“I paint windows into the soul, to create deep connections that tug at the heart. “
Elle McCarthy is a late blooming, self-taught artist. For decades the artist in her laid dormant, leaving room for the business of earning a living. Her inspiration comes from colors. Since she was a child, she has been drawn to bright color schemes and palettes. She likes to experiment with various techniques, mainly using acrylic paint. She also adds tissue paper, modeling paste and collage to augment the texture of some of her pieces. There are no boundaries, just the joy of putting brush to canvas and letting her inspiration take over.
Since September 2022, Arts On Main, LLC, is a new community art studio and gallery located at 141 W Main St, in Rockaway Borough, and the gallery caters to both emerging and seasoned artists and aims to fill a void for opportunities to link art collectors to local artists. Founder Elle McCarthy describes Arts on Main as “a place for artists to get together and create, and for members of the local community to discover, or re-discover, various visual art forms through interaction with the local artists who create them”. McCarthy also noted that “after the COVID pandemic forced several small local art galleries to close their doors in 2020, there is definitely a void in our local art scene and Arts on Main’s goal is to foster the re-building of those relationships”.
Q: What town do you live in? Where is your studio/place of work?
A: Rockaway Borough
Q: What kind of art do you create/what do you do in the arts?
A: I am a bold color, acrylic portrait painter
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am experimenting with painting portraits on rugs.
Q: What is your art background/education/
A: I do not have any formal art training or education. I started painting in 2020 just before the COVID pandemic hit.
Q: How do you balance your time in the studio/in the workplace with other commitments?
A: I am a full-time artist. I am fortunate to have my art studio in the same building as my new “Arts on Main” venture (a community art studio and small gallery). My only other commitments (my husband and our old dog) are very supportive of my creative time!
Q: Has your practice changed over time? Why/How?
A: My practice is constantly evolving, especially because I am still very new to Art and have much to learn.
Q: What are a few of your big artistic career goals? What is your dream project?
A: I am living mine at the moment: just opened a community art studio and gallery. (Dream project?) Expanding “Arts on Main” to a larger space.
Q: What is your favorite thing about being in the arts? Least favorite?
A: Favorite: I get to play with colors! Least favorite? “Peopling”! I am an introvert and networking has never been my favorite thing to do.
Q: What inspires you? Who are your favorite artists/ artwork? Favorite museum/ gallery (outside of Morris County
A: (What inspires you?) Colors! (Who are your favorite artists/artwork?) God and His creation. (Favorite museum/gallery (outside of Morris County)?) I don’t get out much… It’s been ages since I’ve gone to a museum.
Q: When you are working through problems in your arts practice, who do you talk to? What is the best piece of advice you've been given? What advice do you have to give other artists?
A: As a student of “Bold School” I have access to instructors and mentors via a private online community.
Q: How do you stay connected and up to date with the art world?
A: I don’t, other than being connected to hundreds of artists all over the world through “Bold School” (online art school based in Canada).
Q: What memorable responses have you had to your work?
A: I paint a lot of memorial portraits. I’ve been told that family members talk to the portrait I painted of their loved one.
Q: What do you want others to know about your art practice/artistic themes/stylistic choices/materials you use?
A: I paint windows into the soul, to create deep connections that tug at the heart. Depicting expression and mood through the use of colors is what I aim for.
Q: Do you have any exhibitions/events/performances coming up?
A: My art is on exhibition in various places thanks to the NJ Art Association and Morris County Art Association. In addition, I typically have a few pieces in my own gallery.
Q: Where is your favorite place to find visual arts in Morris County?
A: I love the gallery upstairs at Morristown Mayo PAC.