The Max Grumbacher Gallery is an online marketplace and gallery for artists to showcase, promote, and sell their original artwork and reproductions. Gallery artist, Pam Cartmel (as seen in photos 1 & 2), shared her background, insight, and artwork with thalo.com. Pam is a very talented artist with a diverse background. Her work is featured in this article (as seen in photos 3 - 12) and additional work can also be viewed at www.maxgrumbachergallery.com and www.pamcartmel.com . Thalo sat down with Pam to learn more about her as a person, and as an artist.
thalo: Who and/or what inspired you to become an artist?
Pam Cartmel: My earliest memories were of my mother taking me to a place called Stan Hywet Hall in Akron, Ohio. It’s a country Tudor estate given to the city of Akron by F.A. Seiberling, the founder of The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. I grew up in a small factory town nearby. Stan Hywet was devoted to the arts. There were plays, Shakespeare, music and beautiful gardens there. My uncle was an art teacher and worked at the Akron Art Institute. He taught art classes for children and I was a student. I didn’t have any thoughts about becoming an artist, I wanted to be an architect. Being the 1970’s, I was called into the principal’s office two years in a row when I signed up for drafting classes in High School and was told I could not take drafting - girls were not allowed. I was to sign up for Home Economics and learn how to cook. By the time I got to college, it didn’t even occur to me to apply to the school of architecture even though I walked by it everyday to the art building. I studied art because it seemed second nature to me and I had always been fascinated by it.
th: Is there one aspect or medium of art that you prefer to work with?
PC: I love drawing and painting. Figurative drawing with charcoal is a preference for me. It requires so much concentration on form it becomes like a meditation. I can’t go for long without a lot of color though. I have to paint or use pastels. I get lost in color, there is something mesmerizing about it for me.
th: How did your background as an Art Therapist influence you as a person and an artist?
PC: Art Therapy has had a tremendous influence on me. Looking back, I see that I used my art as therapy when confronted by my own turmoil and angst. Expressing that and working through it gets it out of the psyche and restores balance. Training as a therapist at NYU was life changing. The whole experience shaped me in new ways as if shaping the path of a riverbed, one stone at a time. We had brilliant professors. I loved the intellectual challenge. The psychological writings on artists and creativity are fascinating to me, trying to get at the nature of that creative spark, that instinct that is so compelling. Working with people on their life challenges through art gave me a greater sense of how important art is as a vehicle for expression for all of us as individuals and as a community, that we have interconnectedness with others, sharing the same emotions. Now as an artist, I have been interested in looking back in history at the soulfulness of individuals in great works of art. All people in all civilizations have great dramas unfolding in their lives, and as a result in their societies. Collectively, we can evolve as a human race using art as a positive force, realizing we share common ground.
th: Do you have a favorite quote?
PC: Yes, by Roald Dahl, a writer of children’s stories -
“And, above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.”
th: What is your favorite color? Why?
PC: My favorite color is turquoise. When I tried to figure out why, I immediately thought of the stone quarry in the woods where I grew up. The water was crystal clear and very deep and had a brilliant greenish-blue color. There was a derailed train car at the bottom that had been there for decades. As a teenager, I swam in that quarry- a wonderful memory. That color just resonates with me.
th:Do you have any advice for art students and/or aspiring artists?
PC: I make art because I have to do it. Everyone is on their own path. The only advice I could give is to use your gift of talent to make positive change in the evolving social conscience. It can be a powerful tool.