Primarily, I make drawings, usually digital, but also some old school colored pencils and marker work. Occasionally, I enjoy making mixed media work, too. It’s all very colorful, and is inspired by my professional background in music (I was at one time a jazz vocalist) and the animation business (I was scriptwriter for Hanna-Barbera, Marvel, Jim Henson Productions, and other companies).
2) How did you first become interested in art?
I was interested when I was a child. My artistic father taught me many of the basics. I had other creative interests, too (music and writing), although I almost made a last minute change to art as my major in college. It wasn’t until about thirty years ago that I decided to focus on art. I started by making hand-tinted photographs, something I’d always found fascinating and beautiful. Then came exploring mixed media, abstract painting, and geometric drawings, which became my favorite form of expression. I like the shapes, and I like the repetitive, meditative process of drawing and coloring them.
When I started making digital geometric drawings, I especially enjoyed the precision, which appeals to my perfectionist tendencies. I like this quote from artist Carmen Herrera, which is particularly applicable now: “I like straight lines. I like angles. I like order. In this chaos that we live in, I like to put some order.”
Fun project in my photo: I was one of fifteen artists invited to participate in the first U.S. exhibit of painted wine barrels made for Botart International (botart.org), as part of the collection of Can Ribas Winery in Mallorca, Spain, under the sponsorship of the Minister of Culture of Spain and the Presidency and Insular Council of the Balearic Islands. I gave my barrel a Mardi Gras theme, and titled it, “Tipitina,” after the traditional New Orleans jazz song made famous by Professor Longhair. It’s just about impossible to make sense of the lyrics, but the last lines are: “We gonna hoola tralla walla malla dalla, Drink some mellow wine.”
3) How does art enrich a community, and what are some ways people can engage with art in Burbank?
The shared experience of seeing art in our neighborhood is joyful whether it’s a well-designed building or beautifully landscaped public grounds, a wall-sized mural or a painted utility box. It makes us feel connected to place. One of the best art experiences to be had in Burbank is visiting the Betsy Lueke Creative Arts Center (when it’s open). The shows there run the gamut from local art organizations to area artists to art from students in the Burbank Public Schools. The gallery itself is gorgeous, and there are many classes available.
4) If you could share with our community one thing about art, what would it be?
Art doesn’t have to hang on the wall or sit on a pedestal. I don’t make a distinction between “art” and “craft,” or “art” and “design.” They’re all forms of visual creative expression. Milton Glaser, who created “I ❤ NY,” once said, “What I’m suggesting is we eliminate the term art and call everything work. When it’s really extraordinary and moves us in a certain way, we call it great work. We call it good when it accomplishes a task, and we call it bad when it misses a target.” In your daily life, if you look around with an open mind, you’ll see some wonderful “art” (work) in even the most mundane places.
To find out more about Cynthia and her work, visit her website www.artbycynthia.com, or follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cynthia.friedlob or follow her on Instagram at www.instagram.com/artbycynthiafriedlob.