Glenwood Springs a healing place for artist
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” When it comes to her art, Angela Chagnon isn’t about to hold back her excitement.
A few days ago, she was sitting in The Artist’s Mercantile and looking at all her photos, collages and poems on display. She couldn’t stop smiling.
“Look at what I made,” she said.
Her voice wasn’t full of ego, just happy shock. While she’s always been artistically inclined, thinking she could call herself an artist still feels so new to her.
In recent years, art “became a part of me,” she explained.
The road to this point, though, wasn’t a straight one.
She was born in Indiana, but her parents were incredibly nomadic, and throughout her childhood she moved countless times. She never had a home base, but what she did have was a taste of the world most kids never get. While other children were studying about the Grand Canyon, she was in Arizona, seeing it. When other students were learning about Native Americans, she was in Oklahoma, meeting one.
Those transitory years “opened my eyes,” she said.
A little creative spark started to burn in her, as well. Her father, W.A. Rump, is an artist, as was his mother. Though their creativity’s effect on Chagnon wasn’t direct, she knows something must have trickled down. When her parents, avid genealogists, used to find these old pictures of their relatives, she would pore over them, looking in envy at the different people and expressions.
“I always wanted to be able to capture images,” she said.
At 16, she started sketching. When she looks back on her drawings now, she doesn’t seem to think much of them. They were just little designs, she feels, like the kind of thing that could be on stained glass, her father’s old medium. In reality, they were also probably a kind of abstracted blueprint of the work she’s doing today ” though she couldn’t have known it then.
She didn’t talk much about the domestic years that came soon after that. She had three daughters and set about raising them in Oklahoma with her now ex-husband.
Then the roof caved in. In 2000, her family went through the kind traumatic experience most people could never imagine. She didn’t want any specific details about it written about here, as she’s still feeling the effects of that time. It was amidst all that pain and disbelief that she turned to art again. Suddenly, though, it had an importance to it she’d never felt before.
In her words, “Somehow, it just had life.”
She then started an artistic exploration that probably won’t ever end. She would allow herself to get angry and then would put it in a poem. She’d feel torn up and then would channel that into a drawing. It wasn’t enough, though. She wanted more than the scenery and culture Oklahoma could offer.
So, in April of 2006, she moved to Glenwood. It’s not like she’s ever going back.
“Colorado has touched my heart deeply,” she said. “It opened up an area I felt was suppressed in Oklahoma.”
She called this area “such a healing” place a moment later.
Her art is an integral part of that process. In the years since she moved here, she’s started carrying a camera with her wherever she goes. Instead of dwelling on everything that’s happened in her life, she gets to worry about lighting and color and special moments in time. By seeing the world through her lens, she’s able to jump outside herself. Now that she knows how right that feels, she also knows she doesn’t want it to stop.
“We, as a people, as a society, take things for granted. We don’t take notice of what’s around us,” she said. “I try to look for unusual things, things people wouldn’t normally look for or overlook.”
As she spoke, she periodically walked up to her pieces and adjusted them, made sure they were stuck on the wall good and tight. There were close-up shots of flowers and old mining ruins, as well as more traditional landscapes, all shot in bright, crisp color. Her graphic collages showed off her photographs as well, though they were twisted in new shapes, creating pieces with a strong environmental message. More than a finished, polished collection of art, it looked like a journey ” even though she has no idea where it’s taking her.
She only knows she has all these images and ideas in her head. Her art is where that gets to all come out.
“I love it,” she said, of her work. “I absolutely love it.”
No wonder she sounds so excited.
Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111
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