American abstract painter, Cynthia Spillman, is primarily a self taught artist, living and working in Aptos, Ca.
After dropping out of college, she spent several years in Hawaii as a Radio DJ and artist, making hand-painted Lava Lava's from her Kalapana, Big Island studio. In 1990, both her home and studio were destroyed by the Kilauea lava flow.
Relocating to San Francisco for a radio job, she met the painter Linda Geary and was inspired by her work, friendship and approach to painting. It was not until a later move to Los Angeles that Cynthia began taking herself more seriously as an artist. She was invited to attend the Santa Monica College of Design, Art and Architecture, a school centered in an idiosyncratic “free rein” approach. At the DAA, she was able to pursue a way of working that unfolded from her child-like drawing skills; making a series of pieces of a childhood bedroom, clothes, and neighborhood. The influence of cave paintings, and the Japanese aesthetic, wabi sabi, informed much of her work, as the art of Chuta Kimura does today.
She begins a painting by drawing stick figures and simple figurative forms in oil pastel, leaving images loose and approximate. Each mark informs the next while the consideration of color comes into play; tapping into the pure activity of painting and the innocent heart of the child. The process is unplanned and spontaneous, building layer upon layer, watching for something to appear: a rabbit, a roller-skate, tree, dog or face, but her intention is explicit- to unveil and communicate the fundamental innocence and uniqueness inherent in life and in the individual.
Spillman’s work is included in numerous private collections, and has been shown in galleries in New York, Los Angeles, Santa Fe, Sebastopol, and Santa Cruz. Her studio is located inside a giant bamboo nursery.
1959 Manhattan Beach, Ca.
College of Design, Art and Architecture (DAA), / Painting. Santa Monica, Ca.
Santa Monica College / Painting, Photography. Santa Monica Ca.
California State University, Chico / American Studies, Religious Studies
Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2020 The Self/The Eye, Monterey Museum of Art, Currents Gallery. Monterey, Ca.
Selected Group Exhibitions:
2019 No Creative Boundaries, Museum of Encaustic Art. Santa Fe, NM
2019 Encaustic Art, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyards, Santa Cruz CA.
2018 The Whole Ball of Wax, Felix Kulpa Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA.
2018 The Year of the Dog, Sebastopol Center of the Arts. Sebastopol, Ca.
2017 Hopeful Darkness, Atlantic Gallery. New York, NY.
2000 Synopsis, Julie Rico Gallery. Venice, Ca.
Gentes residence Enfresco, Olive Grove. Encaustic and oil in clay plaster.
Shepherd-Smith residence, Nandi and Lupe. San Bruno, Ca.
2017 12x12 An Open Invitational, Cabrillo Gallery. Aptos, CA.
2016- 2019 Santa Cruz Open Studios. Santa Cruz, Ca.
2017 Develop Grant, Arts Council Santa Cruz County, California.
Works held in private collection in San Francisco, Napa, Venice, Santa Monica, Santa Cruz County, Ca.