My graphic design clients are mostly non-profits and small businesses and once in awhile, I get pulled into their mission. That happened in 2004 when a non-profit called Divabetic was launched by Max Szadek. At the time, Max was the personal assistant to Luther Vandross. It was Max who found Luther passed out from the stroke he suffered in 2003. Since the stroke was caused by diabetes and lifestyle, Max named his organization in Luther’s honor, adding a “V” to the word diabetic. Since then, he has worked tirelessly to help women suffering with diabetes manage their disease. From the beginning I worked with Max to develop his brand—with over-the-top pink and orange glam marketing and web design and the mantra to “Be a Diva with your Diabetes!”.
Divabetic’s mission has always been to find a lighter, more positive way to address the difficult subject of diabetes. Since Max is a showman he naturally went to the loud, colorful glam treatment with feather boas, glam styles and colors. Max knew that this was a serious subject that needed a light touch.
After years of designing the website, the marketing materials and the programs, Max asked me to find an interesting way to address emotional eating. That was the beginning of Plate Poetry. The plates have traveled to different locations to deepen people’s awareness of emotional eating and now I am taking them back to my studio to continue my own exploration into my own battle with food.
The piece I am submitting for the lightbox represents my daily battle with food. These are the foods from my childhood that gave me solace, joy, and peace when it was unavailable to me through relationships.
Late this summer I am installing the plates themselves in a Danbury store window. The plates are all vintage plates purchased at Goodwill and other thrift shops. The words were printed on paper, cut out and then glued to the plates. Dull varnish was then applied to the surface of the plates.
Previous exhibitions of the plates were at wellness fairs and events. An additional set was created on plates provided by Oneida Dinnerware. The Oneida plates will continue to be exhibited by Divabetic while the thrift shop plates are now solely in my possession and will be used in my own installations.
As a graphic designer, I use my skills to help individuals and organizations increase their visibility and brand. As an artist, I explore my own emotions and behaviors, looking to the past for clues to what makes me tick and why certain legends or stories feel so familiar. Adhering words to stacks of plates was initially a graphic way to help women understand the connection between food and emotion and led to an exploration of my own emotional eating. I now look to the plates to learn more about how we mask emotional deprivation with the provision of food.
• BFA, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn NY
• Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS), Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT In Progress
2016: Cladding, Exterior Mural, East Wall Westville at 12 Fountain Street, New Haven CT
2015: Wall/Paper, Moira Fitzsimmons Arons Art Gallery, Hamden Hall, Hamden CT
2015: Banton Street & The Quinnipiac River State Park, Mitchell Library, New Haven CT
2015: New Work, Project Space, New Haven CT
2014: Fear and Familiarity, City-Wide Open Studios, New Haven CT
2014: Coats, West Cove Gallery, West Haven CT
2012: Shelters, Caves and More, Discovery Museum, Bridgeport CT
2012: Walk in the Woods, Mitchell Library, New Haven CT
2011: Shelters, Caves and More, Pound Ridge Library, Pound Ridge, NY
2010: Recent Works Inspired by the Old Leather Man, LAA Gallery, Stamford CT
2008: Journeys: A Closer Look, The Flow of Art Gallery, Norwalk CT
2008: Recent Work, Evergreen Woods Gallery, North Branford, CT
2006: New Works on Paper, Mayor’s Gallery, Stamford Government Center, Stamford, CT. Curator: Lina Morielli
2014: Por Oaxaca, The Institute LIbrary, New Haven, CT
2013: Now & Then, Gallery at Constitution Plaza, Hartford, CT
2013: City Wide Open Studios, New Haven, CT
2013: On Nature, Perspectives…The Gallery at Whitney Center, Hamden CT
2012: About Paper, The Institute LIbrary, New Haven, CT
2012: City Wide Open Studios, New Haven, CT
2012: Mid Winter Mix, 22 Haviland Street Gallery, South Norwalk, CT
2011: Daybooks: Artists’ Daily Reflections, Prairie Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio
2011: Elements, Loft Artists Association Gallery, Stamford, CT
2010: Stamford Barns, Mayor’s Gallery, Stamford Government Center, Stamford, CT
2009: Bits & Pieces, BID Gallery, New Rochelle, NY. Curator: Jonathan Talbot
2009: LAA Draws!, Loft Artists Association Gallery, Stamford, CT
2009: Change of Space, Wilton Library, Wilton, CT
2008: unConventional Self, Loft Artists Association Gallery, Stamford, CT
2007: land*marks, 22 Haviland Street Gallery, Norwalk, CT
Awards, Fellowships & Residencies:
• May 2015: One Month Residency, Weir Farm National Historic Site (U.S. National Park Service), Wilton CT
• May 2012, State of Connecticut DECD and COA Artist Fellowship
Samples of work that relate to the submitted image: