Hamptonite and renowned mixed media artist Stephanie Hirsch (@stephaniehirschart) gets candid about her upcoming show at Topping Rose House, personal relationship with the David Lynch Foundation and upcoming plans for the summer.
Stephanie Hirsch, “You Cannot Break A Person” (2023, Meditation Wheel, mixed media), 50 inches
Let’s start at the beginning. Can you tell us about your artistic background and what initially drew you to mixed media?
I always gravitated to the artistic field in one form or another. When I was a child I was a dancer; in college I studied costume design; and at the age of 25 I created and designed my own brand of accessories and swimwear called INCA by Stephanie Hirsch. I produced my line in India where I worked alongside the artisans and learned the craft of beading. When I sold the company in 2008, I needed to channel my creativity somewhere. … The canvas called and beading was in my blood. Mixed media made the most sense both literally and figuratively to express the depth of emotion in the soul in order to illuminate our own inner light.
Where do you find the most inspiration for your work?
I have traveled through the jungles of Peru to the top of the Monasteries in Tibet, but where I found the most profound inspiration is through stillness and silence. I have been doing TM (transcendental meditation) since 2012. Bob Roth was my mentor. He guided me to delve into my inner ocean where all truth, peace, power, inspiration and the answers reside.
Materials used in the studio
Talk to us about your upcoming show, Meditation Wheel. What can guests expect from the evening?
My solo show Meditation Wheel ~ Journey to the Center of the Soul, presented by Winston Wächter Fine Art at Topping Rose House (toppingrosehouse.com), will be my first live solo show since 2019. I am super excited for this evening as it will start with a group mediation led by Bob Roth, followed by a cocktail reception, which is open to the public from 5 to 7 p.m. I am showing seven large-scale pieces, all in mixed media. I have returned to my choice medium of beads and have added other mixed media elements. I find that these mediums convey my ideas most effectively. The reflective quality of beads symbolizes the process of introspection and self-discovery. The act of working with beads also provides a tactile and meditative experience, allowing the viewer to delve into their own thoughts and emotions.
What are some common themes or techniques that run throughout this collection?
My Meditation Wheels serve as a metaphorical representation of a walking labyrinth into self. I appropriate the concept of the mandala and incorporate snippets of my own musings and other writings of self-transformation. Mandalas are often regarded as sacred symbols representing wholeness, harmony and the universe. I fuse my work with personal reflections and insights. The process allows me to express my own self-discovery and growth while also drawing wisdom and experiences from others. I invite the viewer to contemplate and connect with what it means to spiral in or out of control, to become their own inner master. The power to transform resides within us all. The choice is ours alone.
Stephanie Hirsch, “ABUNDANCE” (2023, Meditation Wheel, mixed media), 50 inches.
I understand a portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to the David Lynch Foundation. Why is this organization so near to your heart?
I met Bob Roth when I was at one of the lowest places in my life. I was literally traumatized and had severe PTSD. I was not thinking clearly and was riddled with anxiety. He saw I was in distress, took me in, patiently and lovingly taught me TM, and guided me to reconnect with the truth of who I am. I can honestly say TM has had the most profound impact on my life. I have always wanted to reciprocate the gift that was given to me of TM, and now that I am in a position to do just that, it is my great honor and pleasure to donate a portion of the evening’s proceeds to the David Lynch Foundation (davidlynchfoundation.org).
What does giving back to the community mean to you?
To give back to the community is super important to me, especially to victims of domestic abuse. Unless one has been in this situation, it’s very hard to fathom the amount of destruction victims endure. It’s not so simple to leave or get out. During COVID, I made limited-edition face masks with my artwork on it and donated a portion of the proceeds to women’s domestic violence shelters on the East End. This summer, I will be volunteering at The Retreat.
Anything else we can buzz for the summer?
I have a new studio where I will be having several art tours and I am looking forward to celebrating life with my husband, family and friends.
Photography by: PHOTOS BY ZEV STARR-TAMBOR AND COURTESY OF THE ARTIST