ARTIST MEMBER Kendra Malizia
I’m a self-taught artist living in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut. I’ve always been a doodler and art lover, but didn’t take my art seriously until more recently in life. I began painting in my late 20’s as a form of therapy and expression of joy. I fell in love, hard, and devoted most of my spare time to learning acrylics. As the daughter of a man who made little figures out of masking tape, combined with my upbringing as a millennial who grew up making wallets and flowers out of duct tape as the newest fad throughout high school (if you didn’t have a duct tape wallet, you weren’t cool), I began using it as a medium in my adult years. To me, it was a very obvious medium to turn to, as weird and unusual as it is to others! After about a year of learning my own craft (About 8 years ago), I was in a brutal car accident that left me crippled. Due to multiple spinal injuries, I lost the full use of my hands. I was unable to hold a paint brush, hairbrush, pencil, fork. I couldn’t groom or feed myself. I needed my husband’s help with almost every menial task. I couldn’t make art. For years I grieved. Without my art, how could I possibly cope? Tape! I don’t need sculpting utensils and it sticks to itself… it comes in every color so it doesn’t always need to be painted. For the next few years, I limp-handedly honed my craft into something amazing. I learned I could literally make ANYTHING I wanted to. My husband and I are huge nerds. We love Sci-Fi and Fantasy movies, shows, books, video games, board games, you name it! When I sculpted, I sculpted for my husband (who devoted his whole being to caring for me when I couldn’t care for myself, helping to rehabilitate me and keep me happy and healthy and thriving). Whether it was his favorite foods, his favorite characters, I sculpted it for him. I’m really stubborn and refused to be defeated, so I began finding ways to use a paint brush by, you guessed it, taping it to my hand! This allowed me to really bring my sculptures to life, but I wasn’t able to get fine details or paint largescale paintings. After a lot of rehabilitative physical therapy, medication routines and procedures, I have much of my mobility and hand-strength back. In May of 2020, three months after starting a new nerve-conduction medication and Physical Therapy regiment, I absent-mindedly picked up a spoon to stir my coffee… I dropped and shattered my mug in shock. I WAS HOLDING A SPOON!? It meant only one thing… I could hold a paint brush without pain (or tape!)!!! I exploded into creativity. I painted that night and every single day, all day after that. I didn’t sleep and forgot to eat all the time (great weight loss program!). The pandemic gave me permission to hole-up and focus my laser beam of energy and passion into learning watercolor and texture art and pushing the envelope for what I could sculpt with tape – incorporating fine details, movement and even installing lights! I’m finally ready to begin showing off what I’ve made. Because of the trauma I’ve overcome, every piece of art I am able to create is not only a GIFT, it is a triumph in the face of adversity. I can’t believe I’m here! And I’m ready.