Cecelia Comito

Cecelia Comito

ABOUT THE ARTIST

CECELIA COMITO

CAPTURING SMALL MOMENTS

Cecelia Comito's rich Iowa upbringing heavily influences her approach to art. A native of Des Moines, her family moved to the small town of Carroll, Iowa, when she was 7 years old.  Growing up in rural Iowa gave Cecelia the freedom to roam around her hometown whether on foot or by bicycle. These experiences, along with the hundreds of miles riding in the back of her family’s station wagon on family road trips, served as grounding points of inspiration for her future works. These childhood experiences emblazoned a fondness for rural landscapes and familial moments that would later bloom into her artistic style.

 

Cecelia's journey into the world of visual arts was not the typical route of a professional artist. After she graduated from law school, Cecelia left Iowa to practice law for nearly 30 years in large urban cities including Philadelphia, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. Cecelia’s love for the arts, which lay dormant during most of her adult life, resurfaced in her late thirties when she found herself craving a creative outlet to counterbalance the acrimony of her law career.

 

Embracing her passion for art with open arms, Cecelia boldly embarked on her journey of artistic exploration at 38, by enrolling in an adult education art class at the Chicago Art Institute, ready to unfold her potential and dive into the world of creative expression. Cecelia went on to take classes in figure drawing and portraiture, and eventually started painting first with watercolors.

 

An ongoing exploration of different artistic practices led her to delve into mixed media painting. Her unique artist signature lies in the process of transforming salvaged paper into expressive landscapes and other paintings that tell a story. Her mixed media creations are more than mere artistic representations; they carry the spirit of evolving nostalgia and stories building upon stories.

 

When Cecelia started her art journey 20 years ago, she had no intention of painting rural landscapes or themes, let alone moving back to Iowa. “My art had other plans,” Cecelia said. “I’d try to paint other subjects, but eventually they would morph into a rural landscape. There is a joke about Iowa girls: ‘You can take the girl out of Iowa, but you can't take the Iowa out of the girl.' For my art, it was so true.”

Her work is strongly rooted in her experiences of growing up in Iowa. The wide-open landscapes, the symmetry within rows of corn and bean fields, and even forgotten farmsteads and old photographs from the early 1900s infuse her art with an illustrative narrative, a connecting thread of forgotten stories and a sense of nostalgia. Her paintings incorporate pages from old books, newspapers, cookbooks, maps, and even used adding machine tapes, forming a unique layering style that breathes life into seemingly mundane relics.

 

This technique of creating layers from found papers and other materials led to Cecelia’s artwork being featured on the first Conservation Station educational trailers provided by Iowa State University in 2010. Over the next 10 years, Cecelia provided art for three more Conservation Stations. The original 4 x 6 foot wetlands painting featured on the most recent trailer now hangs in Elings Hall at Iowa State University in Ames.

 

In 2019, Cecelia moved back to Iowa and she now paints full-time in her studio in Carroll. Cecelia's journey from a small-town girl to high-powered attorney to a recognized artist is woven intricately within her layered art pieces that stand testament to her profound belief that art can evoke joy and stir unparalleled connections. She hopes to create work that resonates with people, telling stories that matter and envisioning art as the language for the non-verbal, a narrative that can be different for everyone yet always speaks directly to the heart.

 

A common echo she hears from appreciators and collectors of her work is that it has a charm and playfulness that makes people smile. Birds, pigs, roosters, barns, tractors — all sit happily on her canvases, waiting to make people feel a little happier, a little more hopeful. The multiple layers that create her paintings bring a complexity and sophistication to depictions of rural subject matters.

Poppies
Poppies
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Raven Flowers
Raven Flowers
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Butterflies
Butterflies
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Mother
Mother
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Whitebarn
Whitebarn
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Petals
Petals
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