By Cathleen Twardzik
Based in Somerville, Resa Blatman is the artist for March in the Somerville Arts Council (SAC) Artist of the Month Series.
Blatman’s artwork has been showcased in a plethora of magazines and online journals.
Alsthough this series does not feature an art show, a review of her two-person show Landscape Remade at Northeastern University, in Big, Red & Shiny was recently featured.
Additionally, she has secured various grants.
Blatman earned a BFA in graphic design from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and since 1997 she has taught advanced-level graphic design there. Also, she holds an MFA in painting from Boston University.
The process of planning the SAC Artist of the Month Series came into being more than one year ago. It was begun by Tim Devin, Chair of the Volunteer Board of the Somerville Arts Council, and then, Jenn Harrington, Volunteer, and Kellie Veiga, Volunteer, added their talents.
The inaugural program, the purpose of which was to celebrate the incredible variety and amount of talent within the City of Somerville, got underway in January of this year.
Five percent of the city’s residents “self-identifies as a creative person of one type or another, so this is the Arts Council’s way of showing this range of talent, and celebrating how creative the city is, and a way for members of the community to find out about creative folks they didn’t know about before,” said Devin. There are approximately 3,500 creative individuals in Somerville.
Each month, a singular artist, musician or writer, among others, is chosen. The process also includes a SAC interview with the person regarding “what they do and why and how they got where they are. It’s a way for the artists to share their motives and stories,” said Devin. “Since people can nominate artists through the [Somerville Arts] Council’s website, it’s a nice way for people in the community to support each other, too. It’s a continuation of the Nave’s old Featured Artist program, which ran from 2005 to 2009.”
In December 2013, an event will occur to honor to all 12 artists who were selected in that calendar year. The program will continue on a monthly basis in 2014.
On a fundamental level, the artists who were chosen thus far this year highlighted different types of art.
In January, Susan Berstler, who is in charge of the Nave Gallery, was picked by SAC as the first artist of the Month in the series. Berstler, Visual Artist, also coordinates Somerville events, such as Squeezebox Slam, which is a city-wide accordion “jam session,” the yarnstorming in Perry Park, and Project MUM, which is dance party that takes place under the McGrath overpass.
Marcus Santos, Percussionist and Teacher at Somerville High School, received the honor of SAC Artist of the Month in February. He has “performed” worldwide. “As a teacher, he’s launched a successful instruction program that is now being followed in about 12 cities,” said Devin.
Blatman, a painter, utilizes “sculptural surfaces. My paintings are made on multi-layered, laser-cut panels.” Paper, Mylar and wood serve as additional surfaces on which she creates. The materials with which she paints include different types of oil, and often graphite, beads and glitter, as well as, occasionally, leafing.
“The themes in my work investigate current environmental issues and how our thirst for fossil fuels affects our landscape and our natural resources, including climate changes. My work also speaks to beauty in nature, and how the underbelly of beauty is sometimes frightening and grotesque. I find the contradiction profound and intriguing, especially in its relationship to human behavior and how we perceive and treat nature,” said Blatman.
A duo of the paintings which were showcased on the blog of Somerville’s Artist of the Month were Tangled and Strange Surroundings. Those creations “are made on layered panels, which are laser-cut. I design the edges of the panels on the computer, and after which the files are sent to the laser cutter who uses my digital files to cut the panels,” she said.
Upon returning those panels to her studio, Blatman ponders the way in which the pieces will work together, and she leaves room for changes, which may occur. After that, she commences the painting process.
“It was so natural for me to be an artist. I never imagined doing anything else with my life. Despite the myriad challenges, my art career gives me great satisfaction, and it makes me happy,” she said.
Her studio is located at 6 Vernon St. in Somerville, and interested individuals may visit her website at http://www.resablatman.com.
For more in-depth information about the SAC Series artists, interested individuals may peruse http://somervilleartscouncil.org/artistmonth.