Chan­nin Cian­cio cap­tures vi­tal el­e­ments of na­ture, an­i­mals in her paint­ings


Painter and dig­i­tal artist Chan­nin C. Cian­cio is from Ne­wark, Del., and has been lucky enough to live a life fully ac­quainted with wild and do­mes­tic an­i­mal friends — from but­ter­flies, cats, birds, pray­ing man­tises, snakes, tur­tles, foxes and ev­ery­thing in-be­tween.

They inspire her not only ar­tis­ti­cally, but also to be­come a bet­ter per­son, in gift­ing her with the un­der­stand­ing that we and what we af­fect are all part of na­ture, not above it. She en­joys art that makes her feel good, touches poignant emo­tions and in­spires her to act ac­cord­ingly be­cause of it. She hopes her own art ac­com­plishes this for oth­ers, as well.

The good peo­ple at the Ce­cil County Arts Coun­cil asked her a few ques­tions about her in­ter­ests, in­flu­ences and, per­haps most im­por­tantly, her affin­ity for Johnny Depp.

How did you get into art?

I’ve al­ways ap­pre­ci­ated those who were able to re­pro­duce what they’ve seen or cre­ate some­thing that only had ex­isted in their head, so I tried my hand at draw­ing a horse at some sin­gle-digit age. I sketched un­til per­fec­tion­ism, sadly, crip­pled me.

Flash for­ward, as an adult, af­ter be­ing in­spired by sev- Cian­cio said she cre­ates art that cen­ters on na­ture and an­i­mals.

eral lo­cal artists dur­ing art open­ings, I was driven to come home and just “play.” All I had at the time were dig­i­tal means so I started play­ing in Pho­to­shop and found, with­out at­tach­ment to the out­come, much to my

sur­prise, I could not only draw, but paint sat­is­fac­to­rily! This gave me courage to move onto can­vas paint­ing which is my pri­mary mode of in­spi­ra­tion these days. And as it’s su­per im­por­tant to me to honor my spe­cial an­i­mal fam­ily and an­i­mals/ na­ture in gen­eral — so it all be­gan!

What type of art do you cre­ate?

Draw­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, paint­ing, sculpt­ing, sketches de­pict­ing mem­o­ries, food art — what­ever mode in­spires me at the mo­ment. But the sub­jects al­ways seem to be fauna and flora: an­i­mals (pets, wildlife) or na­ture in gen­eral (all things wa­ter, es­pe­cially ocean, forests, wild/na­tive flow­ers). The only hu­man I will bother to por­tray though is Johnny Depp [laughs].

Who are your artis­tic in­spi­ra­tions?

I’m in­spired mostly by var­i­ous lo­cal artists when I go to open­ings. Many I can’t name, but I re­mem­ber styles and works that sent me home in ob­ses­sive cre­ative mode.

If I had to name names, I’d say my fel­low painter at the arts coun­cil, Eileen Felice, as she does amaz­ing work with an­i­mals and peo­ple. I love her use of color, style and sub­ject choices. She in­spires me, es­pe­cially since she is not for­mally trained. I learn a lot from just be­ing around her.

Also folks on YouTube like the Art Sherpa and Paint­ing with Jane, be­cause their lov­ing ap­proach makes be­ing cre­ative fun and at­tain­able for ev­ery­one, and they churn out some great ideas. It’s like a “Paint Nite,” but free, BYOB and way more sup­port­ive and ed­u­ca­tional. I credit them and Bob Ross for in­spir­ing me to just get back into play­ing (if not paint­ing) af­ter a few years of hia­tus. (Yeah, I watch Bob to fall asleep some­times!) What do you en­joy about your work? I en­joy the peace­ful­ness of cre­at­ing. And when things work out how I ac­tu­ally saw it in my head, I get ex­treme sat­is­fac­tion! But like chil­dren, they come into the world how they’re go­ing to be, not usu­ally how I ex­actly en­vi­sioned — and that is the real deal with art. Some­times it’s its own thing, re­gard­less of your aim or tal­ent.

When I can cap­ture an essence of a sub­ject, es­pe­cially in the eyes, I am stoked to have been able to catch it. I love that I make art for me: to feel good, to cap­ture a feel­ing or mem­ory. So if I feel good about it, that’s all that mat­ters.

What is your fa­vorite piece — any story be­hind it?

I can’t say I have one fa­vorite but art is like per­son­al­i­ties, you can ap­pre­ci­ate sev­eral for sev­eral dif­fer­ent rea­sons. I have a few ocean pieces I have started do­ing, which make me happy, and any bird art makes me happy. I have a few paint­ings of my an­i­mal fam­ily, which I love be­cause I have cap­tured some of what makes them who they are to me. Which makes me go all gooey. I have one of Johnny Depp’s eyes and a por­tion of his face that I did, which makes me feel how I feel when I look at him, so yeah [laughs], I like that one. Any­thing else? (what’s next, big news, etc.?) Right now life is up in the air, so I’m go­ing to just keep cre­at­ing what I need to and love to and hope­fully down the line, some­one else will like it too [laughs], and I’ll do some com­mis­sions. One day I plan on get­ting back to my greet­ing cards and pro­duc­ing t-shirts too, more com­mer­cial graphic art stuff and funny sen­ti­ments for those ven­tures. But ev­ery day is a dif­fer­ent day with dif­fer­ent op­por­tu­nity and ac­com­mo­da­tion.

So for now, I’m just thrilled to net­work with fel­low artists. Thanks to the arts coun­cil, I have a place to play, which of­fers me sup­port and ca­ma­raderie, which gives me way more than I can say! Be­sides from haunt­ing all lo­cal art re­cep­tions [laughs] and work­ing on the com­mu­nity gar­den there, the fu­ture def­i­nitely has me giv­ing back to the arts coun­cil in the ways that I can, for all it does for me and the com­mu­nity at large.

Artist Spot­light runs monthly in the Jump­start sec­tion as part of the Ce­cil County Arts Coun­cil news.


The Ce­cil County Arts Coun­cil is spot­light­ing lo­cal artist Chan­nin C. Cian­cio with this month’s Q&A.


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