Heidi Lanino is a visual artist and graduate of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. She was the recipient of a full-tuition merit scholarship and received her BFA in Fine Arts. Lanino’s work has been exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions nationally and internationally. Her artistic practice includes drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, and ceramics. Her work is intuitive and characterized by expressive lines and shapes, influenced by various cultures, and the combination of both figurative and abstract elements. She has recently been featured in Cultbytes, The Carlyle Hotel permanent collection, The Arjé collection, and The NYTimes Style Magazine. When she is not in her studio she enjoys time with her family, pets, and bringing art and the creative process to young people and the community at large.
"Working across a broad range of mediums and materials, my rhythmic compositions are composed of colored figurative abstract forms. I work in charcoal, oil and acrylic on paper, canvas, and clay, focusing on figural abstraction. Movement is both part of my process and my product. The female remains the focus. She is a vessel, a vehicle, and reflection of our times. Improvisation, intuition, and impulse are essential to my process. For me drawing is a form of performance, and intimate activity of looking within to project out.
Recurring themes include beauty, the female figure, movement, environment, and purpose. I am inspired by moments from my own life and elements from historical paintings that resonate with society’s current and future timelines. I use rhythm as a visual language and my movements are mirrored in the work’s gestural qualities beyond the borders of the canvas. I focus on figural abstraction and visual sensory experiences to create a space between the viewer and the work. The notion of time is explored through flowing gesture, always in flux - never static - and expresses intangible moments in time. My work invokes emotion, thought, and memory.
The folding process is something I have explored with numerous materials, giving a voice to the intimate nature of the subject’s narrative and how she reconciles the external world. Just as we can reinvent ourselves, I mend, repair, and reconstruct compositions by folding, unfolding, and refolding my subject’s forms and taking on new material presence. When turned, the figures portray different emotional stories, and offer a 3-dimensional perspective of negative space. The process entails revealing, both literally and figuratively. I often work in repetition and sequence to create a rhythm, and visual metaphor. Each new iteration supports an over-arching movement while focusing on transition and transformation, chance and process."
Tell us a little about yourself and your background in the arts.
I was born in New York City and raised on the South Shore of Long Island. Growing up, my parents would take me and my sister to art museums in New York City: the Met, the MOMA, the Natural History Museum, and others. These early experiences with the arts helped define my aesthetic and approach to art making. I received my BFA from Pratt Institute with a concentration in drawing using various materials. My journey with art has always been tied to beauty, design, and collaboration.
After college, I stayed in NYC and worked for L’Oréal as an art director. That experience helped develop my aesthetic for beauty and design, but I knew then that I needed to focus on my own voice as a fine artist. As an artist, educator, and mother, it was challenging at times, but it all becomes a part of your story and work. Now I have a spacious studio in Tuxedo Park, New York where I can experience the freedom of focusing on my own work.
What kind of work are you currently making?
My current works explore drawing and painting in combination with cutting and folding. Throughout my work, the female subject remains the focus. Improvisation, intuition, and impulse are essential to my process. The folding process is something I have explored with numerous materials, giving a voice to the intimate nature of the subject’s narrative and how she reconciles the external world. Just as we can reinvent ourselves, I mend, repair, and reconstruct compositions by folding, unfolding, and refolding my subject’s forms and taking on new material presence. The process entails revealing, both literally and figuratively. I often work in repetition and sequence to create a rhythm, and visual metaphor. Each new iteration supports an over-arching movement while focusing on transition and transformation, chance, and process.
What is a day like in the studio for you?
Most mornings begin with yoga, playing with the pets, and then some computer work. Afterwards I head to my studio which is a really beautiful drive in most any season, but especially fall. Once I am in the studio, I usually take some time to allow myself to be back in that space. I have an active studio so there is always something started on the walls, the floor, and the easels. I tend to rotate around the room and work on a few pieces at the time. Right now, in the studio I am finishing some metal, clay, and wood sculptures that I started this summer at SAW (Salem Art Works), an art residency. I am also working on some folded female paper reliefs and have a few large paintings started. I tend to work intuitively so nothing is sacred until it leaves the studio, allowing for change and possibility. I try to allow the piece to have its own life.
What are you looking at right now and/or reading?
I have a large collection of studio books that I look at all the time, but I just re-read “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion, and ‘Just Kids”, by Patti Smith. My studio is about 30 minutes from my home, so I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts on art while driving. It is such an engaging way to experience other artists in conversation and understanding of the process. Some favorites are Talk Art, The Great Women Artists, Dialogues: David Zwirner, and The Art of Tate. I still have not returned to my routine of gallery and museum hopping but I was lucky to be able to see the Whitney Biennial and Jennifer Packer’s beautiful works.
Where can we find more of your work?
My Instagram is @heidilanino and my website is heidilanino.com. I work with ArtMuse NY, Placemeant NY, and Ann Connelly. I will be opening my studio on July 23-24th with Upstate Art Weekend founded by Helen Toomer. @upstateartweekend.org