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Fern Apfel



To be posted...



by Joshua Goberdhan

Fern T. Apfel specializes in text-based illustration. Was she creating art for children’s story books? Did she create art for newspapers? It actually doesn’t involve either. In some of her work, she cuts out sentences and words from old books, diaries, and letters. She then cleverly crafts them into poems and stories. Sometimes she includes a painted illustration within the piece which pairs well with her story. On her website, she has a section named “dear nobody” where she replicates old stamps and handwritten words solely with paint. This particular section is astonishing; her art looks so realistic.

            She earned her bachelor’s degree in art education from SUNY New Paltz and also studied at the Art Students League of New York. Her style takes on so many different forms. Apfel is a very passionate artist that has a lovely personality and is a delight to talk to. She is represented by the Concepto Gallery in Hudson, New York. Her work is currently being shown as a part of “The Golden Age of New Paltz” through the end of October.

Do you remember the moment when you realized that you wanted to be an artist?

I don’t think there ever was a moment. It was just something I always just did when I had time as a child. Sometimes I just think you are that. It was always kind of a part of me.

Did you ever have a mentor or favorite artist?

At New Paltz, I studied with Manny Bromburg and he had a pretty big impact on me. So, along the way you pick up new artists. But some you leave behind. Then you kind of look forward and pick up others. And that’s the thing. You see different things and different artists along the way. At the Art Students League, I was influenced by a teacher, Jeff Kinderson. I studied with a famous anatomy teacher, Robert Beverly Hale, and an American author, Joseph Hurst. So everyone kind of does their thing.

Your art style is so unique; it has so many dimensions and is so detailed. There’s one piece in particular called “Division” that really sticks out. What draws you to the material that you use for you art?

My art has gone through many, many different stages. I think that I’m just drawn to things that feel intimate. All that stuff in the piece “Division” by collage. But now, instead of making collage with text, I’m actually writing it with pen and acrylic paint. So it’s a very gradual process of movement—for me, anyway. Not for all artists; everyone’s a little different. But for me, one thing leads to another. It’s all really what speaks to me.

Is there a tool in your studio that is absolutely essential to your work?

Well, when I was doing all that collage work, a razor blade. I go through thousands of razor blades. So that I couldn’t do without. Now, what I use a lot of is drafting tape, and this Japanese tape called washi tape that I just ordered. So those choosings are really important to me now.

Is there a piece of work that you’re most proud of?

Well, you know, your heart is always the most in your newest work. So I just finished these two really large pieces. They’re quite large for me and my space. So, all together they’re 36-by-48 which is pretty big, but they’re two different panels. I feel really good about them. But other pieces, like “Division”—I really like that piece. There are others like it. But those simple breakthrough pieces like that, you have a special place in your heart for them, you know?  And sometimes you’ll have a special place for a piece that no one likes. You know, it’s of the time, or maybe there was something about it when you were working, or there was something going on, or maybe you were able to just capture what you wanted and it’s definitely happened.  For every good piece I do, I do a lot of bad pieces.

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