Florida based artist, Gina White uses mixed media to visually interpret philosophical writings and poetry; particularly Christian mystics such as Thomas Merton, St. Teresa of Avila and C.S. Lewis. However, she has also done studies of popular music including U2, Arcade Fire, and Mumford and Sons. Since poetry is as subjective as fine art, she expresses her “visual reading” in an abstract style, leaving others to find their own meaning in the work.
Gina’s art is edgy, powerful and has stories to tell.
NV: When was the first time you identified as an artist?
GW: I don’t know if there was a magic moment when I began to think of myself as an artist. Growing up, I gravitated towards art. I took art electives in high school & college, but never took my art seriously. Art played little to no role in my life as I graduated, got married and began a career as a speech pathologist. My world changed in 2005 when I developed ulcerative colitis while pregnant with my son. I became bedridden and housebound for almost 7 years. During this time of forced inactivity and pain, I started drawing. At first I was very self-conscious, and didn’t want anyone to see my drawings. During that time in my life, creating art was a very personal experience, and sharing it, even with my family, left me feeling vulnerable and raw.
Casting Cares. Mixed Media
Eventually I realized that the process of creating was cathartic and therapeutic. I began sharing with my family and friends, and they in turn have been encouraging and supportive. I am healthy now, and continue to paint. Art has become such an integral part of my life now. It helps me process thoughts, emotions, and life experiences. I can’t imagine experiencing life without it.
Glorious Day. Mixed Media
Unmade. Mixed Media
NV: You are a huge supporter of the local arts and crafts community. Tell us about your projects and future plans.
GW: For the last several years I have been involved with Shorecrest Prepatory School’s Celebrate the Arts week. It’s a wonderful series of events that expose the students to myriad forms of art. One of the most exciting parts of the week is the Artist Teach-In. During the Teach-In, over 40 visual and performing artists from the community generously volunteer their time to come teach the students a skill or technique and allow them to explore their own creativity in a hands-on activity. It is one of the students’, teachers’ and volunteers favorite days of the year! We hope to continue developing relationships between the artists in our community and Shorecrest, through artist-in-residence programs, after school and summer camp opportunities.
I am also involved in a new Art Ministry program at First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in downtown St. Pete. We are in the early stages of program development, but currently have plans to offer art support groups, music lessons and opportunities for artists to show/exhibit work. In the future, we plan on developing relationships with the student artists at USF and within the community.
NV: I know that both of your kids are very creative. What advice would you give parents, so their kids would be interested in art?
GW: Kids have varying interests, and art might not be everyone’s “thing”. Having said that, everyone can be an appreciator of art.
- Exposing children at a young age to various forms of art can be beneficial to them, even if they don’t have an interest in pursuing it as a hobby or a more serious passion.
- Discussing various paintings, art styles/movements, and techniques with a child can pique their interest, especially if they can then see some of those paintings in real life at a museum. There are many art appreciation books available for children, even ABC board books for the youngest child.
- And of course, one of the best ways to get a child interested in art is to have him or her make some!
NV: Out of all your work, which one is your favorite. Why? Please share the story behind it.
GW: My favorite painting is Awake II. It was the first time I had a “vision” of what I wanted to paint, and was able to transfer my ideas to canvas. It was also the first time I painted a piece with my feelings leading the process rather than the technical aspects of line, shape, etc. It was a freeing process for me, and it helped me get over my fear of a “white canvas” and of “making a mistake”.
Awake II. Mixed Media
NV: When you are buying a piece of art or décor for your home, what’s most important for you? What do you look for?
GW: I look for pieces that speak to me, either through a special memory or person, or one that evokes an emotion or state of mind.
NV: What are your future plans as an artist?
GW: In November, my artwork will be presented at the Exquisite Corpse show, at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Florida. I am continuing to grow and develop as an artist, exploring new ways to express myself through creative new mediums.