“Once I get into the paint, it brings me places I don’t expect,”says Tricia Duffy Vitrano. “You have this skeleton,
and you build on the body and you don’t know how it’s going to be, but that’s the excitement.” Duffy Vitrano often begins with charcoal sketches—the “skeleton”—from nature or the human form. Once she’s inspired by a shape, she abstracts and repeats it across a large canvas in vibrant color—the “body”—creating dazzling, organic compositions. “The color is the strong point. It enhances the form without the form taking over,” Duffy Vitrano explains.
Her series, “Holes in our Souls,” began with a charcoal sketch of seed pods from a plant. Simplified, they became donuts, or cells, the human body at its most basic. Duffy Vitrano is making a comment on the collective state of the soul as well. “We’re whirling dervishes, constantly striving to fulfill our souls, and some of us do and some of us don’t.” Many of us, she adds, “forget that it’s the inner we should be working on, not the outer.”
The artist’s latest series was inspired by her 12-year-old daughter, Meghan, who is teetering on the brink of becoming a teenage girl. Duffy Vitrano created the character “Nancy Sin” after Nancy Sinatra, as a reminder to not let men, or anyone for that matter, walk all over you. Based loosely on Meghan’s childhood drawings, “she’s both a little girl and a bold woman,” Duffy Vitrano says. “We all have another side that we hide. It doesn’t have to be the bad side—it could be more free or more outgoing ... the thing that you want to be, but you hold yourself back.”
When Meghan first saw Nancy Sin, “She started laughing. Without actually telling her, I had said ‘I understand what you’re going through,’ “ says Duffy Vitrano. •
This article appears in the July 2005 issue of New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles