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October 12, 2016

Home is Where the Art is – A Conversation with Sandi Neiman Lovitz

About the Author
Elizabeth Roan

See the exhibition here


There is something to be said about the universe: it definitely knows your name. And there is certainly something to be said about anyone who sees value in life’s minutiae, only to realize, much later in one’s life, the momentous metaphors they serve to be. InLiquid Artist member Sandi Neiman Lovitz  is undoubtedly one of these people. With the diligent patience of a craftsman and the vibrant fervor of an artist, Sandi stays on track in her luminous path of self-discovery. Painter, designer, teacher—even an insurance agent once upon a time ago—a wife and mother, Sandi keeps going. “I do it out of love,” she tells me; a virtue all artists (and humans) must keep on the front-burner. As we sat at the cafe in the basement of Park Towne Place’s South Tower, we discussed the myriad of accomplishments in her life and the positive nature art has brought to her life and family. Curiosity, compassion, and drive, are the values she deems as tools. These tools are what build a home.
Currently installed on the eighteenth floor of Park Towne Place’s East Tower, Sandi’s work is part of Apartment Walks, an exhibition curated by InLiquid in collaboration with DesignPhiladelphia and part of Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST). Combining the elements of gallery and showroom-inspiration, InLiquid artist members and distinguished designers demonstrate their visions of “home”—this year’s chosen theme for DesignPhiladelphia. Sandi’s work flourishes inside one of these apartments.
In room 1804, you enter to an exquisite modern-design, open-concept apartment where her paintings boldly hang on their walls giving the illusion of paint dripping off the canvas—a signature element of the composition. Miniature sculptures also spilled onto with acrylic paint, sit on the built-in bookshelves; and furnished throughout the apartment are various InLiquid Artist Chairs.
Sandi’s technique has gone through phases during her artistic career; bursts of primary and tertiary colors amidst a stark white background being the key element and the leading curiosity throughout her journey. Currently she explores the technique of acrylic pours and manipulation. In her artist statement, she says everything goes back to her initial fascination with color as a child. She says, “I was a very little girl when I became excited about art. My first box of crayons was the most precious gift I have ever been given. The colors around me, from the blue of the sky, the first robin’s egg that I saw, to the rainbows on an oil slick pavement, still, to this day, provide me with a huge vocabulary to express myself.” When asking her about the actual box of crayons transitioning into a proverbial box, she tells me of the childhood anecdote that started it all.
“My dad had lifted me up me to see the nest in our little tree. They had just bought a house, a little row home. It was the first time I saw a robin’s egg…I was elated when I saw that color for the first time; and I don’t remember too many things, but I will never, ever forget that feeling of seeing that egg, and that color blue—it blew my mind. Another thing that blew my mind; I would sneak into my mother and father’s bedroom so I could I pick my mother’s crystal perfume bottle up and look at it from the window, aim it at the sun and see a kaleidoscope of colors—and she would yell at me because I wasn’t allowed to touch it!”
We laugh.
Sandi continues, “Colors just always have blown my mind. There was always a wonderment about it. And my art addresses that.”
She continues to talk about the themes in her work and how each phase lead itself to the next. Like most women of her generation, she tells me, the journey of her career began as an art teacher. But that inherent trait of curiosity never left. One day, she remembers, she felt the desire to write in cursive with white paint onto surfaces, this lead to her ten-year theme of free style hand lettering on windows, tractor trailers, and wood. Gaining public exposure, her surface graduated onto painting directly onto clothing which retailed throughout Philadelphia’s boutiques; which inevitably lead to her line of hand-painted furniture that was represented by several galleries. Briefly she spoke about the time she resorted to a life in marketing—insurance policy marketing. When asking if she felt this was a divot, she saw it as a catalyst. “It’s just something I had to do, but my art always came first.” she explains.
What are other catalysts? I ask. She tells me she wasn’t always as brave as she is today, her courage was something built momentously one life-event at a time. The passing of her mother, being the exact moment she realized that painting out of joy and love, instead of exposure, to be her key priority in life. Exposure is just the benefit of doing it out of love, she explains. Her journey through life comes full-circle as she spoke joyously on the great deal she got on her two sons: one son being the sensitive artist, and the other the sensible businessman; the best of both worlds. I observe an immense sense of gratitude she expresses through her art and in her presence as she tells me, “I’m telling you, the universe works in weird knows your name.”
You can see Sandi Neiman Lovitz’ work at Apartment Walks, located on the 18th floor of the East Tower of Park Towne Place from now until October 16th. This event is in collaboration with DesignPhiladelphia and Philadelphia Open Studio Tours (POST).
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