Keep an eye out for this sick art piece during your next visit to NYC
by Betsy Brossman
Staff Art Teacher
New York City is widely known as the cultural mecca of the world where artists, creatives, students, and more flock in order to surround themselves with others who think in tandem. Artistically, there is a space for everyone if they are passionate enough about their subject and willing to put in the effort required to be successful. Creating art in New York City is simple; however, acquiring an accessible public place to display one’s art is not always as plausible. New York City is also one of the most diverse cities on the planet, so multitudes of artists with unique backgrounds are striving to get their work out for the world to experience. One Manhattan-based artist, Dianne Hebbert, is taking her work to the streets to not only enrich the concrete jungle with colorful paintings but show all types of people simply as they are in contemporary artwork.
Dianne Hebbert grew up in Miami, Florida, but she now lives in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. She left Florida to attend SUNY Purchase for her undergraduate education where she earned her BFA in Painting and Drawing. She then earned her MFA in Printmaking from Brooklyn College. Dianne secured a few internships in her time after college, gaining experience in a few print shops. It is quite obvious that Dianne has traversed many areas of the art world throughout her career with experience as a curator, gallery director, intern, and painter.
Dianne often works in Westchester, so she takes the Metro-North through the Fordham station, and she one day noticed a large, open space right outside of the well-populated station. She had her eye on the space for a while, so when a spot opened up to potentially use it as a pace to display art, she gathered every painting that she had made in the last four years and curated The Installation at Fordham Plaza. The paintings include hanging portraits of a multitude of people in Dianne’s life. She says that she “started off with family members or people close to her,” and she mainly aimed to highlight immigrants or first-generation Americans, as Dianne herself is Nicaraguan. All of the people seen in the installation are real people who live in the world, many of which inhabit the Bronx. Dianne instructed her models to dress in their nicest clothes so she could photograph them in unique places and then begin work on transforming them into a real-life art piece. She wanted her subjects to feel proud of who they are, and she aimed to highlight typically underrepresented people in contemporary art. With just her portraits, Dianne was able to fill the entire space.
According to Dianne, the reception from the public has been exceptional. She stops by the installation 3-4 days a week, and she says many passersby have knocked on the windows of the installation when she is working, which Dianne adamantly welcomes. Since so many people pass the exhibit each day, the work must be viewed by the public from the outside of the glass studio, but because of Dianne’s welcoming spirit and the form the art itself takes, she encourages all people to stop by and speak with her if she is present at the installation. She may even welcome some to enter the studio to come into closer contact with her pieces. “The art is meant for people to walk through,” Dianne says. By speaking to more people in the Bronx, Dianne is able to engage even more so with the community and speak with them specifically about how her work makes them feel. Each person reacts to the art differently, and each person takes something different from her work. Next week, she will be adding a few more pieces for the public to view, and the following week, a few larger pieces will also be on display. “I want to make art more of a prominent part of the culture,” says Dianne, and her efforts are being taken quite well by those surrounding her.
When asked about her extraordinary career as an artist, Dianne laughs, “I never feel like a successful artist.” Being an artist is all about having grit; continuing to create tirelessly day after day is the best way to get one’s work out into the public. Dianne says to young artists that with “anything you’re passionate about, the world will open up for you.” She encourages all creators to simply follow what they love, and all of a sudden, things will change. The moment of clarity will come. The work is displayed 24/7, so stop by The Installation at Fordham Plaza in the Bronx to witness the exquisite work of Ms. Dianne Hebbert.