painter / mother / woman
Visiting Ayn's studio was a great exercise in acknowledging and accepting my ADD. Every inch was neatly organized, yes, but still covered in fascinating textures. I couldn't stop staring at the combative blacks, rigid whites and swaths of color that flanked us like bodyguards. 

Watching a bit of her process sobered me to the truth that we all blossom at different times. And as she told me about her renaissance as an artist later in life, I sat and wondered about all the folks I know that could be moments from creating their masterpiece.
​​​​​​"I want to leave something behind for my kids to say it doesn't matter how old you are you can still do great things.
On art
"My daughter was in kindergarten and my husband was going through the second month of a bone marrow transplant. There was no family, no friends and my babies. So I put my art aside for a time. I raised my kids took care of my husband, that's what my life was consumed with. Then there was a time I could revisit my art. 

It was actually my kids that said, "hey Mom, maybe now's the time for your art." So I started with silver mine and I worked my way through. I had an excellent first teacher to get me through my paint and everything.

A little bit after that I had an opportunity to get a studio, so I sold my motorcycle, took that $4,000 and dove right in."

On leaving NYC 
"You know when you go to a museum and after a while it's almost overwhelming? That's how I constantly felt in Manhattan. You're consumed with the thought of, "OK where do I belong in this? Where and how will I ever be good enough to top that guy?" It would get to a point where you were almost frozen. I'm sure there are a lot of artists still in the city that struggle with that feeling.

When I came to Westport, we picked a place on four acres. It was where I could have my sense of peace. I could formulate and I'm still formulating. 

When you get in deep into art, it starts teaching you. It starts taking the lead and everything that you do opens up like five different paths. Everything that you paint can take you down another road. I'm in awe of what art has shown me. 

This is my peace. I'm able to give myself the right to create. When I was in Manhattan, I felt like it was never going to be enough. Being out here, I feel like I can grow as big as I want."
On the state of art today
"What's going on in the art scene right now is what I call pop art or spray can shit art. Nobody is picking up paint brushes. Nobody is going through the anguish and the complication. 

No one is learning about all of these pasts artists and how they've worked. You know I didn't have the luxury of going to art school and getting all that information. But I still worked on this for years and years. Then to see somebody come along and Photoshop images or just spray can them; just slop some shit on there and say OK I'm an artist. No, that's now how it works. 

An artist is somebody that lives breathes and thinks about their craft. You get up and you work in your studio six days a week and you are in it. It's climbing the hill. It's learning how to do complicated things. It's learning your process. And it's not stealing shit from people."

On sexism in art 
"I'm a female painter so I am up against all of this competition with all these male artists who get privy. Believe me, it's still privy. Every time I pick up 'Art in America' or any art magazine or go see an art venue, I see the roster and it's always like 12 guys and three women. It's always men and it's always only a few women.  

I'm even finding this with women curators here who curate shows. I see shows with a female curator surrounded by male artists. And I think, "OK so where are the women?" 

These curators have these positions of power, what kind of part are they playing to promote female artists?"
"You can sit and have a good cry but then you gotta fight." 
​​​​On truth
"You know we had a few good years where I could acquire a few things that were nice. And now we're losing all that. 

We're about to lose our home. My son has no money for college and I struggle to pay my rent and for my supplies. Things have taken a bad turn for our family and starting my life over will be a monumental task(cries.)

I don't know where I go from here. And I can be truthful because what is life if you can't be open and honest? I don't I'm not the kind of person that has to build this false picture of myself. 

You know I fought my way through Manhattan. I had a few moments of the good life. And that's when we moved out here. I was a really good mom. I put my kids first. And then I watched everything go out the window. All my hard work and my vision. And now this is my sanctuary here (motions around her studio.)"
From Wooster, OH
Lives in Westport, CT

*other stories to consider

Back to Top