A look back at Home Life & Design’s visit with Vero Beach Artist Deb Gooch
“CONTEMPORARY, ABSTRACT WORK WITH A BIT OF REALISM THROWN IN,”
is how artist Deb Gooch describes her current style.
After studying at The Maryland Institute of Art, Deb worked as a freelance illustrator, commercial designer, and decorator in Maryland and Florida. She was a founding member and president of Gallery 14 in Vero Beach. Her paintings have been collected nationally. She was exhibited most recently with Nina Torres at the International Art Exhibition, during Art Basil in Miami, at Tiger Lily Studios and with Meredyth Moses at Meredyth at the Millers in Vero. Deb currently teaches Figure Drawing, Expressive Painting and Creative Process classes at the Vero Beach Museum of Art.
“My big interpretive pieces usually evoke laughter, but once I had a lady cry. It was in Key West; my assemblage piece was in a Shrine show and was a sort of tribute to my Mom, who had recently passed away. I honestly did not think it was too sentimental, but obviously, that lady was experiencing some of the same things I had.”
“On a happier note, during a Gallery show, I had a male viewer tell me that a large painting I had done of two laughing women reminded him of “why he loved women”. Such a nice comment.”
How long have you lived in Vero and what brought you here?
My family had a second home in southern Florida. I loved the year-round color, light, and outdoor lifestyle. When my husband was offered a job in the area, we jumped at the opportunity. We have been here almost 35 years.
What do you feel is integral to the work of an artist?
I can think of several things, I can think of eagerness and the need for personal growth and exploration, an educated eye, an open mind, humility, and a very patient and supportive network of friends and family.
In your opinion what role does the art have in society?
Art shapes our environment. It is like a time capsule reflecting historical trends and events. It stimulates the mind, creates focus and enriches our lives, but only if one takes time to look with an eye that “sees”.
What style of art do you most identify with?
I have a board in my studio filled with photos of other artists’ work. The selections are so varied. I think foremost I appreciate work that shows the process and is thoughtfully executed. Personally, right now, I am painting contemporary abstract work with a bit of realism thrown in.
What is a real-life situation that has inspired you?
Simply, living life. I grew up in a beautiful environment with a family of artists and art appreciators. Viewing great art in a museum setting, especially with someone who shares your enthusiasm can’t help but inspire you.
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Who are three artists you would like to be compared to?
David Hockney, for his work ethic.
Jenny Saville, for her illustrative skills.
Joan Mitchell, for her drive and ambition.
Three artists are just not enough…
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
As far as life, “you have to make yourself happy before you can make others happy”.
For painting, “you need to know the rules to break them”.
Name 5 things you can’t live without?
My friends and family, including my dogs.
Views which include wildlife.
I love good food.
The ability to work.
What if any themes do you pursue in your work?
No themes, just that search for growth.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
My husband, Jim, and I just sold our horse boarding stable after 24 years. I have been involved in the antique business for over 40 years.
Have you had any memorable responses to your work?
My big interpretive pieces usually evoke laughter, but once I had a lady cry. It was in Key West; my assemblage piece was in a Shrine show and was a sort of tribute to my Mom, who had recently passed away. I honestly did not think it was too sentimental, but obviously, that lady was experiencing some of the same things I had.
On a happier note, during a Gallery show, I had a male viewer tell me that a large painting I had done of two laughing women reminded him of “why he loved women”. Such a nice comment.
What do you like and most enjoy about your work as an artist?
The physical act of putting paint on canvas.
What is your dream project?
I don’t know that I have a dream project…I would like to be exhibited well. I guess it would be to gain recognition for my work.
Photography by Aric Atas
Originally published on Vero Home Life & Design, you can see it here