We are delighted to publish the seventh of our new styled interview entitled ‘Mobile Artists on Their Artistry’. Within this interview, we ask highly successful mobile artists twenty questions about their backgrounds, their work, social media, how Covid-19 has influenced their creative life and so much more…
Today, we are proud to publish our latest interview with award winning artist, Deborah Kleven Morbeto from Northern Virginia, United States. She has been working full-time as an artist since 2002. Formally trained as a painter, Morbeto enjoys all aspects of creating art.
To read the others in this series, please go here.
All images ©Deborah Kleven Morbeto
How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know your work?
I always tell people I am a mixed media artist. Most people assume that means collage with paper and perhaps traditional art materials like paint and pastels for example. I actually do make art like this but I have been using technology in my art making process for years. First it was on my computer using Photoshop and now it is on my phone or my iPad using a variety of apps. Thus mixed media really means a very wide variety of media in my world!
What name do you use within social media and was this a conscious decision?
Great question! I originally used Deborah Morbeto Fine Art as my business name. However I recently changed it to Deborah Morbeto Art & Design design because I feel it encompasses more of what I do. On social media I always use my own name because I want to capitalize on brand recognition.
What kind of family did you grow up in?
Very eclectic family which made for a very well seasoned childhood! I think that having very open minded parents who always supported my dream of being a working artist has been fundamental in my artistic development. My divorced , financially challenged mother actually paid for private art lessons in oil painting starting at the age of around 11. I was also influenced by a very diverse variety of people as both of my parents had very colourful friends. I learned a ton from these people about the world and the many ways to live in it.
Did your childhood influence your ideas about creativity?
Absolutely. As the only child of a single parent I spent a lot of time on my own needing to be creative to keep myself from being bored. I created entire worlds, fantasy fuelled adventures, and I read rabidly. I think this really enhanced my creativity in a way that is unique.
Did your parents support your creativity?
When was the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?
The first time I really knew I wanted to be a full-time working artist was about 25 years ago when I was working in graphic design. At the time I quit because I had my son. However I also started working in my studio nightly and diving into the local art scene in my town. I know I’m proud to say that I have been a working artist for 15+ years.
What is creativity to you?
It is the way one sees the world around them. Personally I see art in everything. From textures to composition to color combinations. I can be grocery shopping and be totally inspired. Or I can be out in nature and equally as inspired. Just running around getting errands done often gives me a ton of ideas. Thinking and seeing like an artist is unique and a really fun way to walk through the world.
What did you do before (if appropriate) becoming an artist?
As I said above I was working in graphic design which was fun but not fulfilling in the way I needed it to be. I’ve also had non-Art related jobs such as cocktail waitress and even then I was inspired!
Where are you most creative?
I can be creative pretty much anywhere. Obviously my studio is the place I am the most creative most often but stick me anywhere and I can find a way to make art! In the woods, at a restaurant, hanging out with a friend…. It just never ends.
What inspires you?
Everything! I am a walking vessel and everything that I see hear, taste and feel get recycled into my art.
Who inspires you?
Certainly looking at other art inspires me. I know a lot of folks online who are fantastic artists so I am inspired by them. I’m also inspired by my husband as he is my rock and incredibly supportive. I spend a lot of time with my friends kids and I am quite often inspired by them because being kids they are highly creative and very free thinking. I also happen to live in a community that has a lively art scene. Therefore I am exposed to and I’m friends with a lot of artists and art.
Does your engagement on social media help you to plan your future projects?
Absolutely. Even when I started using technology in my art years ago I knew for a fact that it was an incredibly valid form of art but that it would take a long time for the “art world“ to catch up. I think it’s starting to become a more acceptable medium. Museums and galleries are now featuring multimedia technological installations. It’s my understanding that the artist David Hockney is now using an I pad or tablet to create art. I absolutely love that!
What does your average day look like?
Get up and look at art online and engage with fellow artists and friends. Get out into the world to do whatever is on my agenda for the day whether it be errands, doctors appointments or hanging out with friends. Going into my studio in the evening to recycle my daily experiences into art. Over the last 30 years or so I have rarely missed an evening of making art. My friends joke that I turn into a pumpkin at a certain time because I almost never go to any evening events!
Is it your intention to ask questions or make the viewer question what they see?
Absolutely. Whether it’s a dark piece or something incredibly whimsical there’s a deeper message. I often, or I should say I almost never, start with an intention but by the time a piece is done there is clearly a certain vibe or mood that invites people to create stories or ask questions.
Is there humour in your work?
Yes! I think humor is a great way to ask questions. I think humor resonates with most everyone. Sometimes I start a piece and I’m feeling quite serious and it ends up being very humorous. Other times the opposite happens. I start a piece that I feel will be whimsical in nature but it ends up being somehow rather dark. People respond in ways that often surprise me and see things that I didn’t intend and that is a real treat!
How important is failure in your work process? Do you incorporate it into your creative process?
I don’t even know if I would use the term failure per se. Everything that happens goes into the “stew”. Meaning that all experiences artistically, whether they be gratifying or not, lead me to the next.
How do you deal with criticism?
I have had very little criticism of my work. When I was attending art school many years ago I was kindly asked to leave each department I was in because I wasn’t the right fit. In retrospect this is very funny to me! If someone does criticise my work I listen. This is one area in my life where my feelings just cannot be hurt. I know my art is fantastic and I am 110% percent confident in it!
Has the Covid-19 pandemic influenced your creative life?
Covid was rough and absolutely horrific in how it was handled in certain ways. My personal experience was good. However that is because I am privileged. I stayed at home and I spent a lot of time looking at art online and participating in sharing art online. I learned and grew quite a bit and I am grateful to have had the privilege to do so.
Who dead or alive would you like to have dinner with?
I knew you were going to ask this! Such a difficult question to answer because I believe every day I would make a different choice. My answer today would be Georgia O’Keeffe. I read a fascinating biography about her and Stieglitz about a year or so ago, during Covid. She was a very complex woman so having dinner with her would be fascinating!
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve heard and still repeat to others?
My personal advice to anyone ever is to own property and take care of your feet. This however does not apply to Art per se LOL. With regard to art I hate to jump on popular bandwagon‘s but Bob Ross hit the nail on the head with the concept of “happy accidents“.
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