit in Syracuse

ArtJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Cortland artist Olivia Squillace talks about the process of creating sculptures with found objects, stone tile and mirror shards.

Living and Leisure Editor

Olivia Squillace said she gets excited about all of her artwork, whatever piece she is working on.
But then there’s a work that is over the top.
Her image: “Bee — Awesome,” uses the photo of a bee pollinating a flower, but it is superimposed over the image of a woman’s head and shoulder, and it appears as if the bee is intersecting the woman’s eye.
“This is something that’s completely ... beyond unique,” she said. “When I get taken back by my own work, then I know it’s all worth it,” said the Cortland artist, known as Miss Olivia.
Squillace used a photo of herself from her modeling days for the image and the result, “Bee — Awesome,” is the central theme of her show of the same name, which will open at The Enchanted Bazaar with a reception from 3 to 9 p.m. July 31. All are welcome to attend the event at the 212 N. Franklin St., Syracuse, shop next to the Dinosaur Barbecue.
The show will run through Aug. 30. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The work of two other artists will be featured, but most will be provided by Squillace, who will show over 20 works.
The mixed media artist works with wood, glass, photos, paint, grout and mortar to convey an idea, creating wall hangings, sculptures and useable art, like lamps. “I don’t do one thing,” she said. She has been painting since 1995 and doing mosaics since 2002.
A mosaic, called “Sun Flora” captures a flower using colored shards of glass. The all-mighty dollar sign is captured by a bold dollar symbol painted white with glass pieces and grout. A spring lamp with giant coils, “This Little Light of Mine,” rises out of a wooden platform. One horizontal work displays a series of photos of a nude female on a dark background, covered with a layer of Envirotec, which gives it more of a three dimensional look. “You’ve got to have a nude in a show,” she said.
Her central piece, “Bee — Awesome” is a poster size image of the woman and the bee adhered to a sanded down and painted piece of wood. The image is covered with Envirotec, giving its a clear lacquered coat. “I’m going to put (quartz) power crystals all over it,” she said of the border.There will be four other versions of this image in the show: including one Andy Warhol like with four 8 by 10 pieces of the image, grouped together, all multi colored. Another framed version will just focus on the head of the woman.
Squillace used Photoshop to make the image in 2006, using a friend’s photo of the flower and her modeling photo. “He’s stinging me with his good light and I am giving him good light,” she said.
The work is important to her on many levels.
“I have to be my own cheerleader. I am going to go out there swinging,” she said. “Why not “Bee Awesome.” I have been doing this since 1995. It’s time to be positive, put my work out there, as well as my person ... ‘be awesome’ is my mantra for life ... That’s how I feel now in life. You have to put your best foot forward.”
Squillace has exhibited in Munson Williams Proctor Institute Summer Sidewalk Show in Utica and at the Stolizzo Gallery in Chicago. This is her first show in Syracuse.
“Ever since I could color, I really started to create. It’s like Christmas.”
She finishes a work at night and it may be all wet with a coat of Envirotec and then goes to bed. She wakes up the next day and it’s like Christmas morning — “When I get a cool present.”
The piece has transformed as it dries and the end product is a gift.


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