2 Oxford Rd | Kingston 5
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Artists: Tina Spiro

Artist Statement

My new series of portraits of friends, family and persons I admire is a new direction in my work. Having embraced environmental and spiritual themes in my paintings of the last thirty years, I came to the realization that people needed to see themselves in the picture to understand their own role in society, custodianship of the world we live in, and just the plain fun of trying themselves out as images from art history.

Additionally, I have wanted to do portraits since my art student days, but had no previous instruction in this particular specialty. So, feeling it is never too late to learn something new, I embarked on a series of portraits of friends, family, and “luminaries” (in the sense that they shine from both without and within), casting each subject in the role of an appropriate portrait from art history. My references so far have included Rembrandt, Velasquez, Van Gogh, Modigliani, Ingres, vintage photography, Picasso, and lesser know artists from Latin American art history.

Each invited sitter is a participant in a collaborative process. With their input, we select an artist and particular portrait from art history that bears some resemblance to the sitter and has an affinity for the culture or intangible element that makes that person “luminous”. I then re-create the portrait from art history using the features of the contemporary personality. Yet each por-trait is intended to have a life of its own, unveiling different aspects of the human spirit.

In this way I have been able to absorb the various styles and techniques of masters who I admire while giving play to role-playing on the part of the person selected. The results of this on-going project have been most of all fun and educational, as I can embraced many new technical approaches from art history into a contemporary idiom, and have the opportunity to explore and co-create with many intriguing personalities

Tina Spiro is a New York born artist and educator. She moved to Miami in 1999 after having lived in Jamaica for thirty years. She began her career as a college student and protégé of American sculptor David Smith. In New York in 1964 to 1969 she became established as a Minimalist sculptor exhibiting and teaching studio art at Hunter College. During her early years in Jamaica from, 1969 to 1999 she became known as one of the foremost Jamaican artists and owner of Chelsea Galleries specializing in Caribbean Art. In Miami she taught studio art at Florida International University, the Design and Architecture Senior High, Miami International University of Art and Design and taught Caribbean Art History, a course she wrote, at FIU. After a decade in Miami, Tina Spiro returned to live in Jamaica, WI. in 2009 and currently teaches painting at Sanaa Studios in Kingston.

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