Out artist series
The mellow sounds of jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald echo from a quaint and tiny apartment hidden in a modern yet disguised building located in downtown Jersey City. The apartment doubles as a miniature art gallery for local artist Lucy Rovetto. Rovetto, 50, draws inspiration for her art form by listening to everything she hears in the world around her.
“Music is so powerful to me. It gives me energy, for sure,” Rovetto said. “I love musicians for some reason.” Opera icon Marion Anderson received Rovetto’s great admiration. “The things that that woman accomplished in her lifetime were insane. To me that’s the definition of love and feminism and power,” Rovetto said. Her love of music ignites her artistic gift.
Born in Jersey City, Rovetto is the youngest of four children. She discovered art as a child while attending church. “I was in church three to four to five days a week and I would sit there and doodle and draw everything around me,” Rovetto said. “I’ve been doodling and being an observer of people my whole entire life.”
As a child, she carried a sketch book where she claims to have possibly drawn every person in that church. Interestingly enough, Rovetto doesn’t have a particular style of art. Her love of human hands and the shape of circles are incorporated in her work. “Honestly, my work is a response to what’s going on in the world around me,” Rovetto said. “It’s my kind of therapy in processing life.”
Despite creating many pieces of art over the years, Rovetto’s talent is truly based on her particular mood at that time. “If it’s me and my art, I don’t know what I’m going to do half of the time,” Rovetto said. “I never set out with an idea. I kind of let the art lead me to where it wants to go.”
Rovetto doesn’t deliberately incorporate messaging in her art. “I think that all art says something but I’m not trying to tell you what it says because I know what it says to me,” she said. “I love when people walk in and say, ‘that piece spoke to me’ and they have a whole other thing of what I was going through or what I was thinking. That always touches me.”
A graduate of New Jersey City College, Rovetto’s portfolio also consists of collages and photography. Over the years, she has traveled around the globe where she has taught art workshops. Her “Art as Worship Expression” workshop in Canada led to her first visit of South Africa, where she fell in love with the country. “I got off the plane and the feel of the sun on my skin was like something I’ve never felt before,” Rovetto said. “I felt like it was home. I felt like this is where everything started, and this is where everyone needs to be.”
After traveling the world, Rovetto returned to her hometown in 2013 to care for her parents. She made the decision to make her art a full-time occupation when she opened up her art studio. There, she created her most well-known painting, “The Aggravation of Uncertainty,” also known as “Aggravated Baby.”
“I felt like I had this whole wall and I wanted to make something big,” Rovetto said.
“The Aggravation of Uncertainty” is a beautiful painting of a newborn infant that evokes feelings of life’s ambiguity. The cliché of ‘there are no guarantees in life’ foreshadows the art piece.
“You know when a baby is in the womb, it is in a safe place,” she said. “They are getting fed and then all of a sudden, they feel this pressure, they are getting squeezed and they are getting pushed out into (the world). They have no idea of ‘am I going to die?’ and they come out screaming. Honestly that’s how I feel sometimes when there are things in life that we don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Rovetto references the outcome of the 2016 presidential election as an example to further explain the meaning of “The Aggravation of Uncertainty.”
“There are things in life that we feel like it’s the end of the world, I don’t know what’s going to happen, and I just call it the aggravation of uncertainty,” Rovetto said. “I continued to use that image to process in the year that followed (the election), almost to say that in the journey of the baby, it finally relaxes. It’s okay; it’s found its niche.”
Rovetto has had many exhibits in Jersey City and New York. She invites people in the arts to visit her studio. Her work can be found on her website, Fine Art America and through social media on Facebook. By using these internet platforms, Rovetto has opened the door for criticism from her peers.
“Maybe some artists may say, ‘oh you’re making your work cheap,’ but I like work that’s accessible. I like work in our everyday lives,” Rovetto said.
Despite her critics, Rovetto’s art offers a range of creativity that expands beyond the physicality of its existence. Her pieces can be considered the equivalent of mathematical equations that require maximum thought. She’s created her own legacy and artwork that will forever be cemented in New Jersey culture.
“I hope that my images bring healing to people because I know that it brings healing to me,” Rovetto said. “I would hope that it would speak to other people. I hope people felt like I cared.”