Originally published in the September-October 2018 issue of VivaTysons Magazine
Making space in life to create
VivaTysons and VivaReston Art Director Mary Jeanne Cincotta balances a life as wife, mother, graphic artist, and part-time gardener, along with recently returning to her love of creating original art. While that sounds time-challenging, her belief is that one simply has to make room in life to pursue one’s dreams. She refers to it as “making space.” ‘The more space you can find, physical space or time, the more activity you can devote to your own ideas and passions while juggling day-to-day commitments,’ she reasons.
Mary Jeanne received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Virginia Tech where she studied painting, pottery, drawing and graphic design. Although she has been devoting most of her time the last 15 years to her career in graphic design, she has returned to some inspirational images she developed in college and produced a number of watercolors and spray-painted stencils now available as prints.
Her latest original work was developed with customization in mind. “In college, I created a series of Mermaids in Cocktails as 3 feet by 5 feet canvases made using large stencils and spray paint. The pieces were sold, but I always thought I’d be able to mass produce them if I kept the stencils, but they were difficult to store properly. So, I revisited the idea on a smaller scale wanting to be able to create an array of color variations with the same image. You never know what people are going to like, and spray-painted stencils give a piece more freedom of expression.”
“When I was getting my fine arts degree, I branched out into all directions of art and loved going from drawing, to painting, to illustration and pottery. But I was in a rush. I graduated in 3 years plus a summer, earning my bachelors degree with a concentration in graphic design and decided if I was going to have a career in art, then I would need to stick with graphic design and put aside my desires to paint and throw pots. But now I’m forty and I’ve decided that life’s too short to not do what you really love. I have a good career now, and some extra time, and the advancements in digital reproductions make selling art as digital prints a more cost-effective and marketable enterprise. I can keep the originals, which are difficult to price, and instead ask, ‘What size would you like? Framed or canvas print? Would you like it on a pillow or a beach towel?’”
You can order digital reproductions of various artists’ work, including Mary Jeanne’s at FineArtAmerica.com. Artists set the price that they would like to make from each sale, but the majority of the cost of the art is the cost of reproduction and framing. Partnering with FineArtAmerica.com allows for the reproduction of art on a number of products besides canvas prints and framed digital prints, such as pillows, towels, phone cases, tote bags, notebooks, greeting cards and more.
Mary Jeanne has also added a number of digitally altered photographs of Italy that she took on her honeymoon 15 years ago. “My father purchased for me one of the very first digital cameras they made at the time and it captured some great highlights of Italy. We visited Rome, Venice and Florence and I have just recently reworked some of them using Photoshop to create faux paintings using the digital images. Now you can reproduce them as canvas prints.
“I’m also reinventing concepts I developed in college as multi-canvas paintings and creating offshoots of the same idea as digital illustrations. I created a painting from a figure line drawing of a couple embracing with different color variations spread out onto 4 polygon-shaped canvases. The finished product is very difficult to replicate, but the concept translates well to digital art. And I thought that if I created a similar piece on standard-shaped canvases using Adobe Illustrator, the product would be customizable to any size and varying the colors for each version of the reproduction would be simple and easy to reproduce.”
Her plans for pursuing her love of pottery are in the works, too, having recently purchased a kiln for her Herndon home-based studio. “I purchased studio time at Audrey Moore Rec Center a few years ago and developed a series of pottery pieces made from different combinations of thrown pots that were cut and pieced together to make very uniquely shaped vases. I sold most of them, but am dying to make some more—just trying to find room to fit a pottery wheel in my basement.”
Mary Jeanne is following through on that notion of making space in order to continue her artistic journey. She encourages everyone else to pursue their grand ideas. “Allow yourself the time/space to create—to do the things that make you happy.”
Framed digital prints or canvas prints of Mary Jeanne’s work can be purchased at fineartamerica.com/profiles/mj-cincotta.html.