Contemporary American artist now based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Part of a group of New York artists working with technology since the mid-eighties and was the first artist to have a digital solo exhibition at The Museum of American Illustration in Manhattan.
Whether the subject is cacti or Joan of Arc, Sandra Filippucci’s underlying dynamic is the poetics of persistence. Persistence & resilience. Grace under pressure. The extraordinary of the ordinary.
Filippucci has always regarded computers as ingenious tools that “allowed you to play with infinity.” For years, her complex and mysterious subject has been the warrior saint, Joan of Arc. Recently the artist created a non-photographic 3D computer model that she calls her, “permanent Muse.” Applying traditional drawing & painting techniques, this new work evokes frescoes, faint yet vivid, familiar and not.
WINTER 2016 UPDATE: On way to France…I so want to see where Joan lived with her family.
Traditionally trained at the Paier School of Art in Connecticut and, through a scholarship from Johns Hopkins, the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore, Sandra Filippucci initially intended to become a Scientific Illustrator. Hired as a scientific illustrator at Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History while still an art student, her drawings of North American Habitats were silkscreened and installed before each group, all of which, can still be viewed today.
During this period, she would be hired by the American anthropologist, Peter David Joralemon to draw sacred objects from the Dunbarton Oaks Olmec Collection for his “Study of Olmec Iconography.” The Peabody Exhibits Director, Louise Demars, who originally hired her, felt however that she had “too much personalty” in her drawing to be tied to the ipso facto world of science and encouraged her to become a fine artist. That road however, would prove circuitous.
Technology Shows Up
While attending The Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore, Demars encouraged her to meet the soon-to-be-legendary paleontologist Robert Bakker, who was teaching anatomy over at Johns Hopkins University. His explosively inventive teaching methodology (jumping up and down on a desk whilst shaking a giant femur) combined with his abilities as a theorist, artist AND an author would reinforce her understanding that science could be creative. Within a few years, this would manifest through a respect for and love of computers.
Meanwhile, Sandra drew wherever and whenever she could and often those she drew were either well known or would become so: Evan Connell, Donald Baechler, Vivian Wolovitz, Doc Pomus, Ellen McIlwaine, and John “Mac” Rebennack otherwise known as “Dr. John.”
In 1984, the first computer color monitors were marketed by Commodore Computers and by 1985, Sandra Filippucci became one of the early pioneers of Digital Fine Art along with her friend, Barbara Nessim, when Commodore Computers began to underwrite her exhibitions. In 1990, Filippucci received Honorary Mention from the Annual Der Prix Ars Electronica.
To make a living, Filippucci became a New York Illustrator receiving assignments from Sports Illustrated, the New York Times and many other prestigious publications and won awards from The Society of Illustrators. Her experiments however, with the drawn and the digital (“hybrids”) continued and in 1991, Filippucci had the first digital & video installation Solo at The Museum of American Illustration in New York City entitled, “HYBRIDS: Eco-Warrior.” Since then, Filippucci has continued to combine her traditional training in painting and printmaking with 3D modeling.
Beginning in 2002 with a large Solo at the Clifford Gallery at Colgate University, through 2007, her subject has been Joan of Arc.
Upon moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2006 however, her work slowly began to reflect her specific environment – the Southwest and became less narrative. Not only would her subject change but also her medium. One of the pioneers of encaustic monotypes, Paula Roland, became her friend and teacher.
A Prickly Muse
In 2010, Filippucci started noticing, then drawing cacti and soon began working with digital 3D models, creating a print series on Japanese rice paper. The graphic sensibility of those editioned prints was appealing but she wanted to go deeper.
The more iconic shapes that developed using wax encaustics led to work that was given a 2013 Solo in Santa Fe by Linda Durham, who now owns a number of her pieces. Durham told her that all of the Euphorbia work was another way of doing armor and that it was time that Joan showed up with both metal feet. And so she did.