Stephanie Fitzgerald

Artist Statement

I have always been thrilled by adventures stories, rescue missions, conquering heroes and tragic villains. It seems that I am still interested in these heroic and often heartbreaking stories; stories that explore fear and pain but also entertain and enlighten. I think that these kinds of narratives are present in my dreams, and part of the characters playing within my life. Someone who lives in this kind of imagination might occasionally become stuck in the fantasies of childhood as this often happens to me. Because of these underlying narratives, I am often interested in the bizarre, the marginalized, and the idea of death and dying. More specifically, I am drawn to images from dreams, a sense of shattered innocence in childhood, and objects of my youth. Childhood, nightmares, and death are a common experience for everyone and it is these essential passages of humanity that intrigue me.

I am interested in how the child and the adult intersect, how innately human anxieties reflect the child in us. Elise Siegal, in her essay “The Child Within the Adults,” articulates this beautifully. “For me, the image of the child embodies this conflicted state. I think we express a profound ambivalence toward childhood, both culturally and as individuals. Childhood becomes a kind of screen onto which we project our cultural anxieties. It can be seen as an Eden -- a repository for lost innocence and purity -- and also as a war zone filled with savagery -- and lack of conscience. What interests me most is the way in which this reflects our own inner conflict, of the child within the adult.” (Elise Siegel) This “war zone” that Siegal is talking about is very important to my work, as it is where all of us seem to live out our lives. Each of us has an inner narrative, one where we are constantly confronting our fear, our loss of innocence and longing to find that Eden that we imagine holds all of our hope and peace. This narrative, instilled in us by the stories we read as children, is real to me and serves to tame a bit of the savagery inherent in life. This is the subject I am fleshing out in my paintings and drawings: the child, the adult and all its humanity.