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Victoria O’Neill’s whimsical art, that comes in a variety of media, is enchanting. Her Instagram account is filled with images of her creations: wearable art, paintings, and collages. We’re delighted she was willing to share with us about herself, what inspires her to create, and how art serves humanity. But first, here’s a small gallery of her work!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I am part of a fabulous family including husband Patrick, our four children and three grandchildren. We all live within five minutes of each other in a town outside of Philadelphia (USA). I am a professional artist, working in various mediums for decades. I attended Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art for a bit, but was emphatically instructed by my painting teacher to leave before they “ruined your style” so I did.
Could you please tell us a little about your art?
I picked up a pen at the age of 16, started to draw and knew how. Drawing led to acrylic painting. I found an old quilt at a rummage sale and was inspired to make things out of cloth including sewing and selling wild patchwork hats, sculptural cloth dolls, paper and fibre collages, plus various wearable art clothing, purses and bracelets. My 2 foot long accordion colouring book features The Golden Rule from 9 different sources. (A needed reminder for all times, and especially these times.) It comes with coloured pencils and is a lovely activity for ages 5 to 100 and beyond.
What media do you use?
Paint, paper, fabric, cardboard. I’ve lately been printing pictures and scans of my paintings and collages onto fabric, quilting them and embellishing with decorative stitching, sequins and glass beads.
What inspires you to create?
My imagination is very active and far reaching. I am inspired by being alive, feeling and seeing. I am 68 and have an abundance of creative confidence earned from years of experience. My huge studio is set up for just about any idea that wants to come to fruition. I recently learned how to write with my sewing machine and am currently integrating Baha’i Writings into fibre art pieces.
What are some words of encouragement you might offer other emerging Baha’i artists?
Keep learning. Be free, open and not afraid to “fail”, throw things away and start over, or even completely abandon. Keep moving!
How does art serve humanity?
I love to serve humanity by bringing people together through the arts. I traveled around the Greater Philadelphia Area from 2003 to 2019 sharing my original 100% interactive theatrical storytelling events with schools, libraries, community centers, camps, churches, etc. I designed and created hundreds of beautiful costumes, props and puppets, plus percussion instruments for six different stories. Approximately 80,000 children and adults participated in these events over the years. The “audience” was IN the story in one way or another and told it together. The participants experienced unity in diversity and cooperation by being in all the stories. Afterwards they made a puppet to take home.
I am a creativity volunteer in my town and for the Baha’i community, believing that it is my responsibility to share my God given talents with others. I created one of a kind fibre art pieces for 40 friendship style cloth bracelets made by Baha’i prisoners in Iran by sewing the bracelets into spirals onto nine pointed stars appliquéd on tapestry fabric. Each piece was matted, framed and sold as a fundraiser for Revel House in Philadelphia.
Some examples of community involvement include the creation of a beautiful banner for a Diversity in Action group using a cloth world map, a painting on the front and back of a bathroom stall door for a community centre/homeless shelter, and gifted Baha’i prayers in little matchboxes to participants at a Black Lives Matter rally. I help out once a week in a mosaic workshop for a non profit organization. My traveling photo booth with the theme Flowers of One Garden was used at our local Baha’i Building Vibrant Communities Conference plus a few other events in my town. I create artistic group activities and implement them at various venues. I love people and I love making things with them!
Thank you, Victoria, for taking the time to share this with us!
You can find out more information about Victoria and her art online.
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