How isolation during COVID inspired Naples NY artist Kit Corti
NAPLES, NY – While searching his studio one day, Neapolitan artist Kit Corti found jars of Welch’s long-forgotten jelly, the vintage variety. Not being the type to stop there, Corti chose to fill them with soil and plant succulents in them.
From there, it was the old shoes that received the treatment. She discovered worn sneakers with holes in the toes, old weathered leather boots – and eventually amassed a collection of shoes that she turned into planters.
Caring for her husband, Bill Cooper, Corti has been homebound perhaps more than most during the pandemic.
“It’s been quite a challenge,” she said from her home studio, where inspiration during COVID-19’s darker days led her to thrive. She has created a home away from home in her garden, adding flowers to her gardens and, along a short, wooded path, building a sort of sanctuary to relax and enjoy nature. There is a raised platform, a rainbow-colored rope swing, and a large hammock under shade trees.
“This is my place of escape,” she said.
In Corti’s studio with her giant easel, her drawing boards, her pots filled with brushes, pencils and pens, sheets and sheets of paper, and many other things, she notes a particular project: aluminum meal trays that she transforms into fanciful characters. There’s a purple-headed guy with a skinny neck and big ears, a bookworm with bright orange hair, a predominantly pink creature with googly eyes, and more.
Corti is known to use recycled materials. After moving to Naples years ago from Arizona, for Naples’ bicentennial in 1989, she created a giant three-dimensional sculpture called Flavors of Naples. Composed largely of foam board and recycled materials, the panorama represented everything from a 7-foot-tall forest to Main Street storefronts, a soccer field, vines, anglers on Naples. Creek and figures representing the inhabitants of the city. Part of the sculpture remains on display at Brew & Brats in Arbor Hill in south Bristol.
John French, vice president of Brew & Brats, said visitors are immediately wowed by the gorgeous piece and it’s a popular backdrop for photos. The sculpture is specially lit and maintained to retain its shape and vibrant colors. French recalled an emotional moment when Corti and her husband, Bill Cooper, walked in and saw the Flavors of Naples section on display for the first time.
At the Naples Grape Festival 2019, before COVID-19, Corti was at a booth making sketches of festival-goer characters. With obligations at home, she will not be at this year’s festival which takes place on September 25-26. But she welcomes calls from those who want to share ideas and connect during a difficult time for many people.
You reach Kit Corti at 585-402-1202.
Art and the “flow state”
What the Cleveland Clinic says about how art can help you cope with the pandemic:
“When you create art, whether it’s writing in a journal, singing or creating a card, you enter what is called a ‘state of flux’. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, one of the co-founders of positive psychology, describes the state of flux as a period of optimal attention. During this time, you are in the zone and completely focused on the task at hand. You don’t worry about the weather, bodily sensations or any other need. And working on your creation can be quite euphoric, ”says Tammy Shella, head of art therapy.
She says the state of flux is a good place to be: “When we go, we can stimulate our mind, embrace mindfulness, and feel feelings of accomplishment or mastery. “