Biography and description of my current work
Over the past 10 years I have had solo exhibits in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Chiang Rai. I have had 2 exhibits with my Father, Joseph Zirker, the inventor of the Cast Acrylic Print technique, and been a participant in many group exhibits in Chiang Rai and Nan, Thailand with the ArtBridge artist collective and the Mai Ying Artist Group.
While I have always worked with pen and ink, and oil pastels, dance was actually my first love. I studied ballet from the age of 5, and then at 19, I joined the first "Disney on Parade" touring show where I met my future husband, Danny. We toured the Eastern United States and Canada for several months, and when we left the show we settled in Los Angeles, California. For about 10 years after that, I danced with various ballet companies in Southern California. After retiring from the world of dance, I missed the thrill of live performances, so I turned to acting as a creative outlet. I studied acting for 8 years and performed with theater groups in Southern California.
In 1999 I turned my full creative energy to drawing and painting. I studied art at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), initially focusing on watercolor, and then acrylics. In 2002, I started using the cast acrylic print technique, invented by my father, Joseph Zirker. This method allows for the creation of monotype prints without a press.
The basic idea is that acrylic paint is applied to glass, or polyethylene plastic material. After the paint dries, it can be peeled off to create a one-time print. Other materials may also be used with acrylic paint to create mixed media prints, and collage prints. The painting or collage is created on a polyethylene or glass surface, and collage pieces are applied with acrylic gel. Once the piece has dried thoroughly, a layer of acrylic gel is applied to the surface, and a backing material is laid over the wet gel. The backing material can be cloth or paper, although I prefer to use stiff cloth. Once the print has dried, the piece is carefully peeled from the surface. Patience is crucial because the drying process is normally about 5 hours in the sun, and then the print must be cool before it is pulled. It’s also possible to paint on top of the print once it is pulled. Creating collages this way, produces a print with a smooth surface that fully integrates the collage elements with the paint elements. See www.josephzirker.com for more information on this marvelous technique.
More recently, I have been focusing almost exclusively on creating cast acrylic collage prints with a galactic theme. I am thrilled by the photographs of outer space and impossibly distant galaxies, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. These photographs are incredibly beautiful and some of them seem to even have a sort of mystical quality. I discovered that I could create a beautiful blend of my painting and drawing with photographs of the galaxies, and this discovery has opened a world of possibilities for my art work. I am having a great time exploring various themes within this realm.
My experience with dance has a significant influence on my work. I am enamored with the beauty of line and movement in dance, and much of my work has focused on capturing the strength, muscle tension, and abandon of dancers in motion. I often give my work the feeling of movement even when the subject isn’t directly about dance.
Some of my pieces use birds (usually cranes) as a focus, and others feature elephants, and even giraffes. There is such a grace and beauty in these animals, that to me is earthly and also has an unearthly quality. I like to blend combinations of the universe and a cloudy blue sky to create a connection between people, animals, the earth, and the stars. Music is another theme that is a natural for this concept, and my husband, as a musician, makes a great model.
I often create pieces with forms that are not immediately apparent. I might put an elephant within an elephant, or a small dancer almost hidden against a galactic background, with colors and patterns that make the form visible only after looking closely. I want people to be surprised by hidden elements.
While I will always miss the performing arts, creating a lasting piece of art, as opposed to the ephemeral performance piece, is challenging, wonderful, and, when it all comes together, perhaps even more thrilling.