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Art & Life with Denise Cerro

Today we’d like to introduce you to Denise Cerro.

Denise, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
Not unique, like many artists… I was happily born with an artistic sensibility. I’ve drawn, painted, crafted and created my way through life.

Possibly more unique is that I’ve been able to spend my life being creative for a living from one profession to the next. I started out in retail display/visual presentation/window dressing when I was 19 for Buffums Department Stores in Long Beach CA, followed by May Company, I Magnin Beverly Hills and Bullocks department stores for over 25 years. It was a highly creative job in the day, creating scenes with mannequins and back drops…fortunately I was then able to take those skills of painting display props and backgrounds into my own successful business as a faux finish and mural artist. It was then a natural progression from large scale mural painting to move onto a smaller canvas, painting representational and plein aire art.

I was in a bit of a slump with my painting in 2017, not feeling challenged with representational painting, I started filling up my creative time with collage and mixed media. Over the holidays, friends asked me to join them in taking an abstract class in San Diego. I was hesitant to drive the 30 minutes from Encinitas to San Diego to take an abstract class, which I wasn’t really interested in… or so I thought.

A year later I am totally immersed in abstract and mixed media on a larger canvas. Having my work juried into shows and winning several awards helped encourage my new found artistic expression. Taking classes and now teaching as well…I’m overjoyed to be part of an artist’s community at Art on 30th in North Park.

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
While I would characterize my art as more abstract, I can’t help to keep a bit of reality in my paintings. Whether it be a piece of fruit floating in abstract surroundings, or a wonky vase of flowers created with layers of handmade and printed papers and paint…I like to be able to recognize something in my paintings. While I’m currently less inspired by representational painting in my own work… I find it very exciting and artistically freeing to be able to take a lemon for example, and add it into any background I want to make up and create… my own take on artistic freedom.

I do love playing with elements of paper and using many different painting and marking tools… I’m primarily a mixed media artist. I also do assemblage art, and think both of these styles root back to my years in visual presentation and putting things together that are pleasing to the eye.

I often try to tone my palette down, to be a little more sophisticated in my colors… though I gravitate more toward bright, vibrant colors… I guess it suits my outer personality. I want people to smile, to feel happy and joyful when they look at my work. I paint from my own inner guidance and intuition which I’m happy to say is more hopeful and full of color than it was in my younger, more turbulent days…this is what freedom for me looks like.

Artists rarely, if ever pursue art for the money. Nonetheless, we all have bills and responsibilities and many aspiring artists are discouraged from pursuing art due to financial reasons. Any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with prospective artists?
Art for me now is a lifestyle choice more than a money choice. In my earlier life, I was lucky to find creative careers that would support me while I dabbled in art. Though during the financial crisis of 2008 when people were losing their homes, and not paying me to faux finish them, I was forced to reluctantly downsize my business and life. Now that I’m in my 60’s and can look back at that time and all the “stuff” I’ve owned and worked hard for, and how that may have brought me pleasure in the moment for a short while… art is the one thing that has continued to consistently bring me happiness.

My advice would be to really think about what’s important, what brings you true happiness… start there. Then work at letting things go that don’t support you in doing your art or whatever your passion may be. Much time and income is spent to get and maintain things that keep us from our true passion to do our art. Let that stuff go and start to move into a direction that frees you up to create… you’ll be surprised at what opens up for you.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
My paintings can be seen at Ashton Gallery at Art On 30th in San Diego. I also work to keep my online presence current with new paintings, small works and assemblage pieces at:;

All my work is available or purchase… the best support ever!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Denise Cerro

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