“I think art is meaningful in two ways. As I stated above, the artistic process is very cathartic for me. So creation often equates to mental release and even healing when I’m not doing well. Art is also meaningful for the viewer/audience. Sometimes these meanings and interpretations are wildly different, sometimes they are very similar. The creator-viewer duality is something that should be respected by artists and audiences alike, but not necessarily pursued; I don’t usually create to illicit a particular response from viewers. There’s nothing wrong with this method but it’s not my personal style.”

 

Name: Virginia Petrucci
Art materials: Primarily Micron and Prismacolor 005. Also watercolors and occasionally oils.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m an artist, writer, and former actor and model based in Los Angeles. I have been dealing with mental health issues for most of my life, and have been diagnosed with (in this order, from age 7): OCD, Generalized Anxiety, Social Anxiety, Major Depression, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Bipolar II.

Given such an extensive list, does your style or subject matter change at all depending on which mental state you’re in?
My style changes based on what ideas I have at the moment. I tend to see images in my head, usually a burst of inspiration in the form of a full collection of pieces. I think the subject matter changes more than the style when my mood changes; I can express my pain, joy, isolation, despair, and hope through any style. Art is really the only truly safe place I have to communicate.

Where does your inspiration come from?
Much of my work is internally derived. In a world thronged with visuals, it’s easy to be inspired by other artists, films, and even brands’ marketing initiatives. So while I can’t say that I don’t take inspirational cues from other artists, much of what I do is very spontaneous. I usually start with a specific goal of creating something that I saw in my mind’s eye, or with absolutely no visual goal whatsoever.

How would you describe how it feels to create your artwork?
Cathartic. Extremely satisfying. Overwhelming at times. Carpal tunnel doesn’t help.

Tell us about your creative process.
Very scattered. I have limited free time, so I don’t always plan out my creative time. I have to be alone, I have to have natural light, and that’s about it. Sometimes I listen to music although this almost always informs the direction I take with what I’m drawing or painting.
What is the story behind your artwork, if any?
I don’t always know the answer to this. Since a lot of my work is spontaneous and I issue myself no rules or limitations, I tend to discover things about my present state of being or state of mind as I’m working. When I have enough time to create multiple pieces at once, I take a cue from my initial creation and sort of go from there.

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