July 16, 2021
As our passion has grown to focus more on home life, it became clear to us at Reservoir that we needed to feature more artists and bring a gallery aspect to our collection of goods.
We are thrilled to announce our first feature artist, Monica Shulman. We sat down with her to dive a little deeper into what is behind the beautiful pieces she creates!
Come visit them in person starting July 23rd, 2021 (4-7pm for our soft opening & artist reception) thru September 7th or online under "Gallery", coming soon.
Hi Monica, thank you so much for being our first feature artist! We are so excited to have your collection in our shop. Can you give us a little history on your work. When & why you started painting?
I’ve always been creative and looking for ways to express myself. I had a lot of interests growing up whether I was painting, drawing, taking and developing photographs, dancing or writing. I started painting seriously when I was in middle school at a local art program near my hometown. My focus shifted completely in both college and then law school and I didn’t make much time for creativity though I loved reading about different artists and I would escape to museums or galleries whenever I could. While I was practicing law I desperately needed a
creative outlet so I turned to digital photography. Eventually, burned out from long hours and work that always left me wanting more, I left my law practice to try to start my photography business. I started a niche art and photography blog and did everything from shooting small weddings and family portraits to photographing backstage at New York Fashion Week all to help finance the fine art side of my business. I showed my photographs everywhere from New York, L.A. and Buenos Aires to small galleries in Vermont and Colorado. Still, even though I had been trained classically and fell in love with charcoal drawing and oil painting at a very young age, I didn’t pick up a paint brush again for 20 years. I used my camera to make art and became obsessed with chasing light and creating moments, but when I moved up to the Hudson Valley from NYC with my family six years ago I finally had the physical and emotional space, and courage, to start painting again. At first it was just another creative outlet but then I fell in
love with the process, the meditative aspect of painting as well as the challenge of launching something so completely foreign and different for me, and I felt like I was coming alive again creatively in a totally unexpected way.
What location was your favorite to photograph?
It’s impossible to choose! Truthfully, my favorite place to photograph is wherever I am with my camera. I’ll follow that magic light anywhere and there are always moments and stories waiting to be captured and told. But, if I had to pick a place, no where inspires me like New York. The energy, the light, the noise, the people, the culture - all of it, especially the way it makes you feel like you can do and be anything.
We love your work and all the color you use in your pieces. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from so many different sources. Memories, travel, love, different cultures, my family, overcoming the fear of failure, the natural world, my garden, spirituality, the ocean, and the Hudson River all inspire every aspect of my life and work. My work tells my stories and is representative of my path, which is inspired by adventure, trying new things, and my love of bold color and texture. I also love the idea that abstract paintings give the viewer a chance to see something and make it personal. Abstraction feels liberating and there’s no fixed narrative so the story can change at any moment and that’s okay. I draw inspiration from that feeling.
What is your biggest challenge as an artist?
My biggest challenge in general is time -- feeling like I never have enough of it and worried about where I’m going and what’s next. I work really hard (and sometimes fail) to try to stay in the moment and to be present, both professionally and personally, in all that I’m doing by not letting myself get too caught up in worrying what is in the past or what’s coming, or what anyone else is doing at any given time. This is a huge challenge for me.
Tell us a little something we don't necessarily know about you.
I love languages and speak both Spanish and French fluently. I’m a first generation American and Spanish was my first language so when it came time to choose a foreign language in middle school I tried French and fell in love. I ended up with a French minor in college and a semester abroad in Paris that changed my life. My father is from Argentina and much of my family’s heritage is Italian and it’s been on my bucket list to learn Italian for a very long time.
We obviously focus a lot of our energy on the home. So we're dying to know what your favorite room in your home & why?
Our kitchen and family room are connected and it’s where my family congregates all day. It is my favorite place in our home. It’s where I prepare all our meals, where we have movie nights and family meetings, where we share about our days, where we have game nights, and where we relax, watch the sunset over the Hudson River every night, and just enjoy each other’s company. My kitchen was also my first studio at night after my kids went to sleep so I feel like both my current art practice and creative business, as well as many personal and professional
dreams, were born in that room.
What is one thing you can't live without?
My family. My family is my greatest inspiration and joy and my biggest accomplishment and source of pride.
We're so excited to have you showing with us at Reservoir. Any words of wisdom to give other artists out there?
Don’t let fear hold you back. Embrace it, keep at it and do the thing that scares you.
Check out more of Monica's work out at https://www.monicashulman.com
portrait photo credit: Federico Photography