The various arms of my creative practice all extend from a singular place of wanting to claim space for the female bio-psycho-spiritual process. Dancing in between research on neurology, theology, and feminist theory, my goal is to speak directly to places of overlap in regards to mental health, culture, creativity, and spirituality. Many of us dwell within these overlaps, attempting to reconcile personal experiences with external systems of understanding ourselves in the world.
Aesthetically, I use a lexicon of colours and shapes to create narrative dwelling places for the figures I paint. The “settings” of my figures are spatially complex, but they are not the tangible world. Since the meanings of the elements in my lexicon are highly personalized, they allow me to engage in a meditative practice during creation of the work. Alongside this personal meditative engagement, I’m attracted to the idea of creating diagrams of mental processes and spiritual practices, allowing the viewer to become aware of the processes within their own bodies. It’s important for me in my portraiture, which at this point is solely of women, to combat the male gaze by refusing to acknowledge the presence of the viewer through eye contact. When my figures have their eyes closed, their attention is directed inward. The viewer is invited to relate, to observe, but not to consume the female figure.
Catalina Bellizzi-Itiola (CATAPHANT) is a multi-disciplinary artist based out of San Diego. She graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Art Education. She taught art in the Chicago public schools for several years while serving as creative director at a small church in Chicago and producing music. After moving to San Diego, CATAPHANT circled back to visual art full time. She now designs book covers, album art direction, and sells her own handmade products online.
Catalina is half-Colombian, half-Argentine and uses the cultural complexity of her upbringing to bring nuance and a sense of “inbetween-ness” to her work. Growing up in the Midwest, where yet another culture (this time, one of self-repression and homogeneity) was lived out, Catalina’s art practice thrived on seeking liberation and transcendence, both physical and spiritual. The spiritual themes within her work are closely tied to ones of justice, in particular for women of colour.
A multi-disciplinary artist and avid collaborator, Catalina (often under the name CATAPHANT) has worked with Ohmega Watts, Humble Beast Records, Mellow Orange Records, national recording artist GAWVI, author Christopher R. Williams, restaurant Concept 278, and various others.