Philadelphia-based artist Lindsay Rapp creates ethereal mixed media art featuring mythical sea goddesses. Exuding enchanting qualities, Rapp’s stunning artworks are expressions of female empowerment. Her mermaid and Venus-like subjects seem perfectly at home with their surrounding ocean environment, and pose proudly while powerful waves crash around them.
Describing her style as “magical impressionism,” Rapp’s pieces are rendered with expressive brush strokes in vibrant and metallic hues. Three-dimensional, precious elements are then added to her canvases, creating what the artist calls “jewelry for walls.” Now in her mid-twenties, Rapp is already making waves in the art world, having won many art competitions across America. Impressively, she also owns her own gallery, where she hosts exhibitions and events, displaying her large-scale paintings on each wall.
Rapp marries her passion for art with her emotional connection to the ocean, feeling driven to use her talent to help raise awareness and funds for conservation efforts. The artist donates a percentage of every sale to a number of charities, including Oceana and the National Marine Mammal Foundation.
We recently spoke with Rapp about her inspiration and the creative processes behind her incredible artwork. Read on for our exclusive interview.
What inspired you to pursue painting?
Art has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. I always enjoyed coloring as a small child and creating pictures from my mind onto paper. Art was a form of communicating to the world my thoughts and loves. When I was almost four years old, my preschool teacher saw an artistic talent within me and got my parents’ permission to enter a piece of my art into an art contest. My parents did not think anything of it until they received a phone call stating that my artwork won and that it was going to be printed on 10,000 calendars throughout the county and I won a US Savings Bond and they wanted to interview me on television at the ripe age of four! Ever since, my family took my passion seriously and was very supportive. It was quite the journey with many contests, scholarships, attending every class I could in school as well as out of school.
How would you describe your style?
My style is a mixture. It may be referred to as representational with a slant on impressionism but I like to refer to it as “magical impressionism.” I love using mixed media as a means of making my art almost like jewelry for walls. It is an art form in itself developing the types of materials that go into each painting as well as the placement for each material.
Your paintings often illustrate feminine energy and the ocean. How do you feel these subjects are connected?
As many have done in mythology, I relate the beauty and energy of water to feminine power. Water has long been equated with the feminine aspects of creation, nature and spirituality. I see the ocean as life giving, fertile, powerful, sensual, changing and mysterious. In my art, my brush strokes mimic expressions of water. My paints create currents, splashes and fluidity. I am inspired by water’s glimmering interaction with light. I discovered a unique technique to imitate the effects of water’s refractive nature: using rare precious materials such as genuine mother of pearl, dichroic metallics, 24k gold, silver, and layers of translucent, reflective glass and plexiglass. The harmony of these elements combined with the dichotomy of my muses’ power and softness reflects my interpretation of the sea in relation to femininity.
Can you describe your process and the materials you use?
I am very excited about the new materials that I am now using. I have recently started painting on glass as my surface, and it actually gives my paintings a 3D type of look. The result of painting on glass enables the viewer to be interactive with the painting itself, seeing the artwork change viewing from different angles and in different lightings of the day. I am always thrilled when I am able to captivate a viewer through my materials. I love keeping a little mystery, because there is magic in not knowing how an effect is achieved. It makes me so happy to hear when people say, “How do you do that!”
Your work often features female dancers. Is dance another passion of yours?
Although some of my work happens to feature female dancers, it is not the dance that I am spotlighting as much as the human figure of the female depicting grace and movement.
You generously donate a portion of your sales to various ocean conservation efforts. Why is the sea so important to you?
With my love for the ocean and all that it encompasses, I feel compelled to make donations to preserve its beauty and the creatures that rely on it for their well-being. To me, the sea equates to life. It feeds us, protects us, provides us with medicines, and so much more. The ocean covers most of the world, it is such a vital part to our circle of life. It is my honor to try to reach out with conservation efforts to protect the earth’s waters. To me, protecting the waters is protecting all of us.
Do you have any exciting projects or exhibitions coming up that you’d like to share?
I am absolutely thrilled about my upcoming grand finale show here in Philadelphia. It will be so bittersweet for me. I have loved living in Philadelphia since 2009. This city is like no other, and I will miss it and all the wonderful people here. I can go on and on about the valuable encouragement and support I have been given here. I have loved having this gallery here in Old City. So, this show will be my final show ending an amazing era. There will be food, music, and the largest print sale I have ever had in this gallery. I am so honored that people are traveling from all over to attend this show on April 6th 2018.
I am closing down my gallery at the end of April and moving across the country to Laguna Beach, California. I am still hunting for a gallery space, but look forward to a wonderful Grand Opening in California to kick off my new adventure ahead out there.
My Modern Met granted permission to use photos by Lindsay Rapp.
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