Anahi DeCanio is a multidisciplinary artist from Uruguay residing on the East End. Her connection to the surrounding landscape is reflected in her mixed media work, through continuous layering and an intuitive color palette.
She has “an ongoing love affair with Ashawagh Hall” in Springs, and was recently featured in its exhibit, ArtGroove. DeCanio was a featured artist for the White House Fellows Foundation and was named Hispanic Artist of the Year in Nassau County in 2016.
Her artwork seamlessly ties in with home decor, as elegantly understated pieces that can complement many styles.
Locally, DeCanio’s paintings are represented by the William Ris Gallery in Jamesport.
How do you combine art and design?
So many of our daily choices are informed by form and function. We may not always be conscious of it, but whether it’s the car we drive or clothes we wear, we choose items that fit our aesthetic and our lifestyle. Art, and the ways we design spaces around us, affects our everyday lives to a great degree.
Due to family and work, I’ve moved several times in my life. Using art and design to create a home has always been important to me. I bought my first house at 22, and tended to every detail.
Art is a vehicle to express emotion, not just for the artist, but for the collector as well. Owning a particular piece of artwork is an expression of ourselves. I’m particularly conscious of that, and strive to put forth palpable positive energy into all my work.
How Is The female energy reflected in Your paintings?
Besides my abstracts, I also do figurative work that has been described as feminine due to subject, form, or color palettes. I think we all carry feminine and masculine energy or what we assume those energies represent.
I have found that descriptive generalities can be limiting. I prefer to think of that body of work as a combination of strength and courage that can be represented in more nuanced ways.
Why do you incorporate words into your work?
From the first canvas I ever painted, I start with writing. Words and positive messages are what I’m putting out through my work. It sounds simple, but I include messages of love, good health, laughter, peace, and an abundance of good things.
In the earlier stages, most of the writing was covered by numerous layers of paint. For the past few years, the text has become more visible, as I have made a courageous and concerted effort to reveal more of myself and what lies beneath. Often, layers I consider beautiful get covered up by the process, and the final surface is the real decider of where it wants to go.
This shift in perspective and process allows for layers to be more translucent and peek through to the final surface.
My process is very intuitive. When I paint, it’s very serene, almost trance like. I think that sense of peace and alignment translate onto my canvases. It may sound trite, but I hope I add happiness and light through everything I do.
Beauty, oftentimes, comes from struggle. how have your hardships molded your work?
There is much to be said about the effects of struggles and challenges that have molded artist’s works throughout history. I’ve had my share, but I’d rather think that all the life events that mark our paths can have an equal impact — the good and the “bad” — or life teachings as I’d prefer to refer to them when I’m feeling Pollyannaish.
That’s why the theme of layers continues to be an integral part of my work. We are all marked by events in our lives, even by small interactions or “aha” moments, just like every scratch, paint drip, and brush stroke mark my abstracts, whether visible or not.
To get intimately personal, my first child was named Tiana. She passed away. Although my connection to her is always there, it is particularly poignant when I’m surrounded by the natural beauty of the East End, which inevitably always reminds of her.
How would you describe yourself as an artist?
A very grateful work in progress. I am thankful to have the opportunity to hopefully bring a little beauty into life. I embrace change and exploration.
My work certainly reflects that. It is somewhat eclectic, and sometimes surprising for those who get used to a style and find me moving in a different direction.
What inspires you?
Everything! People, music, everyday interactions, peeling paint and torn billboards, crashing waves on Main Beach.
Temporary color obsessions play a big part in the direction of new collections as well. Of course, the colors, sounds, and feel of the East End are a constant source of inspiration that I keep coming back to again and again.
If you were to represent yourself In a painting, what would It look like?
A canvas still to be revealed, still in progress, still growing and discovering. Lots of open white space around the edges letting the light flood in. Black and white in the mix for those good things about humanity I know to be absolute truths, with a stroke of color just so that I remember not to take myself too seriously.
Live to do good and do well.
Learn more about Anahi DeCanio at www.anahidecanio.com.