Marla Fasano is an artist who primarily works in oil on wood panel. She was born in Oceanport, New Jersey, and currently lives in New Paltz, New York. She received her BFA in Fine Art with an emphasis in painting from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
Marla Fasano creates modern day nature based illuminated icons. She works traditional icon materials such as hand made pigments, natural inks and gold leaf. Marla has drawn since she was a young child and began oil painting in college. It was at S.V.A. that Marla also began working in gold leaf.
“I create modern, nature-based icons with animals as divinity. When I work with illuminated icons I am reminded that nature is unpredictably wild, yet always present. I begin to sketch out a piece by imagining a frozen moment in an animal’s life. It could be a moment of reflection, flight, hunting prey, or being hunted. These are sacred moments in the world and my influences are these natural spirits and the moon, both ever-present in my work. The duality of the sainted halo and the moon are common themes throughout my work.
I begin a piece of work by cutting panels of wood, sanding them and applying gesso. I enjoy using traditional methods such as working on wood panels and gilding with gold leaf, much like a traditional religious icon painting. My first layer is usually a pencil drawing that I then paint with oil paint. When the first layer is dry, I add another layer of detail with walnut ink and finish the piece by gilding with genuine gold leaf, which I find adds a reflective and ever-changing aspect to my work depending on the time of day, the light, and the nuances of the room.
My home in upstate New York is surrounded by rural farms and rolling mountains. There is a large parcel of woodland behind my home and I often hear the yip of coyotes, the hoot of owls and even the occasional bear wandering through the backyard. This connection with nature has deeply influenced my work and continues to channel it in new directions. I have recently begun to explore the sacred connection between predator and prey.”