Featured Artist Of The Month- Rachel Cohen

Jersey Shore Scene would like to recognize and celebrate the local artists who live and create here. Supporting the arts is very important and we are fortunate that so many talented people call the Jersey Shore home.

I am thrilled to introduce you our first artist, a creative and intuitive spirit, Rachel Cohen:

Question 1- When did you recognize your talent and love for art? 

My talent and love for art started at a young age – 9 years old.  My parents recognized I was always creating something and praised me for the projects I was working on.  I was experimenting with free-form shapes one afternoon afterschool and my father remarked it would be a good pattern for clothing and perhaps I should look into Graphic Design.  I am self-taught in everything to do with art and encouragement all throughout my life by my parents.  They occasionally took me to art museums as a pre-teen and I enjoyed it more so in my college years.

Question 2- What medium do you like and use the most?

While black and white photography is my first love, I currently  love experimenting with acrylic paint. I don’t paint with brushes – I use palette knives, my fingers and other no traditional mark making tools.

Question 3- What do you find to be the easiest and hardest thing about your process in creating your art?

The easiest about my process is simply starting and watching my vision unfold. Sometimes it doesn’t quite come out the way I intended and often I pivot until I reach a desired outcome.  The hardest thing about process is stopping because I do not have a dedicated art space. I have to bring the materials to the dining room table, work for a few hours, then put everything away until the next time.

Question 4- What other artists do you most admire and why?

This is challenging for me to answer because I admire and appreciate all forms of art.  I like Klimt, Cezanne, Matisse, Kusama, O’Keeffe, Kandinsky – all very different forms – but the colors are what I love the most and movement in their pieces.  I also am a huge fan of my contemporaries – Ellen Martin, Joseph Borzotta, Stacey AS Pritchard, Tracy Coon, Tim Lucas, David Levy, Kortez, Patricia Arroyo,  Carla Valentino –the list is infinite. I admire each of these talented, prolific artists as decent human beings. Their passion for art and how they create is so mindful. Each of these artists has a style unto their own and you know when you walk into a gallery whose is whose without looking for a signature.

Question 5- How do you get your ideas and what’s in the future for you with your art?

I get my ideas for my art by looking at my surroundings. If I’m on a walk, I look around at nature and often inspired my trees, clouds, the sunlight  (sunrises and sunsets), the waves of the ocean, old buildings.  I also am inspired by what I see in galleries.  Guilty pleasure – I research ideas from Pinterest for color combinations and different ways to make marks. What’s in the future for me  with my art?  Well, I do like the direction I’m going in right now. Textures have always been part of my art.  I’m also leaning into poetry.  The current work has original Haiku is written throughout some of the pieces and other forms of poetry.  I am always striving to create a cohesive collection…..someday it will happen.

Closing – Can you share a memorable experience you’ve had purely because you are an artist?

This is two fold –  Aside from being an artist, I am also a figure drawing model for students studying fine art through colleges, universities, art guilds and private art salons in Monmouth and Ocean County.   My best memory was when I was posing for entry level students (Freshmen) and they were all nervous because none of them have drawn from a live figure before. After the session was over, one young man came up to me to thank me and that I was his very first model.  I will always be grateful and humbled by the opportunities given to me in the art community. It helps me know the artist’s perspective which helps me with my art process.

When I decided to showcase my art for the first time in public, I was nervous. I didn’t know what to do, what to show, what to expect.  I had my first art show opening at the Monmouth Beach Cultural Center in 2019 and I was excited! I also felt a sense of apprehension not knowing how my art would be received.  People came to the art opening and I was so happy! Other artists in the community that  I didn’t know at all or very well, came to see me and my humble beginnings of art. I showcased my point of view through a camera lens.  To quote Sally Field – “they like me. They really like me.” Is an understatement. I was elated at the positive responses, encouragement and the desire to know more about my art.

I look forward to my next solo show at the Monmouth Beach Cultural Center in Marc, 2024. Opening Reception with light refreshments, brief artist talk and live music by James Dalton on March 3 from 2-5pm

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