Unlearn What You Have Learned
By Jillian Locke
“I’m really interested in things the general public finds unattractive, like carnival freaks. I have an unhealthy obsession with Siamese twins,” says Heather Rose, a Meredith, NH transplant now residing in Fitchburg. “I did a whole show on carnival freaks. I like to make them appear attractive. When I see things like that, I see the bond people have ~ it’s both beautiful and twisted.”
“Beautiful and twisted” are two elements at the forefront of Heather Rose’s work. There’s a unique poignancy to the expressions and poses of her subjects that creates a permanent imprint. Maybe it’s the raw, unfiltered lens that Heather Rose seems to see her subjects through, seeing the twisted beauty and presenting a completely genuine interpretation. Her images are part illustration, part portraiture, and 100% imagination.
Above all, Heather Rose loves to draw. “I try to make myself do more interesting angles ~ I like very sensual images ~ beautiful women being sexy. I love to draw.” One glance at her portfolio and this attraction is very evident, as are her soft yet rugged lines, a combination that continues the beautiful and twisted theme, which is further illustrated through her unique manipulation of mediums.
“My favorite medium is acrylic, but I usually water it down so it’s like water color, but not quite. I don’t use any mediums the way you’re supposed to. I don’t like it. It’s like I learned how to use them properly in school, and now I’m un-learning,” she laughs. The Montserrat graduate strays off the path of traditional mediums, a trend that started with a mixed media professor. “I took a class with Barbara Moody, and she gave us an assignment that forced us to use things other than paints and brushes. I walked around Home Dept and found this tar, and used wooden sticks to smear it onto the canvas and carve images into it. I used to have to scrub my hands with turpentine until they bled to get it off. I always had black hands in college.”
Heather Rose seems to have brought the art with her to Fitchburg; in the last three years, the Rabbit Hole, the Boulder Art Gallery, and the Umbrella Gallery have taken root. The Rabbit Hole is the most frequent host to her works and shows. “I try to get everyone to submit work; I’m trying to help people in my situation get exposure. When I was in high school, I didn’t have anyone saying they would hang my work anywhere, so I want to give the younger artists that opportunity.” Another local artist who has utilized this opportunity is photographer Robert Varisco, another Pulse favorite.
Heather Rose will be hosting a Poster Art show in September, within the first two weeks of Fitchburg State College students returning to campus. “All the art will be the original work of local artists, printed on 18 x 25 posters, and all for sale for $20. We want the students to have more options, and we’re hoping they’ll take an interest in some local artists.” Heather Rose can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for submission information and all that is art…and general tomfoolery.