What It Means To Be a True Artist, Newton Series: Part 2 Featuring Ginny Zanger

It seems as though everyone can be an artist these days. In theory, any absent minded individual can take a piece of canvas, slap some paint on it, and start promoting it as a masterpiece. In today's world, creativity is constantly encouraged and often results in slogans claiming, "If you want to be an artist you can, if you want to call yourself an artist you can, because you ARE an artist." But just because you make a handful of artworks from time to time, do you have the right to call yourself a true one? With such a pondering question at hand, we decided to go straight to the source for the best possible answer- the artists themselves!

Ginny Zanger

Zanger's formal art training began very early, as a child taking classes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and as a teenager at the Art Students League in New York and Woodstock. Although her passion for art was put on hold when she attended Harvard, she never lost her need to express what she was seeing around her on paper. Her inspiration has always come from the environment, often rushing home after an adventure to get things down on paper before they fly from her head.

When Ginny was coming of age in Argentina and Peru (before Harvard), she became extremely connected with the water and land surrounding her. She was immersed in creating a series of underwater landscapes when the Deepwater Horizon oil spill flooded the Gulf of Mexico, threatening the very ocean life that had originally inspired her artwork. The Gulf spill tragedy pushed her to consider using her art to raise awareness about the impact of 5 million barrels of crude oil and 2 million gallons of dispersants. The body of work that she made in response was exhibited at the Committee on Public Health in the Massachusetts State House, earning a commendation from the House of Representatives- a great honor. Take a look at two of the works from her Oil Spill collection below.

As a frequent visitor to Cape Cod, Ginny has continued to use her surroundings to help hone her passion for creating underwater landscapes and other works concerning the environment. "The natural environment stirs something spiritual inside me that moves me to paint", Ginny states. "My connection with nature and the natural world has caused my concern for the precarious situation we find ourselves in as a planet. I would have to say that while I am inspired to share what I see as the beauties of the deep through my art, I also would like to think that my work will inspire others to want to protect what we have."

When Ginny was asked about her understanding of what it means to be a true artist, she seemed a bit hesitant to express a concrete definition. "I'm not actually sure what that term means. I think that we all have lots of creative potential, and that some of us are driven to develop, hone, and express it, while others need permission, encouragement, opportunity, luck, and time."

In Ginny's opinion, true artists choose to paint, draw, dance, etc. because they have an inherent NEED to do it. True artists are determined to practice their craft because it is something they enjoy, and something that helps them feel at peace. Other individuals perhaps feel the need for opportunity or encouragement from others before they choose to practice. "I feel tremendously grateful to have this opportunity in my life right now to work at developing whatever gifts I have."

Those that are interested in seeing more of Ginny's work should be sure to stop by her two-woman show called "What Remains" at The Copley Society (158 Newbury Street) from May 21-June 24. The exhibit will include environmental themes from Ginny and Donna Hamil Talman. Don't miss your chance to see more of her inspiring work.

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