I’m new to “blogging” and at seventy-six and a man blessed with a family business of equal partners ( Matthew, Mark & Sonya) who let me be myself in the learning of a new way of telling Art Collectors (everywhere) that we will NEVER stop trying to be the best in finding first-class artists to offer to you.
In the past (23 years now), I’d meet you in our galleries where our walls are always filled with fresh new things to consider… However, with a balky new knee and a well cogitated Covid concern, I’m “on the bench” for a while. Change is good… it’s so good! Now, without the joyous pace of those gorgeous galleries, I can ponder more about our artists, their lives and output and further, how we can best continue to make the beautiful connections that have made our SUMMER of 2020 such a sweet success and surprise. Thanks! – Len Cutter
P.S. – My ‘back-of-the-house’ conversations found me at home rediscovering Melissa Hefferlin’s biography and its singular historic component that you will want to tell your friends about!
Spirit and Meaning – Melissa Hefferlin
An American painter, born in the 60’s
Russian and American trained in Realism.
Melisssa Hefferlin’s foray into the world of Fine Art began at a young age when she studied violin. Moving to Russia with her parents cemented her devotion to the arts as she used her new found independence to explore Russia itself through travel, museums, and cultural sights. High school saw her return to America, but Russia was in her heart. At age 20, she spent her junior year of college abroad, studying at the elite Russian Academy of Arts. Her passion for a high-level atelier meant she was only the second American to ever gain entry to study at the Russian Academy of Arts… the first was none other than James Abbott McNeill Whistler!
During this time of study, figurative work was the predominant subject, and her comfort with that genre is seen in her many portraits and figurative studies. The idea of still life followed later and is now a substantial and significant avenue in her oeuvre. These originals emanate from the perfect setting for an artist. Lit by the Spanish sun via a skylight installed by her devoted husband, Daud Akhriev, these paintings are illuminated and influenced by a far reaching and arching beam of natural light which travels throughout the course of the day circuitously around her studio. There is a ledge set into one of those pale white washed walls upon which Melissa assembles her beloved treasure horde into the compositional excellence of her paintings. These objects repeat themselves in a singular fascination for those who love playfulness and a good story. These little pieces of pleasure are, for Melissa, part of her days in the studio. They move, change, and manifest the memories of the moments they were joyfully acquired …the studio is an intricate part of their beautiful life in Spain.
Melissa, during a delightful and invigorating recent video call with our Art Consultants, discussed in detail the many stories and deep emotions behind these new works. She made sure that we understood she is not always or immediately aware of the painting’s message, but instead waits for the story to be told as presented by the assemblage of treasured inanimate friends. We loved it! These previously unknown aspects as related by Melissa are carried by vivid memories for art collectors thirsting for that painting which seems to be … “exactly what I’m looking for!” – Read More About Melissa HERE
Hand-Pulled Linoleum Prints
Melissa began printing linoleum cuts over 25 years ago as a way to reinvigorate her time in the art studio. She permitted herself to be more spontaneous and free with her block prints, uncensored by constraints of strict design norms. Utilizing limited values and silhouettes has kept the works surprisingly expressive. Her ability to create a freshness and impishness comes through in her whimsical linoleum cut works and she has fallen more in love with the medium over the years.
From concept to final product… Melissa begins with a simple sketch, refines her idea and then hand-carves the linoleum block. Her limited edition block prints are hand-pulled and the designs are often adapted to create Serithea Silk Scarves.
A video of artist Melissa Hefferlin creating her linoleum block print, “Sisters in Crime.”
Reminiscing: Discovering Art
Early in life I discovered art in the humble home of my youth. I also discovered the coal-bin in our cellar and my Dad’s rudimentary workshop adjacent to it. Band saw, table saw and jigsaw, lockable tool closet where an astounding array of every imaginable tool awaited deployment. It also held the (hidden) whiskey! I later learned it was the whiskey that the neighborhood men of The Greatest Generation really came to learn about. It was not that story which this blogger, as a 10 year old, believed… hook, line & sinker! “Tell your Ma, ‘those Guys don’t know anything about carpentry or cutting boards!’ ”
They all came, tipsily proclaiming to my mother “Amos is a mechanical Genius” and he was good! In that cellar shop he built my Mom a huge pass-through counter (mid-kitchen); it was well ahead of its time and built solid. He would say “it’s built like a ceramic defecatory!” (I later learned the correct nomenclature in the Navy) I digress… he also created (in our small den) a built-in cabinet system for a record player and the television he had saved up for… when it arrived… that was a discovery!
The built-in also had a drop-down desk area my dad had created for my mother. That’s where one day in the 1950s, I discovered my mother…painting in oil. I liked it, the smell of the linseed and I also noticed and liked the small wooden portable ‘Dad-made’ easel atop the desk. It held an over-the-counter canvas and my mom’s sketch was at that very moment receiving color. OIL PAINTING! I wish that I would or could have said, “Wow Ma! That’s nice Ma.” but I didn’t. I’m saying it now… “That’s nice, Ma!” I had discovered oil painting! I discovered poetry some years later and again … said nothing. Now the words of Robert Frost edify and enrich my mind every time I read his ready to be discovered messages.
So I am saying now, LOUD AND CLEAR “I love art!” Almost all of it. Now, in this blog, it is my pure honor to introduce you to an artist who, like the poets, create messages without really knowing when or if they’re to be read. But they (Hefferlin & Frost) live and tell us what they see, how they feel and hope that you will discover the work… and enjoy. And… look what happened, I’ve ended up totally dedicated to a life in the Arts. I’m an Art Dealer now with the greatest possible team anywhere! Please call them… discover them (Nicole Wolff, Samantha Palmer, Mary-Kate McClure, Kylie Trundle, Lara Burau and Maggie O’Connor); you’ll be glad you did. I wish my Mom could see us now and the incredible life we are living as a true and dedicated team; she’d be pleased.
Discovering: Melissa Hefferlin
It was easy! Let me explain: First, as an Art Dealer, which seems to most folks to be a great way of life (true) but, “it ain’t easy!”. Like your business or life’s endeavor, nothing is easy… but it is (often) true that “you wouldn’t want it any other way”. Complexities, decision timing and unanticipated circumstances (Covid-19) proves that the basis of your business had “best-be-solid”. So, back to Melissa Hefferlin and our very good fortune to now be her Art Dealer. Hefferlin possesses that mighty set of traits and qualifying bedrock disciplines that make her art perfect for Cutter & Cutter Fine Art and our endlessly varied and discerning… Art Lovers.
Artist Hefferlin explains her iconic still life subject, the winged rabbit, and what still life means to her.
Melissa was featured in the October 2020 Pastel Journal
CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE
The woman, the artist who brings her life to yours, is gentle yet sophisticated; an “All American Girl” who can (and did!) survive in any world. Perhaps art discovered her but, no matter which way it went, art and artists met and the art world is now happier, brighter, more insightful… see for yourself.
Hefferlin’s grasp of artistic principles is well-earned, hard-won and yet all we see is Melissa’s glee in telling art lovers about the favorite things in her life. They are often seen and exist artistically in her still life works… which are the mirror of Melissa’s life. That feminine touch is there (thankfully) along with the caresses of love, joy, zest, intrigue and mystery and even the “daring-do” (So cool!) that make painting’s happy. The canvases always pervade HAPPY! Note: Melissa’s linoleum block prints are in a league apart and above… they are simply stupendous! (Look under “Limited Editions”.) Check out Melissa’s videos and discover the joy of her Studio and a potential friend you can meet… (in our gallery; this coming Jan 22-23, 2021) and share the bright beautiful days of the future.
An artist’s biography is important… no doubt. However, they are often written by academics, for academics. Collectors too like to understand the classic: Who, What, Where, When & How; the basics tell much but do not deal with the artist’s nature or drive, discipline, sensitivity, intimacy or the many people that may have inspired or pushed them forward and ever upward into the art world.
Melissa’s first hard cover coffee table book.
“The Things We Take With Us”