A painter and a poet: a provocative collaboration

By Morgan Rosenberger
Staff Writer

A multi-media collaboration has arrived in Prescott, Ariz. with the painting and poetry of Reagan Schmissrauter and Lauren Antrosiglio. The exhibit, Schmissrauter’s second show in Prescott, is currently on display at the Eye on the Mountain Gallery.

The project shows the poems by Antrosiglio which inspired the paintings of Schmissrauter. The paintings feature bright colors and vibrant scenes that represent what Schmissrauter felt from the poems. His use of halos and auras around most of his subjects gives them an ethereal feel, reminding one of a distant dream with amplified saturation. He uses a mix of high-quality oil paints and metallic paints, which give the colors extra intensity.

The project started as an independent study designed by Antrosiglio for her Master’s program at Prescott College. She sought out Schmissrauter for a collaboration, as she was familiar with the quality of his work. Schmissrauter was planning for a show, but did not have a series prepared yet. After he accepted her proposal, Antrosiglio supplied Schmissrauter with some old and new poems for him to consider as he designed his paintings.

Antrosiglio, Assistant to the Dean at Prescott College, began writing when she was 10 years old. She has been published in three literary journals in the U.S. and internationally. Antrosiglio describes her own work as “soulful, beach style” poetry that relates to Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski. Seeing her poems in visual form, Antrosiglio said that some pieces turned out differently than how she would have imagined them, while others embodied exactly what she envisioned.

Schmissrauter described Antrosiglio’s poetry as “incredible work, truly incredible,” appreciating the universal ideas in her work and the authentic human feelings that can “create a shift in consciousness.” Schmissrauter said that Lauren’s poetry has given him a whole new perspective on art. This project has led to a great shift in his development as a painter, and given new meaning and depth to his work. When discussing the use of Antrosiglio’s poetry for inspiration, Schmissrauter said, “I kind of feel like it’s cheating, because all of the imagery and story line has already been created for me … It’s the perfect thing to have when an artist is experiencing a block in creativity.”

Schmissrauter has been making art his whole life, and said, “My parents raised me right.” He then quoted Pablo Picasso: “Every child is an artist; the problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Schmissrauter spoke about his own work and how classical training, his main area of study, was not for him. Although inspired by traditional Renaissance, Iconic Christian and Tibetan Buddist artworks because of their use of halos and auras, Schmissrauter trusts his own observation of life when painting. “I feel like I have finally dropped the judgments, rigid rules, and conformity that plagues Western art,” he said.

Schmissrauter initially rebelled against that style by painting bright blue and orange lines around his still-life pieces. During his studies, though, he toned down his rebellion, out of respect for his teachers. Nonetheless, he continues to see 20-foot-high fields of color, auras, and halos around people and trees. “There is so much more than what the eye can see, and that’s what I’m trying to paint. I think I’m getting closer with this body of work.,” he said in reference to the exhibit Reagan said in reference to exhibit.

The Space Between Words: A Collision of Art & Poetry, on display at The Eye on the Mountain Gallery, 117 N McCormick St., is open Wed-Sun, from 11-5 p.m. The exhibit will also be featured for 4th Friday Artwalk, on March 25, from 6-9 p.m.

This article appeared in the March 2011 print edition of The Raven Review.

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