Artist Diana Godfrey opens ‘The Influence of Strata’ exhibit Interview
By Nariman Jiries |
on February 09, 2012

Editorial assistant Nariman Jiries interviewed Diana Godfrey, who is a Syracuse artist. Her current exhibit is, “The Influence of Strata” at the Weeks Art Gallery at Baltimore Woods Nature Center in Marcellus through Feb. 29. (For hours see website at

Diana Godfrey, Mixed Media ArtistName: Diana Godfrey is 63 and lives in Syracuse. She has one son, who is a professional pilot. Her website is

Educational background: Bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Iowa.

Occupation: Over the years, I have done a variety of jobs to supplement the art. They include working in a school office, bookstore clerk and recruiter for VPA at SU. My current occupation is artist.

When did you discover your interest in art?
I have always enjoyed making things and drawing and painting, but I did not decide to study art until I was an undergraduate at a community college in Connecticut.

Can you explain the idea behind your current exhibit?
The word strata in the title conveys several meanings. It refers to the layers of paper that make up the pastel/collages, and the under-surface of the paintings. It refers to the layers of visual data assimilated through observation that, after processing, become elements of a work of art. It also suggests the gradation in a cross-section of sedimentary earth or rock. This vertical composition of layers often appears in the artwork.

Where else does your work get exhibited?
The Syracuse galleries that currently display my art are Edgewood Gallery and Szozda Gallery, and Gallery 54 in Skaneateles. Also there are two galleries on the coast of Maine. My art has been exhibited in numerous shows and galleries in the Northeast and, since 1983, in various Syracuse galleries and other local venues such as the Celebration of the Arts, Cazenovia Counterpoint, Stone Canoe, Rochester Finger-Lakes Exhibition, Everson Museum Cafe Gallery and the Visual Arts Showcase.

What awards have you won for your art?
Festival Community Award, Purchase Prize 4th Seven State Art Competition, First Prize Natural Photography Carnegie Institute, Merit Award CNY Art Open.

How do you get ideas for your art?
My pastel/collages and acrylic/mixed-media paintings are nonrepresentational. The textures, colors and forms of the natural world strongly influence the visual language that I use. The gray, rough surface of stone, the softness of moss, the linear quality of grasses, the patterns of fields are examples of what contribute to a visual information that become my abstract art. When a painting is begun, there is no preconceived idea of the finished piece. The final image evolves and emerges over time.

What do you enjoy most about painting?
The challenge of creating something new and meaningful to me each time I face a blank two-dimensional surface with either paint or collage and pastel.

How do you find a name for your work?
Sometimes the forms or finished composition of the artwork suggests a title. If not, I often skim poetry or other writings for individual words that fit the piece. The thesaurus can be helpful.

Where do you make your artwork?
I work in my studio in my house. Since my art is abstract, I do not need to go on location or draw or paint from a model.

What country would you like to visit so you can paint?
I enjoy visiting art museums and galleries to view art of all kinds. It is inspiring to see the varied creative output by artists of all mediums, styles and time periods. I especially want to visit Italy and see their wealth of historic art and architecture.

What are your other cultural interests?
I belong to two women’s art groups — Social Art Club and National League of American Pen Women. I enjoy theater at Syracuse Stage and the many opportunities to hear concert and opera music in the Syracuse area along with good movies and books.

What are your greatest accomplishments in life?
Raising my son and continuing to make art.

What advice do you have for people about exploring their creative side?
Start with a class or workshop in a medium that is of interest at one of the local museums, schools, Y’s, art store, etc. There are listings online, in the newspapers or on bulletin boards. One experience can lead to another. There are many resources in the Syracuse area to view art and to make art.

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