‘To Draw With My Heart’: The Art of Barbara Forgione

Above: Detail from Fiber: an essential character, quality or strength. “The moral fiber of a person’s being.” By Barbara Forgione.

Barbara Forgione, the inventor of Colour Bunz, is a salon owner, hair colorist, mother, grandmother, sister of the earth, teacher, art student, fearless explorer of the imagination, and believer of energy, the arts and the Beatles “4ever.” She’s currently exploring silk paintings that are beautiful to look at or to wear while telling a story of the contemporary human condition.

Forgione’s foray into silk painting happened thanks to Elizabeth Michell.

“While considering future options with time on my side, I decided to explore the loves of my youth: painting, fabrics and fashion,” Forgione says. “Though familiar with fabrics and fashion design, I had no experience with drawing or painting … except painting rooms in my house. I’ve heard, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. How true. Enter Elizabeth Mitchell, silk painter/artist extraordinaire.” 

Forgione continues: “I walked into the studio and wandered around her paintings, amazed by all the subjects, vivid colors, and techniques. Within the first few minutes of meeting, I knew my life had changed. Gracious, confident, yet humble, Elizabeth was as excited to share her expertise as I was to learn.”

Forgione says she told Mitchell of her desire to “learn it all” — every step, from beginning to end. “We painted together as she answered all my questions. She showed me tips and tricks about the silk and the dyes. Most importantly, she gave me the confidence to draw with my heart. One lesson led to a number of sessions and participation in an exhibition.”

Forgione calls Mitchell “a gift to the Tampa area.”

“She’s an honest, passionate, inspirational mentor as a woman, a neighbor and artist,” Forgione says. “Her work is real. It can be deep, dark, sensual, or whimsical; a reflection, a statement, an awareness of life itself.”

Above: By Barbara Forgione. Fiber: an essential character, quality or strength. “The moral fiber of a person’s being.” Fearless at the end of World War II. This fun fashion went from Takeshita Street in Japan to international commercialization. Young fashionistas express, “I can do what I want, I can wear what I want, I’m an individual!” by wearing “Cosplay, Lolita, Gothic, Punk, Ganguro, Yamanba, Manba, or Visual Kei” outfits. “Harajuku Minis” launched by Gwen Stafani are now in Target stores. 

Above: By Barbara Forgione. Fearless ideologies: pro working class, anti-establishment, anti-authoritarianism, anti-corporate/couture/corruption, anti-war, free thought, non-conformity expressed in music, literature, fashion and art. DIY ideal answer to consumerism. 

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