Today we’d like to introduce you to Lori Cozen-Geller.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lori. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Art is essential to artists in the same way that humans require air or water. I never paid much attention to this theory until the night my father died. Shocked and devastated by the news that my father was gone, I paced the hallway of my house after somehow managing to tuck my two young sons into their beds at the end of the worst day of my life. Although I reassured them that everything would be okay, in the back of my mind I knew I was lying. I finally settled down the hallway and into my bedroom only to find my husband fast asleep, so I journeyed right through the bedroom and into my dressing room. It is there that with perfect animation and without a single thought I sat down in the chair and unfolded a crumbled delicatessen napkin from the trash can next to me.
Thoughtlessly, I pulled out a pencil from the dresser drawer and drew my first work of art. It was nothing more than a perfect square, immaculate in its shape and as perfect as my dad. With purpose and without hesitation I drew a single triangle in the lower right quadrant of the square, grabbed a cuticle scissor from the drawer and proceeded to cut the simple triangle out of the perfect square. My anger and grief compelled me to toss it straight into the trash can. To me, this triangle signified the empty place in my heart that was once fulfilled by my father. Looking back, it may seem melodramatic, but all that I could utter to myself was “My perfect world is over because my dad is gone.”
I looked down at the trash can and immediately pulled the triangle back out. I smoothed it vigorously reassuring myself that my father always taught me to be an optimist. He would tell me that, although my life would never be the same, a part of him would always stay with me through the ways I carried out my life with an outlook similar to his own. He would stay with me through the ways in which my three wonderful children mirrored him. My eldest son would mirror his extraordinary kindness, passion and boundless energy.
My younger son would follow in his footsteps pursuing a career in dentistry and his humility and gentle demeanor were qualities that were ever present in my father. And in my daughter, I would recognize an inheritance of his artistic talents and his passion for life. And so my first work of art was conceived. I built the piece out of strong solid wood to symbolize his strength. Next, I painted it in Ferrari Rosa Corsa Red– red being a cultural symbol of affection– to symbolize my love for him. By using automotive paint as a medium, I was honoring his passion for exotic cars, a hobby that gave him great joy.
Once the work was completed, I hung the large square in our living room and the small seemingly lost triangle on a beam of the living room ceiling. That was the beginning. The beginning of art’s role in my life as being essential. The beginning of art serving as essential to me in the same way that air and water are essential to humankind. We breathe without thought; it is automatic. I do art without thinking; it is instinctual.
Written by Kate Elizabeth Geller as told by Lori Cozen-Geller
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My road has been smooth because of my attitude. Every little bump that I have had to deal with is simply part of the big picture which has always been for me to pay tribute and honor to my dad. I have had to learn how to navigate through the gallery world, museum world and every other part of living the life of a working artist.
I was forced to sell my work because unlike thin paper art, my work could not be stacked. It is large and delicate and I did not have room to store the many pieces that I had made.
That is how I made the transition from art being my personal hobby to being an artist that sells work. Every challenge has been a learning experience for me and every obstacle has made me grow as an artist.
Lori Cozen-Geller Contemporary Artist – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My business is simply the gift of being able to do my work and exhibit and sell or donate it. Running my business is secondary to doing the artwork. I have never looked at it as a business but rather the business side has been a vehicle for letting go of my work so that I can do more pieces. I am most proud of knowing that the many pieces that I have been able to place with collectors who can actually live with my work on a daily basis.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
There have been many, many moments when I have been proud and each one has to do with my late father. A few years back I traveled to Montreal to do an exhibition at Art Mur Gallery. Montreal is the city that my Dad was born in. I had never visited Montreal nor had I ever met the many relatives that I had living there. The exhibit was entitled “Foundations” and the key piece was one that was about the incredible foundation that my dad had a human being; his soul and integrity.
My many relatives came to opening night which was a thrill. I have another of my most proudest moments, equal to the one described above. I had a solo exhibit at the Museum of Ventura County titled “Sol” as that was my Dad’s name. Each and every piece was painted in high gloss Maserati auto paint as the word “Sol” in Spanish means sun.
- Website: www.loricozengeller.com
- Phone: (310) 922.2140
- Email: [email protected]
- Instagram: loricozengeller
- Facebook: Lori Cozen-Geller