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Mind of the Artist, Part X: Naomi Taitz Duffy

March 22, 2017

Some Mind of the Artist stories begin late in life, with a big change or sudden discovery.  Others, like Naomi’s, begin in childhood, evolving into the processes and materials that have come to define the artist’s practice.  Naomi’s story comes back to the art at the center of her life, although, like many of us, her journey has not necessarily been linear.  Naomi’s story, in her own words:

My mother tells me that when I was very young she thought I wouldn’t be very interested in art, because while the other children were drawing pictures of dogs and houses, I was scribbling patches of color across the paper. In a way I guess I’m still doing that in a different medium. Now it’s acrylic paints, pens, and sometimes bits of collage on large and small wood panels. I work out of my home studio in Washington, DC, where I live with my husband, young son, and daughter.

in a minute there is time

in a minute there is time

I began my formal art training at the high school of Music and Art and Performing Arts in New York City, where I was introduced not only to painting and drawing but also to printmaking, ceramics, and photography. In college at Washington University in St. Louis I majored in illustration, thinking it somewhat more practical than painting, and back in New York worked at a graphic design firm designing subway signs for the transit authority.

In 2001 I met my husband in a painting class at the Art Students League in NYC. We noticed each other across the nude model we were painting and have supported each other in our artistic pursuits ever since.

After September 11th work was slow and I left the graphic design firm where I worked to pursue another interest, teaching. I taught elementary school for ten years in New York and then Washington, DC until giving birth to my son in 2012 and deciding to take the time at home to revisit my art. The following year I had my first solo exhibition at the FoundryGallery in Washington, DC and from there began exhibiting and selling work. While it’s been challenging at times to find the time and space to paint while taking care of my children, it’s also given me balance, taught me the value of using my time productively, and most of all has let me to truly appreciate my time at the easel.

which way the world turns

which way the world turns

My paintings have evolved over the past several years from representational oil paintings to colorful acrylic abstractions based on pattern and geometry. Even as an illustrator in college I came to realize that I was less interested in creating figurative compositions and more excited by drawing patterns on a shirt or letting the leaves on a tree take on an abstract form.

My other obsession is color- I am endlessly fascinated by the way colors shift and clash when placed alongside each other, and this interest has become perhaps the most prominent aspect of my work. I’ve never been able to plan a painting in advance- even when I try the composition takes on its own life and I just need to follow along and listen to it.

cityscape

cityscape

To follow along and see more of my work and my process, you can find me on instagram @naomitaitzduffy and at my website, www.naomitaitzduffy.com.

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