I have a great and personal interest in art, and the Canadian Forces, so when I came across Silvia’s artwork which skillfully combines both worlds at the local CANEX, naturally I was excited to share her work and some of her thoughts with you. It is with great pleasure that I introduce to you the incredibly talented Silvia Pecota…
Silvia is a much acclaimed and lauded artist; besides being an Artist for the Army (Canadian Forces Artist Program) her work –on many varied subjects, including fashion!– has been featured and exhibited across North America and Europe. Her passion for what she does and her pride in being Canadian is evident in all of her pieces.
Miss Cathie: Please tell us a bit about yourself.
Silvia Pecota: My background is in the arts, and I’ve had a career as a photographer for 25 years. In the last 3 years or so, I’ve redirected my creative energies and focused on artwork as well as sculpture.
MC: I notice you work with many different mediums — do you have any favourites?
: No, it would be a hard choice to have – probably because I combine all the mediums together. Most of the images that you see are based on photographs… and basically my process is something like this: I would choose the best pose, create an oil painting from it (I like working with oils, not acrylic) then I would basically scan what I’ve created in oil and mesh it with the photograph by fine-tuning the opacity levels.
MC: I see – that gives me an idea of how you achieve the ‘soft’ quality in your work. How did you become involved with the Canadian Forces? Did, or do you have family or relatives in service?
SP: No, I didn’t know anyone in the Forces; during high school I was considering a career in the Forces, so there was an affinity to that career. But then I branched off to the arts, and somehow reconnected with the Forces –soon after September 11 when I was with the Toronto Sun newspaper, I pursued the opportunity to photograph a reportage (which is a film/photo documentary) on the Canadian Forces. I went up to Borden and took pictures, and that basically is when my interest in the Canadian Forces was rekindled.
MC: What does being Canadian mean to you, and how does your work reflect this?
SP: I feel it’s important that my work reflects Canadian culture. I am of Italian descent, and have traveled to Italy, I have been exposed to the arts and the culture and its importance to a nation’s identity. In turn, I am trying to expose Canadian culture and consequently it reflects in my work. For instance, I did a children’s hockey book, a series on the Inuits, and of course, famous Canadian personalities such as boxers, etc. To sum it up, my artwork reflects hockey, Eskimo,the Canadian Forces, Don Cherry loves me… how much more Canadian can you get than that?
MC: You can’t, really!
MC: Which project has given you the most satisfaction, or is the most personally rewarding?
You know, they asked Picasso what his favourite painting was, and his reply was “my next one”… Following Picasso’s words, it would be the present project I’m working on, which is a book on my artwork featuring the Canadian Forces. Learn more here.
MC: Do you have any advice for an aspiring artist?
SP: I remember an art teacher telling the class that art is 1% perspiration and 99% perspiration… and I can vouch for that. You need talent and a vision, but perseverance is something you really must have to be able to achieve your dream.
With many thanks to Silvia for both her time, and her lovely artwork — be sure to visit her studio!
All images in this post are copyrighted and belong to Silvia Pecota --used with her permission.