Most aspiring artists only dream of having a gallery represent them, their artwork being sold, their talent being recognized and showcased. But for local New Paltz High School (NPHS) and SUNY-New Paltz graduate Kaileigh Osarczuk, this dream is already becoming a reality.
Soon after graduating SUNY this past May with a BS in Art Education, Osarczuk was offered representation of her paintings in a Chelsea gallery, Agora, where she has already sold her first two pieces. In addition to gallery representation, the 21-year-old was asked to be part of an International Contemporary Masters book, slated for publication this December.
“It’s a book that consolidates major artists with their bio and photos of their work,” explained Osarczuk. “It’s incredibly exciting.” The book highlights three of Osarczuk’s works, including her Yellow Painting, her Red Painting and a self-portrait titled The Reveal.
The young artist uses mostly acrylic and paints on large-sized canvases three feet by five feet, and considers herself an “abstract painter,” but one that uses the abstract “with intention.”
“First I pick my colors and then I begin layering them, and as I paint, something is always revealed,” she said. “It’s abstract but very focused, and my hope is for someone to be able to walk into my painting.” There is a vivid freshness and explosion of color to Osarczuk’s work that gives her impressionistic subject material a sense of power and intrigue.
“I’ve always drawn since I was a little kid,” she said. “It’s just what I did; and my Dad’s a painter as well, so I think he had a large influence on me, though our styles are very different. We respect and learn from each other’s work.” Osarczuk’s father is New Paltz Police Department lieutenant Steve Osarczuk.
“When I got to high school, their art program launched me” into becoming a more serious artist, with greater skill levels, historical understanding and courses that challenged and honed her talents. “The art teachers and their program at the high school are phenomenal. I feel so fortunate to have had the teachers I did, who really impressed upon me that you can be an artist and an educator and that an art class should be an experience, which they always were.”
Buoyed by the high school art program, her growing portfolio and passion for art and art education, Osarczuk enrolled in SUNY-New Paltz to pursue her Bachelor of Science for Art Education. She points to one professor in particular: Amy Cheng, who pushed her towards the abstract. “I was painting still lifes and portraits and landscapes, and one day she walked up to me and said, ‘Go paint!’
“I had amassed a bunch of paints on sale — leftover house paint — and she encouraged me to just approach the canvas with the paint and the colors and lose myself in it, which is what I did. She was critical, as a professor should be, but very supportive, and could see that I had to let go and move deeper into the abstract.”
Because of the many Advanced Placement courses that Osarczuk took at NPHS, she went into her undergraduate school with many credits that allowed her to graduate a year early.
“Now I’m just enjoying being an artist in New York, working at the Little Gym in Kingston, giving private art lessons and painting. It’s a year where I’m able to pursue my art, but without the structure of school.”
That said, Osarczuk plans to go back and get her Masters in Art Education. “I love Art Education, and I was fearful that I’d lose myself as an artist if I became a teacher, but I’ve had many role models throughout my education who have shown me that you can blend both, and each part becomes stronger.”
Having grown up in an emergency-service-oriented family — albeit with a father who was also a painter and a policeman — Osarczuk admitted that growing up she always wanted to become a police officer. “My Dad was a police officer, my stepmother, many people in my family; and my mother was a nurse for 12 years.”
But Dad, seeing his daughter’s talent for art and art education, “encouraged” her to pursue another line of work. “He said, ‘No way are you going to be a police officer!’” she said with a laugh. Still, like she could not get away from her foundations in art and her passion for art, Osarczuk has always wanted to serve her community and has recently joined the New Paltz Volunteer Rescue Squad. “I love it. I love the people I’m able to work with and learn from, and I plan on getting my EMT [Emergency Medical Technician certification] next year,” she said.
Osarczuk is a young woman who has it all: She’s talented, grounded, intelligent, full of life and passion, humility and caring. To learn more about her artwork, get private lessons or find out when her upcoming exhibitions are, just log onto www.kaileighosarczuk.artspan.com or e-mail her at email@example.com. ++