I'm Gina Tuzzi and I am an artist and educator living on the North Coast of California. I teach painting full time at Humboldt State University and also maintain a visual art career out of my home studio. My main creative focus at the moment is dedicated to building a new body of work for my upcoming solo show at Jen Tough Gallery in Benicia, CA as well as maintaining a steady stained glass practice which I endearingly refer to as my 'side hustle'. All three of these facets of my life (teaching, painting, stained glass) are equal parts challenging and rewarding and dancing with that balance is what keeps me deeply invested.
Painting and stained glass have allowed me to connect with an expansive variety of individuals: with my stained glass practice I have the opportunity to sell my wares at a variety of women owned and operated businesses and fairs all over California and Hawaii. Connecting with creative women makers and business owners is both invigorating and reassuring (sisters are doing it for themselves!) My painting practice really allows me to connect on a beautifully holistic level with myself, thus making it one of the most fundamental and significant parts of my life. My work is autobiographical and deeply personal. It is a visual space for me to collect the unseen treasures of my life and arrange them on colorful altars, presented in the forms of mixed media paintings on panel.
Both mediums have been a part of my life for decades. I first fell in love with stained glass in middle school and am still using the equipment that my family so generously invested in for me at that time to make the stained glass pieces I make today. Painting came into my life in high school and became something I took very seriously by college. The love and commitment to both mediums solidifies increasingly everyday.
Currently, the stained glass projects in the studio are focused on small, colorful designs that can be hung in windows in order to reveal the interaction of color between the various hues of glass. My favorite design to make is the Shaka. It’s a visual motif that has been a part of my life forever and is easily my favorite friendly hand gesture. Most of the glass I source is remnants from local church restorations. I like knowing that the mojo imbued in the glass is spiritual and that even the smallest shard of discarded scrap can go on to become a symbol of aloha in someone’s home.
The paintings I am currently making for my upcoming show are presently in their infant stages. I have been building large abstract fields of color, light, and texture in preparation for the figurative elements which will be painted in the coming months. The thesis of the work is still revealing itself to me little by little as the days get longer and we slide into summer which has historically been a most inspired time for me. The birds of prey that frequent the sky above my studio have slowly worked their way into the paintings, and their presence always affords me great perspective. As a result of this, they've gained a totemic presence in the work. Music is a significant source of inspiration in my work as well (sonic and visual) which dates back to my very first drawings as a young girl. I have been painting some of my most beloved albums and will rest them on top of the work when they finally hang on the gallery walls, like saint prayer cards atop an altar surrounded by lit candles and incense.
Another element I wish to incorporate into this body of work is an image of myself, photographed with woo woo technology to reveal my aura. I have a new tradition where every year I paint a self portrait in order to celebrate my physical being as well as chronicle the passing of time. The aura photograph I had taken last fall reveals a beautiful field of ultra violet surrounding me, indicative of the creative energy present in my life. It is most definitely a sacred image to me, one I feel inspired to make work about.
The future feels fertile and I am so looking forward to seeing where the paintings and stained glass will be headed next, both geographically and creatively (more color wheels in all iterations!) Additionally, I am so looking forward to spending some full days in my studio as school lets out and summer break commences. My ultimate hope is that I will be able to connect with more dynamic people through bringing the work out into the world and perhaps if i’m lucky, spread a little inspiration around in the process.
To see my painted works in person, check out the World Of Frida show this July at the Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, CA and Jen Tough Gallery in Benicia, CA come November. My stained glass works are available at Seapod and The Bodega here in Humboldt County, Neve|Hawk and Gravel and Gold in the Bay Area and Olive Boutique in Kailua and Waikiki.