Here is a profile of artist Cheryl Piperberg, Cornerstone’s artist of the month for January 2019.
Tell us briefly about your background & how you got started in your medium.
I’ve always enjoyed making stuff more than doing anything else. I also had incredibly supportive parents who never told me that I’d have to “get a real job”one day, so I as very blessed !! My wonderful parents, Betty and Irving Silverman owned the Custom Frame Shoppe in the Willam Ris Gallery for 40 years… ( which used to be right down the street ) so most of my life I didn’t even pay for framing!! (an artist who never had to pay for framing…now I appreciate how lucky that was !!) I went to Art School in Philadelphia (Moore College of Art) & worked as an Illustrator for 15 years doing fine art on the side. After giving up Illustration in 1987, I started a poster company focusing on art for children called -Carrot Prints -Nourishing Image for Children. We had international distribution and did very well for a while… yet now with print on demand technologies and other innovations…that business model has changed a great deal. These days I just do fine art which is a lovely change .
After high school I attended art classes at the Harrisburg Area Community College and graduated with a degree in commercial art. I found out quickly that commercial art was not for me but I did have a passion for creating. My further plans for art education were cut short by unforeseen events but I have continued to create and develop my sense of style. I find the process of creation not only meditative and enlightening, but it allows me the opportunity and freedom to express myself without boundaries. I also love photography and my art pieces are often based on the photographs I take.
How does your medium inform your viewpoint? Or what do you like most about your medium?
I love collage because it is flexible and spontaneous…I use acrylics to create lots of colorful, textured papers and then, when I’m working on a piece the colors and shapes inspire me. There’s a feeling of “back and forth” with the piece like we work together (that sounds strange , I suppose) I also love working with colored pencils and adding beads and sewn elements to the collages as finishing touches.
Who or what have been your artistic inspirations?
There are so many inspirations…Matisse, of course … yet ,even seeing a beautiful greeting card or seeing at work created by other artists is inspiring.
I am inspired by beautiful illustrations in magazines…or books, especially children books …all of these inputs can spark ideas for my own work.
Do you have a favorite piece in your portfolio?
My favorite piece is the long vertical one with the open window and a sculpted face smiling inside the opening. The title is “Your Smile” It’s a tribute to a wonderful teaching by the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh which goes: “Sometimes your JOY is the source of your SMILE, yet sometimes your SMILE is the source of your JOY.”
What would be your advice to artists just starting out in your medium?
I tell anyone who wants to express themselves artistically …to be bold and not to worry about mistakes or what others people might think of your work. Get some nice materials… paints & papers and Elmers glue and cheap small paintbrushes for pasting things down… give yourself several hours of time, if you can…and just play with the papers and colors of painted paper you’ve created. Maybe check out a few youtube videos for inspiration, as well …But, my main advice ALWAYS is “don’t worry about your finished product” If you find that you enjoy the process keep doing it as a practice. Julia Cameron has written several books that are very inspiring for anyone wanting to develop their creativity, The Artists Way and It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again. I highly recommend either of these books!