Arts & Life Editor
Two artists, one of them an alumna, traveled from France to speak to aspiring painters, sculptors and photographers alike last Tuesday.
Cyrille Weiner and Jessica Kanelos-Weiner came to Denison’s campus as a collaboration between the Vail Visiting Artist Series, the Studio Art Department and the Theater Department.
Both have worked with students in the art department critiquing their work. The talk allowed Weiner and Kanelos-Weiner to share their insights on careers in the art world with Denison students.
Introduced by Ron Abram of the Studio Art Department, the talk began with Weiner. Weiner noted how he originally studied economics in college but found his true passion with photography.
The work he shared consisted of images from the past 15 years. The majority of his pictures focus on space and how individuals appropriate that space. After discussing the premise of his work, Weiner said in a heavy French accent, “I am an only child so that might be a reason why most of my work focuses on buildings and not people.”
Weiner continued with his presentation of various spaces. As a photographer that works for commission and for his own personal portfolio, Weiner said, “My architecture shots are not what you would see in a typical architecture magazine.” The reason is because a lot of his shots focus on harsh urban landscapes with few amounts of people.
When Weiner’s spouse, Jessica Kanelos-Weiner, took the stage, the conversation switched from stunning shots of architecture to whimsical food styling.
Kanelos-Weiner started by saying, “It has always been a secret dream of mine to come back and speak here.”
As a Denison alumna, Kanelos-Weiner credits the university with her ability to think differently about a career as an artist. She didn’t have a strong sense of what she wanted to do when she graduated, so she moved to France to work as an au pair.
Upon moving to France she wanted to pursue her interest in food culture. Coming from a Greek family, food has always been a big part of her life. As a result, Kanelos-Weiner started her own blog, Francofly focused on moving to another country and telling stories through food.
One of her posts includes an anecdote about how she feels it’s easier to get to know the different cheeses on the cheese plate rather than people at a party.
She eventually went on to become a food stylist. Her most recent project combines the culinary and art.
With the new trend of adult coloring books on the rise, Kanelos-Weiner said “I feel all the coloring books you see for adults are very static and look copy and pasted.” As a result, she took it upon herself to make a coloring book, “Edible Paradise,” based on the food she would see in the markets in Paris. “I just felt like there was something new to be done in this area,” she said.
Her closing remarks included advice to aspiring artists. “You can’t succeed in this field if you pursue your passion half-heartedly. You really have to embody the position,” she said. “Remember to be kind to yourself, but also keep pushing yourself forward.”