Wednesday, August 17, 2016

I Believe In Artists: Wendy Lee Gadzuk

Wendy Lee Gadzuk, Visual Artist and Musician

I got a fortune cookie message once that read: You discover treasures where others see nothing unusual.  I think that statement can apply to a lot of artists but none more so than my friend Wendy Lee Gadzuk.  Not only does she see treasure in discarded, broken or seemingly ordinary objects, she sees them as a medium, as pieces that can be used to construct something that is both familiar and fascinating in her mixed media assemblage art.  Her effort and attention to detail in these pieces, as well as in her ballpoint pen drawings, seem to me to be her super power, a magical process by which she creates something that becomes more than the sum of its parts - something whole with the power to move us.

I'm extremely pleased to be able to share with you Wendy Lee Gadzuk's powerful work and thoughts on her artist's life with you here.  Enjoy!

“Madonna and Child” by Wendy Lee Gadzuk - featured on the debut Andalusia Rose CD
Mixed media, 13” x 24” x 6”
Photo by Mike Rosati

Question: I know art speaks its own language but if you had to describe your work in only six words, what would they be?

Wendy: Capturing elusive images with tangible form.

“Kardia Dentata” By Wendy Lee Gadzuk
Mixed media, 23” x 23”
Photo by Mike Rosati

Question: Who is your favorite artist (in any medium) and how do they inspire you?

There are so many great artists out there, it is hard to choose just one. But the first one who popped into my head was Cathy de Monchaux, a sculptor from the U.K. Her work is like a cross between Eva Hesse and Thierry Mugler…soft and hard at the same time. I love her juxtaposition of hard metal with softer, human-like forms, often resembling male or female genitalia made of leather or fabric. They sometimes bring to mind medieval torture devices…hauntingly, disturbingly beautiful. You can tell she probably had some training in metalsmithing, as did I, but she is doing something entirely new with these traditional techniques. I think this is what initially drew me to her work. I found it inspiring to see someone who had a foundation in a technical skill who pushed beyond the boundaries of what was commonly seen in that arena. And there seemed to be a very “female” aspect to what she was doing, which attracted me to the work. 

“Azabov”by Wendy Lee Gadzuk
Ballpoint pen on paper, 5” x 8”, unframed

Question: What inspires you to create?

Well, mostly the fact that I know that I can’t not do it!

“Ethyl My Love, the Eternal Truth Serum” by Wendy Lee Gadzuk
Mixed media, 19 1/2” x 33”
Photo by Mike Rosati

Question: What is your favorite part of your creative process?

Wendy: I think my favorite part is the end! The process itself is often painful. It’s confusing, it’s consuming, often what seemed like a brilliant idea at first gets dulled down during the process, and sometimes I can’t figure out how to actually make it work. But I know that no matter what, nothing is a lost cause, even if I make what may seem like a “mistake.” I’ve learned that, at least in my process of either drawing or doing assemblage work, everything is fixable. Or workable. And at the end, I am almost always very pleased with the result, and that is satisfying. 

“The Padded Cell” by Wendy Lee Gadzuk detail shot
Mixed media, in a guitar case

Question: What is the most challenging part of your creative process and how do you meet that challenge?

Wendy: I’d say the most challenging part of the creative process is just doing it. Not listening to the voices that doubt, that make excuses, that want to do the dishes, that want to do everything but sitting down and making art. I do Bikram Yoga as well, and at times it is miserable. But I always feel better after i do it, and once I show up to that hot room, no matter how hard it is, I always make it through. Showing up is the hard part. The busier I am, the less time I have to think about whether or not what I’m doing is important, if it has meaning, if it has enough meaning, if it has the right meaning, if it is valid in its own right even if I am not making a lot of money from it, etc. The challenge is to do it, and not give in to the voices that doubt. These voices come from within and from without. Constantly. 

“The Countess” by Wendy Lee Gadzuk
Ballpoint pen, colored pencil, and acrylic paint on paper
8 1/2” x 11 3/4"

Question: And finally, what does "believing in art" mean to you?

Wendy: “Believing in art” means, to me, believing in myself and my ability to tap into something beyond myself. Believing that what I have to offer, that which comes from the truest place, is more important than doing what I think other people will like. That is ego. That is not art. Art, to me, is about tapping into the universal collective unconscious and transcribing what I see through my own filter. And believing that that meditative state of focus that comes from the act of creating is hugely important in making the world a better place. I believe that state of consciousness sends out positive ripples to the universe. 

Thank you Wendy for sharing your insights and creations with us.

Wendy will be showing 4 of her assemblage pieces in the upcoming Coaster Show at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, which opens 9/2, and several of her drawings are included in the soon-to-be-released book “Black and White, Volume Three,” a book of black and white artworks published by Out of Step Books.

To learn more about Wendy and see more of her work, visit her website at, like her on facebook or follow her on Instagram.

Wendy is also an accomplished musician who performs with her band Andalusia Rose.  Check them out through the following links:

Until next time, happy creating!

Peace, Love and Art,