Art is communication. It delivers one’s message with shapes, colors, tints, and shades. Dee Perconti is a St. Petersburg, Florida based artist, whose collages are mesmerizing with stories to share. So meet Dee Perconti, Bella Unica’s featured artist, whose art sings!
When did you initially know you loved art and started to learn and create? What caught your attention? What was the AHA moment?
When I was 4 or 5, my Mom would find me reaching up and drawing with chalk on the underside of the dining room table. Apparently, it was my safe place to create. So I’ve loved art as long as I can remember.
Even though life and career distracted me for a while, I came back to study art, seriously, about 20 years ago, at a friend’s urging. Now I spend every free moment making art.
Many different forms of art speak to me. Strong color has always attracted me; whether in nature, art or in humans – their eye color, skin tone, lips, etc. Fashion is important to me, because it’s wearable art and it’s a daily way I express myself.
Antiques have always appealed to me, especially carved woods and fine pottery, like Roseville. Chihuly glass thrills me with its fluid movement, and ebb and flow. I go crazy when I see the enormous Chihuly chandelier at the Vinoy Hotel, in St. Petersburg, FL.
So art and color have always been integral in my life and can actually determine my disposition. If it is dreary out, you’ll see me in bright red or cerulean blue. Those colors make me happy and energize me.
Who are your favorite artists: both well-known and unknown? Why?
My favorite artist is Franz Marc, a German Expressionist and one of the founders of Der Blaue Reiter. He was an important contributor to the development of abstract art in the early 1900’s. He and Kandinsky led the Der Blaue Reiter movement. The name came from Franz’s love of horses and Kandinsky’s love of riders. Both of them loved the color blue!
He touches my heart for several reasons. First, because he died tragically and needlessly at age 36 in the war. There had been a call for all notable artists (he was one) to withdraw from the war, but before he got that news, he was killed in battle. I mourn the art he never had the chance to make.
I am also moved by his voluptuous, joyful blue horses. They are round and graceful. His blues and yellows vibrate off of the canvass. I had horses as a child and can almost feel the wind in my hair when I see a Franz Marc. And there is something childlike and innocent about painting your horse blue. I try to capture that childlike feeling in my work.
Other artists that are among my favorites are:
- Renoir’s misty colors and layered skin tones of women – magnificent.
- Chagall’s Opera House ceiling in Paris made me gasp audibly.
- Van Gogh’s turquoise blue self-portrait kicked me in the gut.
- Kahlo’s pain and angst in her work, makes me weep.
Still… my heart is with Franz Marc.
What is your favorite medium? Was it always that or was that an evolution?
My favorite medium by far is mixed media/collage. I painted for years, first in oil, which I am not patient enough to work in, and then in acrylic. So I found I had many, many canvasses stacked up, most of which did not please me. I rarely displayed them or put them in shows.
THEN I FOUND MY VOICE at a mixed media workshop given by Rose Marie Prins, an award-winning artist, and inspiring teacher. The floodgates opened!!! I ripped up my old canvases and created new collage works from them. There is something extremely satisfying and therapeutic about ripping. You should try it.
Also, I find the fitting of the collage pieces together is soothing and calming. It is the opposite of our chaotic world.
I combine vibrant colors and shapes from the old paintings and make something new. I can’t stop! I enjoy it so much, it’s all I want to do. I’m trying different techniques now using, paper, canvass, paint and found objects.
Your collages are very magnetic! What inspires your creations?
What inspires me are personal experiences. For instance, one of my pieces is a collaged and painted Spanish Madonna. I have spent lots of time in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos. My husband and I fell in love with the peace, simplicity and gentleness of those places. I tried to capture that. Also, the Madonna is a throwback to my upbringing in the Catholic Church.
I want to mention that presentation is very important to me. The Madonna piece was not complete until I took her to Rob, at Davidson Fine Art, and he designed the cathedral frame. Now it is cohesive. Several of my works are built around the antique frames my mother gave me. For example, one of the antique frames has carved curly cues; so I repeated those shapes in the collage. I love the wholeness of that.
Out of all your work, which one is your favorite. Why? Please share the story behind it.
One of my abstract collages is my favorite, because it is so close to my heart. It is the story of a young girl I know, who was trapped in human trafficking. She gets on her yellow horse and rides to freedom. There is a happy sun, so we know she will be fine.
I am an advocate for Rapha House, which rescues and heals children who have been victims, so this cause is continually on my mind.
When you are buying a piece of art or décor for your home, what’s most important for you? What do you look for?
When buying art, it must strike something in my heart. I am totally repelled by sofa art – something that just matches your decor! The art must resonate, move, touch, inspire and please my eye.
While some disturbing art makes important political or social statements, I don’t want it around me. My home and office are my happy, safe places and I fill them with vibrant colors and lovely shapes.
What are your future plans as an artist?
I will keep experimenting with my collage. I see it evolving and moving and growing. I will do more with statement framing and unusual presentation. I will try textures, materials and found objects that I haven’t tried before.
I will collage until I drop!!! It is ultimately satisfying and now I love showing my work!