Interview with the artist – Margo Volterra

Do you remember what first captured your attention towards art?

The original art my parents collected: Raphael Sawyer, for instance.

How did you start drawing? Do you remember the first piece of art you created?

Looking out the window at all the rooftops from our apartment in NYC. One of my earliest drawings was of a piece of drift wood I had lugged home from the beach. Unfortunately, neither has survived. After that, my parents sent me to The Art Student’s League, where I was the only kid in a sea of adults. Later, they supported me while I got a BFA in painting from Boston University.

To capture your subjects, do you attend life drawing classes in person or online or create from an online reference photo or are they created from your mind?

I work almost exclusively online. One of the best things to come out of COVID. I occasionally use reference photos from Instagram. 

Juliao Holiver from Instagram reference using water-based oil pastels

Do you ever get creative block? If so, how do you overcome it?

No. Even when I’m tired, drawing wakes me up!

Have you ever taken a few steps in front of the canvas and become a model?

Yes, in college, I posed clothed. It gave me an appreciation for what models do.

What is the most significant risk you have taken to create a piece?

I take calculated risks all the time. I find if I don’t, my work suffers.

Short pose using pen and ink and Carole Kiddie markers on the inside of an envelope

Are there army artists on Instagram whose work captures you?

Jim Yale: @jim_yale_line_art; Rhoda Draws; Richard Thomas: @drawtheline (who has over 1243 followers and follows only me among two other people).

Who would it be and why if you could capture the perfect ho would it be and why if you could capture the perfect subject?

Either a fuller-figured model like Poppy @lifemodelpoppy or the slender but very innovative Francoise @oh.Francois.

If someone was looking to start drawing, what advice would you give them?

Do it every day. Draw and draw from the figure and try for the emotion, not exactness (that’s what a camera is for).

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