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 Gemma Gariel  

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Lived/Active: New York / France      Known for: expressive painting, collage, decoration

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Gemma Gariel
An example of work by Gemma Gariel
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Gemma Gariel, whose work is signed Gemma, is a musician and painter whose canvases have colorful images reflecting her enchanted, fantasy world inspired by music.

Gemma is a native of Poland and a citizen of France working in America. Her childhood was filled with joy, art and music with a retired concert-organist father, and a mother classically trained pianist and gifted painter mother. Later in life Gemma understood how her mother's painting abilities were nurtured in herself and her brother, Alexander. Her brother's artistic ability developed at the age of four and she admired his talent and humor in his cartoons.

The piano was Gemma's instrument by age five and the violin became her passion at seven, and her mother designed and created dresses for Gemma's concerts and recitals. At an early age Gemma announced to her mother that she would go to America. Her American dream would be realized.

Gemma's passion for art started with classical music. She was painting in oil at the age of fourteen and created her self-portrait. As a teenager she understood hard work and discipline required for excellence in art and music. She traveled extensively in Europe, Asia and South America playing concerts as a violinist. Her exposure to Brazilian music, jazz, contemporary American music and French Chanson impacted the international flavor in her art. She is fluent in four languages. She holds a Masters Degree from the Academy of Music in Warsaw. where she was awarded first prize in Virtuosite from Geneva where she studied with world famous violinist Henryk Szeryng.

In 1982 Gemma came to America via New York City with an invitation from legendary professor, Ivan Galamian from Julliard School of Music. Gemma found the city exceptionally fascinating and open minded. The city vibrated with artistic energy. She felt welcome in the artist community because of New York's international flavor. Here she discovered her visual art could never be separated from music, dance, comedy, drama, theatre design and costumes.

Following an attack in Central Park she was left with severe nerve damage in her left arm and was physically unable to play her violin for two years. Gemma withdrew from America and returned to Paris. The return to Paris was to heal and search for a way to express her creativity. She expressed herself as a singer and created the one-woman show for the Paris theatre. She slowly developed the strength in her arm and returned as violinist to play chamber music concerts. The Central Park attack made her work harder, focusing on being stronger and more creative.

Her paintings continue to develop as a simple way for her to release her imagination. Her creativity turned to jazz and pop music. After one of her performance as a singer Gemma met in Paris, Oscar Peterson a famous Jazz pianist. He was impressed with her natural capacity of vocal improvisation and encouraged
her to return to America and pursue her career in jazz. She continues to record with other great Jazz musicians in New York City.

Today Gemma is engaged part time in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra in the
first violin section. This leaves time in the summer for her to compose her music, make recordings and develop her visual art through energetic, expressive painting and colorful collages. Drawing is her passion.

Her art is inspired by the spiritual and intellectual energy she finds in her surroundings such as the incredible designs and decor on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera and the numerous productions.The artists she admires are Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent, Frank Benson, and many great masters.

Gemma writes stories for children and has illustrated some of them with her artwork. Her newest projects are a multi-dimensional work for children with companion CDs of music she has composed. Gemma is collaborating with Alexander, her brother an award-winning filmmaker and cartoonist published under the name of "Olo". He is illustrating the majority of this project.

Gemma was introduced to many art associations with the encouragement of Lynn
Owens an art professional who encouraged Gemma to exhibit her art in September 2003 in the Art Society of Old Greenwich Connecticut. Gemma was awarded second prize in mixed media.

Biography written February 2005 and submitted by Janet G. Smith, art consultant, art historian, art authenticator and independent curator. The source is the artist.

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