2023 BuyArt [small works holiday show and sale]
Thirty contemporary Rhode Island-based artists are showcasing their work in the gallery at the WaterFire Arts Center for the BuyArt small works holiday show and sale from Thursday, November 16, 2023 through Sunday, January 7, 2024*. The BuyArt show and sale encourages visitors to support local artists by giving the gift of art for the holidays.
Visitors are invited to the show’s opening day on Thursday, November 16 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. during Gallery Night Providence, who hosts tours around the city to partner arts spaces. Visitors are invited to shop WaterFire’s Holiday ArtMart on Small Business Saturday on Saturday, November 25 from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. as well as our holiday Sip ‘n Shop event on Thursday, December 21 from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Visit to enjoy and shop the hundreds of works displayed.
My work at its core has always been about love for the human form. By twisting, bending, distorting, and overlapping the figure, a sense of movement is created. The overlapping of the figure is a call to the frame-by-frame process in traditional animation. These bodies coalesce into abstract forms across the pictorial space.
Alexie is a multimedia artist whose work pays homage to the human form and life at sea. Having grown up on Rhode Island’s rocky shore and having worked in the coastal environmental field, her affinity for the ocean is expressed in both her Japanese-style gyotaku fish prints and acrylic paintings. Many of the fish she uses to create her gyotaku prints she catches locally. Her figure drawings and paintings are inspired by the classic arts, which, through frequent visits to museums and through her grandparents’ fascination with the Renaissance period, have always been a part of her life. The highlight of her art journey has been meeting and connecting with the welcoming community of creatives in Southeastern New England, a community that continues to enrich her life.
Andrea Pascual is a fiber artist exploring creation with many mediums. Her work is heavily influenced by her identity. Themes among all of her works include girlhood, femininity, queerness, and inclusivity. Using a wide range of skills to communicate similar themes is especially influential. The intention behind all of these pieces is to connect with her inner most self.
My work explores colors, shapes, textures and contrasts which represent this ever changing world in which we live. As an artist, my goal is to convey a message from my heart and soul in a subtle manner, allowing the viewer to interpret the artwork on a personal level. As colors emerge, morphing into shapes and forms, the viewer is left with an insight into how beauty truly exists in the eye of the beholder. Each piece I create is representative of my past, present and future while simultaneously striving to merge the three together while engaging the viewer.
Ariana Padovano is a printmaker and textile artist working in Providence, Rhode Island. They are a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, where they received their BFA in Printmaking. Their work is highly process-based, focusing on the combination of printmaking and textile processes through weaving, woodcut, and quilting techniques. Ariana’s work investigates pattern and distortion, while questioning the boundaries between imagery and material. Their prints have been most recently displayed at exhibitions in Kansas City, Cambridge, and New York.
My name is Caitlin Tripp with Art by Caitlin and I am an acrylic artist based in Fall River MA. Many of my works are inspired by my imagination, nature and space. I’d like to say my style is very whimsical and fun. I often create a mashup of animals and astronauts with lollipops. The reason for this started over 10 years ago. I was creating some paintings for my friends as graduation gifts. One friend, who has since passed, had asked what he would like me to paint for him. He said, “I don’t know, a pink lollipop?” as he was eating a pink lollipop. I had thought lollipops looked like moons since they almost have crater like textures, especially when bitten. From there, my work has expanded quite a bit, almost always featuring a lollipop moon.
Carey received a BFA in Photography with a minor in Printmaking from the Savannah College of Art & Design in 2013. Since then she has been a darkroom and printmaking educator, collaborator, and publisher showing work nationally and abroad. She currently works out of her home studio in Providence, RI exploring emotional landscapes through various mediums.
Just a Rhode Islander who specializes in both street and advertisement photography.
Emelia M. Orellana
Growing up I have always been interested in the arts. As a youth at New Urban Arts I tried photography, piano, and ceramics. It was not until later in life that I began teaching myself how to paint, specifically portraits. I always had a fascination with portraiture and I began by painting myself. Making self-portraits came to me at time when I needed it most. It became an outlet for me when I struggled with my self-confidence. Now my motto is “art is beautiful, so you as art is beautiful.” Now I share my love for portrait making online, painting portraits of people from Providence, and finding creative ways to reflect the mind/emotions in surrealistic self-portraits.
Emily Gray (she/her) is a Providence-based artist practicing in painting, printmaking,
sculpture, and performance art. She explores ideas of heritage and gender as well as spirituality and our relationships
with the natural world. In her current role as the Executive Assistant at WaterFire Providence, Emily focuses on community arts programming, WaterFire Arts Center’s gallery + exhibitions, and all things arts administration. Emily finds immense joy in making, talking, learning, and thinking about art.
Grechel Rosado is a Puerto Rican printmaker, illustrator, and educator currently navigating the Creative Capital of Providence, Rhode Island. Grechel feels immense joy to have been born in Bayamon, Puerto Rico despite moving to the US at an early age. Her whole life has been at the crossroads of living simultaneously between her Hispanic heritage and American upbringing which has echo loudly into her body of work. Grechel primarily utilizes printmaking as a means of communication; storytelling fragments of her life and lived experiences through the artform. From a young age, she had a deep love for education and community building that has also since translated into her artistic career. In May of 2020, Grechel earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts – Illustration + Printmaking from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. She is the first in her family to have obtained such an accomplishment. By combining elements of femininity, cultura latina, and social justice themes together, Grechel is leaving her voice in a world that has long withheld historical representation of both Women and Latina artists. She is the true definition of a powerhouse.
Hannah (they/them) is a queer artist and advocate. They are a lover of dirt, avid over-waterer of house plants, and an ocean-dweller. Fascinated by experiences and understandings of belonging, they are ceaselessly exploring the intersections of identity and connection to place. Their work is a reflection of the old brickwork, chipped paint, and hopeful wildflowers strewn across our city. Imperfect watercolors and shaky pen lines evoke vague familiarity, depicting liminal spaces that have an ambiguously comforting marriage of acquaintance, abandonment or wear, and often a reminder from nature that we are not alone.
As a multimedia craftsperson, I investigate how my familiarity with the processes and languages of different materials cross-pollinate. My work is rooted in material exploration, embracing process byproducts and finding joy in making. My intention is to build sculptures and home-goods, where all elements are engaged in harmonious dialogue. I am often inspired by narratives at the core of this medium: the geological cycles from which the ingredients in clay and glazes are formed. I am abstracting complex processes involving heat, water, and pressure into a language of color and symbols. I can then reassemble this library of geological motifs into fantastical landscapes which blur the line between educational and mythological.
Janelle Castillo, initially explored painting in high school before refining her drawing skills at the Rhode Island School of Design. Graduating with a degree in Industrial Design, Janelle embraced investigative design, finding joy in capturing her surroundings with precision using a ballpoint pen. As a graphic designer for WaterFire Providence, she draws inspiration from the passion that fuels her colleagues. Fueled by a commitment to justice and fairness, Janelle aspires to bring her artful precision to the field of law, leveraging her experiences to advocate for others facing challenges. In law school, she aims to gain the knowledge and tools needed to navigate legal complexities, contributing to a fair and equitable legal system. Explore more of Janelle’s designs on Redbubble at www.redbubble.com/people/justSticker1999.
Jennifer A. Ugarte Amaya
Have you ever gazed out of a window and pondered the worlds beyond? This collection of photographs offers glimpses from the inside out, framing the beauty of diverse landscapes and narratives. From my native Guatemala to the bustling streets of Istanbul and the remote mountainous regions of northern Italy, these windows become portals to the external world. I am Jennifer Ugarte, a wanderer, traveler, explorer. My curiosity about the world and its inhabitants has led me to diverse places and people. I am deeply connected to nature and draw inspiration from its restorative energy. Life guides me through instinct and the lessons of my experiences. While my primary interest lies in documentary photography, I am also drawn to capture moments that pique my curiosity and resonate with me. As a novice, I believe in the power of experimentation, self-discovery, and the natural flow of life. My inspiration is drawn from life and nature. It is rooted in the rich tapestry of cultures, the resilience of humanity, the exploration of new places, the rhythms of music, and the expression of various art forms. I was born and raised in Guatemala, though my bloodline also carries roots from Colombia. Today, I call Rhode Island my new home, where I seek inspiration in its residents, spaces, and culture. Through my photography, I aim to share the wonder and diversity of the world as seen through the unique perspective of these windows. Join me in exploring the stories, beauty, and humanity that await discovery, one frame at a time.
Justin DeGraide is 29 year old photographer from Providence, Rhode Island. Throughout the last few years, Justin’s passion for film photography has grown naturally. Film has a certain magic, a sense of atmosphere, depth, texture, and realness that can’t be emulated with digital. The imperfections, the snapshots of real life, the way one must slow down to properly capture the shot are just some of the things I think about while taking the shot. Through practice, patience, and understanding, he has come to a point where he truly knows what this form of art is to him. He hopes to provide a collection of work that truly represents who he is and what we sees in life.
Kannetha Brown is a Cambodian American photo-based artist born and raised in Rhode Island. With a distinctly contemporary and first-generation perspective, her artwork is a meditation on identity, history, memory and
cultural renaissance within her Cambodian community and family in Rhode Island. Kannetha received a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, where she graduated with the Morton R. Godine fellowship, as well as departmental and academic honors for her work elevating Asian American history. Her photographs have been recognized by The Library of Congress, Diversify Photo, and Women Photograph,
among others, and she was also named “6 of The Best Asian American Photographers in 2022” by the Phoblographer. Her project Two Oceans is held in private and public collections, and is currently featured in a large-scale portrait installation in downtown Providence.
I create art to define my feelings and emotions, to express my inner views and sensuality. The subjects of my paintings are usually women. My muse is an imagination that relies on collected images and real observation. I begin my creation by submerging myself in a trance, clearing daily worries from my mind. With swooshing circular motions that render the curves of woman, violin, floral petal, a glass of wine or a cat, I follow with pen and brush the footprints of my daydreaming. I rejoice in blending diverse textures, materials and techniques, which result in mixed-media creations. In my work you will discover playful lines of ink, deliciously textural acrylics, peek-a-boo fabrics, and unexpected red wine stains. Red, my favorite color, represents passion, energy, and power. Combining crimson with other hues, I paint with a jewel-toned palette: sparkling rubies, mysterious amethysts, caressing amber along with stunning emeralds and seductive sapphires. Some of my works whisper sensually and others shout with vibrancy and fun.
Laura J Michaud
As a photographer, I find myself pausing to capture every moment that catches my eye. I am captivated by the staggering beauty that this world has to offer, and I strive to immortalize a scene’s – or a moment’s – beauty for all eyes to behold. Through my work, I focus on bridging the gap between urban and rural environments alike, to let the best of both worlds collide, and to present the opportunity for observers to immerse themselves in the beauty that both have to offer. With minimal post-processing of each photograph, the authenticity and realism of each scene is preserved. Being a medium for the grace that this world provides is so endearing, and I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else. This collection of images conveys the way I see the world, and how each moment in life is a snapshot of perfection just waiting to be taken.
A Providence, Rhode Island native Leiyana Simone is a photo-based artist with a focus on portraiture of subjects of color, her community, and the culture. Her work aims to highlight the extraordinary within the ordinary. While giving positive representation to people of color through capturing their vulnerability in an ethereal light. Her photographs have been exhibited at the Providence Art Club, in RISD Museum’s Black Biennial, and published in Vogue Italia via Photo Vogue. Leiyana is currently a member of the 2023-2024 WaterFire Accelerate Cohort. She is also apart of the first Emerging Artist Fellowship at AS220 for 2023-2024.
Margery Fischer Winter
These 16 small fiber pieces were intended to be a patchwork of images that would work together in a visual narrative. They sat for many months, in a pile, while I was unable to compose myself or my work.. Having been asked to present 16 small works for a show at the WaterFire Center, I realize that each of these pieces can stand alone and so I present them as individuals.
May Babcock is a papermaking artist based in Rhode Island whose work is inspired by places, and involves making
paper from plants. Her artwork acts as witness to local ecologies and poignant evidence of human activity, while celebrating the beauty found in natural forms.
Roses N Dragons Designs is a small, woman-owned business local to New England that produces preserved nature jewelry & terrarium art. Each piece is carefully crafted by artist, Melanie Rose, who gathers all of the materials herself out in the woods, her garden, or anywhere something catches her eye. She lets nature guide her process and dictate all of the unique, one-of-kind designs. Every necklace, earring, ring, and terrarium are made with intention and infused with Melanie’s deep passion for the magick of the natural world.
Peter A. Mello
My dad gave me my first 35 mm camera when I eight years old and I’ve been creating photographs ever since. All of the images for this exhibition were taken over the last decade in and around Mattapoisett Harbor and steps from where I live. They are simple images of quiet moments of everyday seaside life. These photographs represent a visual love letter to a place I’ve been fortunate to call home for the past 30 years. Peter A. Mello has been the managing director and coCEO of WaterFire Providence for the past 12+ years.
I am Rachel Turner, a photographer, educator, and Providence native. I use film as a medium to take my photos. Film allows me to slow down, and connect with my environment. I use my photography and the editing process to communicate a feeling of wanderlust, and beauty in the everyday.
Growing up, Breslin always had a love for creating. No matter where she went, a pencil and paper were not far behind. Creating has always been an outlet for her, whether it was through writing or art, she always found it easy to express how she felt through her pencil than spoken word. Breslin graduated early with a BFA from the University of Rhode Island in 2014. Since then she has proudly exhibited her work in many local galleries such as the AS220, WaterFire Art Center, and HeARTspot Art Center, to name a few. She has also done donation work with Art for Eyes and the Rear Disease Foundation of Rhode Island raising funds and awareness for children with rare diseases. Breslin is currently working as a full time artist traveling with her work around New England to different venues. Breslin’s most current body of work explores her own struggles and growth as a young woman. She touches on many issues she has faced in the recent years such as life and death, womanhood, and mental health. “My pieces are driven by memory, mental illness, and the losses I have experienced. All of these factors have given me the chance to look deeper within myself and discover things I never realized. Through my art I have opened windows to my own spirituality and connecting with my feminine energies.”
My name is Sarina Mitchel and I am a visual artist based in Providence, RI. I have been drawing and painting since I could hold a pencil. I pursued my dream of becoming a professional artist by attending the Rhode Island School of Design and graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration in 2015. My artwork ranges from painting to illustration to graphic design. The works you see in this show are excerpts from many different bodies of work I’ve created over the years. A sampling of all different styles – there’s something for everyone! Some of the paintings feature my character Ms. Proboscis. Others are more technical studies to improve painting or drawing skills. Still others are inspired by feelings and what was in my head and heart at the time I created them.
Sky is a Providence based queer artist who focuses on bringing unique images, colors and positioning into their works. Through each piece, you can see the multiple sides to who they are, both the fun, outgoing, creative, and the person who’s been through a lot in life, struggling through many health problems in their youth. They strive to take these hardships, and focus on the happiness, and want to share that with everyone around them. The journey through art and creativity has not been linear for Sky, who, growing up, thought art was boring, and only wanted to focus on academics, but after taking a class that changed this, and challenged how they saw the world around them, they found a new love. Making majority earrings for years, Sky started a brand called EyeSky, and does a lot of art and maker markets. 2D work is a much newer interest, but they love the new way to express themselves.
I am a Rhode Island based artist specializing in representational realism, abstract/surrealism, and the combination of the two. I work with a variety of mediums but most frequently Oil Paint, Ink, and Charcoal. My work explores themes of duality, nature, femininity, and more often than not…the macabre. I use my work to communicate thoughts and ideas that analyze what it is to be alive and all the contrasts that come along with it.
Vessna Scheff is a San Francisco Bay Area raised and now Providence based interdisciplinary artist. How do we imagine and dream of freedom? An exercise and practice of joy as essential for sustaining liberation, Scheff draws on the liberatory nature of watercolor. A medium that is always expressing its fullest liberation, Scheff draws parallels between language used to describe watercolors and language surrounding Black living. These works reflect the fullest liberation of the medium and reflect the intimate, often quiet moments of joy and peace- no matter how small- that are necessary for sustaining the journey towards equity.
The WaterFire Arts Center store + gallery hours are Wednesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Thursday, 10:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
*Holiday Closures on Thanksgiving Day and from Christmas Eve through New Years Day.