Brooklyn-born and raised, Margalit Romano is a painter and mixed media artist whose work is striking and full of good vibes. Her contemporary abstract paintings reveal her mastering between textures included ink, glitter, spray paint, household paints and any material that inspires her. She is certainly not afraid of bold color. The use and love of vibrant hues is also one of her signature style in her commercial and interior commissions. Getting daily inspirations from nature, interior design and fashion alike, this mother of three is constantly reinventing herself with experimenting with different slews of materials and projects.
This past month, I’ve had the pleasure of personally working and assisting Margalit in West Long Branch, New Jersey, with her most recent upcoming projects. She is an artist who does not fear experimentation or consuming projects. She also does not shy away from getting her fresh manicure and clothing completely covered in paint. One of the pieces I was assisting her with was an extremely time-consuming, meticulous work where she sewed beads individually into a canvas to create a six foot skull. Margalit poured over sixty hours creating the piece and the results were beautiful. However, it is a two-person project because one person had to go from the other side of the canvas to push the needle and thread through to feed it to Margalit on the other side because her arm is not long enough to reach the back of the six foot canvas with every sewn-in bead.
Most of her inspiration for her art comes from nature and fashion. With nature it’s the colors of a sunset, a wild garden’s explosion of colorful flowers, or a star-filled night sky. She finds that her inspiration in fashion by way of combining textures and prints. The mixtures of the various elements can look easy when done correctly, but it’s much harder than it looks. Her study of fashion really honed her ability to mix elements that would normally clash. That’s how she can make controlled chaos. A lot of my inspiration comes from the materials themselves. Many of her paintings were created without a plan. She looked at her available materials and improvised, as opposed to gathering materials to fit a concept.
“I’ve been drawing in the sand ever since I can remember. I worked with whatever I could get my hands on. But I didn’t realize that I wanted to be an artist or really even have the confidence in myself until college, where I studied art history and learned how incredible artists perfected their technique in completely different ways. Before I studied other abstract artists, I thought art had to look and be a certain way, until finally I realized art doesn’t have to fit a limited set of criteria. In fact its just the opposite: it should break the rules, and reflect the artist in the process. I sold my first piece five years ago. It was one of the most exciting phone calls I’ve ever received. It was an abstract triptych in acrylic on wood panel. I could stare at it for hours it was like the depths of the ocean and galaxy fused together there was always a new detail to discover. As excited as I was to sell it, it was equally hard to give up. That one triptych led to a whole new series called ‘Elysian.’ The way the paint flows in every different direction is always exciting to me…working on each piece is a new adventure. I always thought art had to be a certain way, had to look a certain way, and had to fit in a certain category. As I got older, I learned how to appreciate art in my own way.”
The roses in Flora are also meant to break a faux pas commonly associated with fine art. She created the series completely aware of what may come from them- the urge to touch the stiff petals. While many collectors most likely do not want strangers rubbing their painting, Romano encourages this playful feature to many pieces of her work.
“One reason I generally love texture in artwork is because you are able to gain the ability to really see the artist’s hand at work. I wanted to create a piece that was dense with texture, and I wanted it to be unified while also beautiful. With that in mind, I mixed acrylic medium with paint and laid out sturdy wooden panels. Usually people are not welcome to touch art, but I made it durable enough where viewers can explore that curiosity, feel the texture and have their own unique interaction. My mediums dry hard enough to last ages so there is no risk to cracking or damage. I guess you could say that this is also easily inspired by having children.”
Flora, those tiny relief-like sculptures, is just one series of Romano’s. As commission pieces and clientele shift, so does the type of work she produces, so much so that each series is drastically different than each other. Blocks serve as functional art and can be found throughout Jersey Shore Medical Center, where she helped create a lounge for teens (“There is always a room for babies and young kids to play,” she comments. “But there is never a space for teenagers. I worked with the Ezra Abraham To Life Foundation and changed that.”), as well as Offsite Chicago, a coworking space. Her Striation series, crafted with wood, acrylic and epoxy resin for a strong polish, are large paintings of straight, vertical, brightly colored stripes, which also served as inspiration for the commissioned walls of Urban Pops in New Jersey. Romano also has installations, paintings and murals in The Juice Theory, DSN Community Center, Town and Country jewelers, amongst many many private residential commissions. She has also been part of group shows including one in the Brooklyn Community Center and this past September, the Rotterdam National Art Fair.
“When I do commissions, I work with the space itself, pulling inspiration from the environment. I like to find out what their fears are, what they want out of their space, how exactly they would like their customers to feel, and so on. No one comes to me if they are afraid of color, I can be certain of that. I’m grateful this has become a part of my everyday. A day that I’m not painting is a day that I’m not myself.”
Romano has narrowed her work into a few different methods and styles. One of them is her Striation Series, where she abstains from using tape or brushes, but lets the paint drip using control and gravity. This is where Romano’s work becomes also about process, which is vital. Each Striation painting uses countless combinations of colors. “I love color. Color is the most inspiring thing to me. Each shade of will look different when it’s placed next to another one and there are unlimited options. I love to play with that idea.” Romano’s Striations are popular with buyers because of their clean lines and bright colors. “I think people are afraid of color. With my paintings you can get the color without the commitment on the wall. I want to deliver color to people who are afraid of it, and afraid of that commitment.”
Most artists shy away from materials like glitter, but not Romano. One of her pieces is made entirely of glitter. Her work forces you to look and keep looking. “Once the glitter covered the whole canvas, it became its own thing. It stops being about something for kids or crafting. I’m interested in changing perspectives about what art is supposed to be.” She finds most of her clients using social media outlets like Instagram. She has a lot of private residential commissions, which is where her Striations are most popular, but she does a series titled Flora as well. Romano uses a mixture of epoxy resin and acrylic paint to give the flowers a very tactile look so they are begging to be touched. “For the flower pieces, I wanted there to be texture. I wanted something that you could touch, and have a desirable tactile quality, without it being messy. It was a process for me to figure out the right materials for what I wanted. Once I had the idea in my head, it took a lot of time to perfect it. I want people to look at my work see that organic painterly feeling. I want them to see the way that it’s done
Currently, Romano’s work is on display at the Jersey Shore Medical Center. She worked with children to create a series of mounted blocks (her Blocks series) all varying in aesthetic and color. The goal with this project for JSMC was a large scale project that could involve the teens at the hospital. “The Jersey Shore Medical piece is in the teen’s wing and it was important to me that they have a hand in this as well.” Romano mostly works with acrylic paint, but never wants to be limited to just that. Whatever medium inspires her will be the medium she uses. “To put myself in a certain category where I will only use these paints and these materials and these subjects is not what my work is about.”
Romano started to incorporate makeup as part of her art, using the stripe patterns in her work for a facial visual effect. “It’s a way for me to be a part of the work, and exploring collaborations with others.” Bridging that gap between the art and the artist is something that Romano will continue to explore. “Every artist goes through a learning process for how to get their voice across. That is what inspires me in my own work.”
The contemporary art world is vibrant and booming like never before and it’s a twenty-first-century phenomenon, a global industry in its own right. Contemporary artists seek the power to astonish, satisfy and challenge: the legend of Margalit’s artwork achieves all of these things. She showcases art that the public may not ordinarily have access to outside of a large urban environment within a welcoming, creative, and inspirational platform. She is a real artist of not only painting but of innovation, lifestyle and artistic interpretation. As time goes on, Margalit will continue to reinvent herself and delve deeper into the world of art by utilizing a wide range of mediums and taking an intimate approach to art direction and design, building her brand and developing more designs and artwork. We will all be looking forward to seeing what she accomplishes next with her limitless style and creativity!Learn more about Margalit Romano by visiting her website: http://margalitromano.com/Follow her on Instagram: @MargalitArtsFollow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MargalitArts/?ref=br_tf