Hometown: Fair Lawn
Job description: Full time art department lecturer and artist
Bio: Tracy DiTolla graduated with honors from William Paterson University with a BA in Art History; she
studied studio art as her minor. She has an MA in Art History from Montclair University. Tracy works in
various mediums but is currently focusing on watercolor which allows her to achieve the diaphanous
layers of color that are necessary to set the mood for the series of paintings she is currently working on.
Her background in art history has left her fascinated with religious symbolism and iconography and this
is a constant thread in her work.
Tracy exhibits and sells her work regularly throughout northern New Jersey. She is currently a full time art lecturer at Warren County Community College and online adjunct at Southern New Hampshire University. Additionally she has been curating for the Oakland Cultural Activities Committee and is the co-organizer and curator of Art & Music Event, a yearly group show, which promotes the arts in New Jersey.
Upcoming projects: I am in the early stages of planning large Installations.
Describe your work. My work usually centers on my own internal struggles with various issues.
What themes and concepts does your work generally revolve around? Mental illness, religion,
spirituality and sometimes humor.
What materials do you work with? Currently I am focusing on watercolor and mixed media but I do use
acrylics at times.
What are you currently working on? I am currently working on an installation piece that just keeps
growing; it is called Broken is the New Black and by the time it is complete I will need a ten by ten foot
space to display it the way I want to. It is about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and the issues that living
with OCD creates.
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have? My creative patterns all revolve
around my mental state and the shakier my mental state gets the more prolific I become.
What’s your art background? As is the case with most artists, I always knew I wanted to be an artist
and drawing and coloring were my favorite things to do when I was a child. I ended up studying
art history as my major in college with studio art as a minor because at that time I was completely
enraptured by the lives that famous artists lived.
What’s been happening in your life? Working at my jobs and promoting my art and art shows.
Describe your current state of mind. Ha ha – I wouldn’t even know how to begin to describe the erratic
flow of crazy that runs through my head.
What’s inspiring you? I am usually inspired by shapes and feelings, like Neolithic structures inspire
me because of their foreboding presence. Performance art is also really inspiring to me, especially by
Marina Abramovic, Yoko Ono and Ray Johnson.
Do you have any exhibits coming up/ past exhibits you’d like to mention? I will be at Gallery U in Westfield, NJ in December for their Primarily Red show.
Is any of your work political? No, my work, in general, is personal and about internal issues and
What are you trying to communicate with your art? Each of my works is trying to portray a specific
feeling to the viewer – fear, stagnation, enlightenment, etc.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face as an artist? One of the biggest challenges is finding
the time and resources to create what I envision. Although I do manage paint at least 4 nights a week I am
often without the exact materials I want.
How has the meaning of your work changed over time? Yes, as I grow older I have become more
concerned with my place in the world and what I am doing to make a difference and I think my work is
starting to reflect those concerns.
What do you dislike about your work? I guess what I really dislike is when I have an image in my head
of what I want to create and I just can’t manage to make it happen. Other than that there is nothing I
specifically dislike about my own work.
Which creative medium would you love to pursue but haven’t yet? An installation piece involving light,
sound and water but I will likely never have the money for it.
What is your dream project? My dream project is to turn an entire house into a work of art similar to
what Kurt Schwitters did with his Merzbau but in my own style.
Do you collaborate with other artists? I have not yet but I may in the future. I’m a bit of a control freak
so I don’t work well with others when my art is concerned.
What are a few of your favorite spots in your area? The beach at Wildwood and my own house.
Favorite artists? People in your field whom you most admire: I have so many and I’m
always adding to the list – Mark Rothko, Ray Johnson, Pieter Bruegel, Raphael, Dürer, Yoko Ono, Joseph
Cornell, Chris Burden, Klimt, Toulouse-Lautrec, Duchamp…I could probably fill up a page with names of
artists I admire.
What are you reading? Right now I am reading ‘The Age of Insight’ by Eric R. Kandel but that sounds so
pretentious so I have to add in that I just finished reading the last Sookie Stackhouse novel.
Favorite authors, fiction: Hemingway is my all-time fave! I also love Sylvia Plath, Anne Rice, J.D.
Salinger and Poe.
Favorite comic strips/ comic books/ graphic novels? Wonder Woman, X-men and Spiderman.
What are you listening to these days? My usuals: The Doors, Frank Sinatra and Pearl Jam. I just got the Alabama Shakes album and I love it.
What was the last show you attended? I saw My Buddy Paul at Thatcher McGhee’s in Pompton
Lakes. I cannot handle big, loud, crowded concerts so I never go to them.
What was the last exhibit you attended? The Sound Exhibition at MoMA last month. I am really looking forward to the Whitney Biennial this year.
What was the first piece of artwork you bought/ do you buy a lot of artwork? I bought a small
painting of an angel on cardboard outside the Met about 15 years ago and I think that is the only work
of art I have ever bought.