Artist Statement | My new series of work on paper is about cycles of panic and complacency, states of shock, and stages of stress. My work is inspired by isolation, the stigma attached to mental health, and the physiological impacts of childhood and adult trauma. I’m interested in the shifting boundaries between documentary and fiction in the context of people, events, and places. Repetition and revision are central to the narrative of my process. My process begins by recalling unexpected trauma from my childhood where I grew up in the care of mentally ill adults whose manic behaviors shifted between extreme highs and dark lows. Too often, I found myself stuck not knowing who to believe or what “safe” even felt like. I start from a photograph that I’ve taken, then through different drawing processes like tracing and transferring, printing, projecting, and cutting, I generate collage material. I listen to Disco-Funk and Dance-Punk music while I work to mimic the contrasting harmonic & melodic rhythms of the negative energy I grew up around. I trace, transfer, and layer colorful and subdued translucent film, paint, and ink over direct source material like drawings, photographs, and prints. I use materials that give me feelings of being comfortable, uncomfortable, calm, bold, loose, and tight. To capture unpredictable behavioral changes commonly seen in people with bipolar disorder and manic depression, I use color-changing reflective papers and bold fluorescent colors. In every composition, I focus attention on the calm or the chaos.
Artist’s Bio | Gina D’Emilio faces her own complex trauma by drawing inspiration from personal experiences witnessing natural disasters, living with adults who live with mental illness, and healing from PTSD to raise awareness of mental illness and the stages of stress in children and adults. D’Emilio lives in San Francisco, California and has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. She recently mounted “Fever” at Arc Gallery in San Francisco in the group exhibition Fragments, juried by Jen Tough. She also exhibited online with Toula Gallery and worked with author Nora Novak on a page in the book “Beautiful Foot.” D’Emilio is currently an Artist in Residence at Proyectos De Residencia MX online. D’Emilio limited edition small works ca be found at The Life Shop in San Francisco, CA, a female owned and operated business since 1992. Born in 1987 in Northeast Philadelphia to an event planner and a telecommunications engineer, D’Emilio holds an MFA from Moore College of Art & Design, and a BA in Art Education from Holy Family University. She is an experienced art educator with twelve years experience teaching children and adults throughout the east coast and the Bay Area.