Barbara Burzillo, Sculptor/Painter
1. How long have you been creating art?
I have been creating art my entire life, but like many, I chose to follow a more conventional path. I enjoyed a long career in advertising sales management spending twenty-two of my almost twenty-three years in New Mexico at KOAT. I moved here from New York City in 1995 after falling in love with the Southwest. Armed with a list of "used to's" and "want to's", and the freedom from no longer having to commute four hours a day, I began to explore my many interests. In the process, I rediscovered my artistic abilities. I am very grateful for the ability to create and share my art.
2. What do you find most appealing about sculpture?
It's funny, when I first read this question, I thought no it hasn't always been sculpture or painting. But then, I remembered a photo (below) of me sitting on a reclining horse I sculpted out of snow in my front yard in 1975. I officially started painting in 1999 and sculpting in 2001. I find both satisfying for different reasons. Sculpting comes more naturally, (I think it is my Italian heritage!). There is a familiarity and ease, like "I've done this before" when I work with clay. I love how the heated clay feels and the transformation to bronze is remarkable. The longevity of bronze is also very satisfying as my sculptures will be my legacy. I began working with alcohol inks a little less than a year ago and I am hooked! They are like working with watercolors on steroids. I enjoy breaking away to work with the vibrant color. The combination of sculpting and painting works well as I use the three-month foundry turnaround time to paint.
3. Who has influenced you the most as an artist? Why/How?
I have been influenced most by all of the artists I meet. Artists are remarkable people that deserve respect and support. Being an artist means you have to be creative, a chemist, a builder, a problem solver, a marketer, a bookkeeper and a net worker. It means you have to be willing to stand naked in front of people with your deepest and sometimes darkest self exposed for the world to see. You have to be willing to use your creative voice to expose controversy, injustice and exploitation. Mostly, you have to be willing to commit to a lifestyle that most do not have the stomach for because you were born to communicate and create through your art.
4. How often do you work in your studio?
I usually spend three days a week in the studio and/or shop.
5. Do you make a living as an artist?
I retired from my career in advertising almost a year ago to focus exclusively on my art.
6. Were you encouraged by family and friends to pursue your art?
My family and friends have always been supportive.
7. Are you self-trained, or did you study professionally?
I am self taught which basically means I do everything the hard way!
8. What would you recommend to young folks pursuing art as a living?
I would highly recommend taking the business side of the art business seriously. Writing, business plans, budgeting, goal setting, taxes, marketing all need to be part of the mix. There are so many incredibly talented people out there you have to be willing to spend time in both sides of your brain.