Debra Cook Shapiro lives and works in San Francisco, CA. Debra found the courage to take the leap of faith necessary to move from midwest to San Francisco to become an artist and to travel. She studied painting at the Istituto Lorenzo di Medici (Florence, Italy), Istituto per l'Arte e il Ristauro (Florence, Italy), the University of California, Berkeley Post-Baccalaureate program in Painting (San Francisco, CA), and she also studied painting at San Francisco Art Institute and Academy of Art College. Shapiro had solo exhibitions at the French Consul Residence, (San Francisco, CA), Ice House Gallery, (Petaluma, CA), and Summerhouse, (Mill Valley, CA). Her group shows have been at Palette gallery, The Office of the California State Senator, Scott Weiner, 111 Minna Gallery, Mirus Gallery and Helvella Gallery. Her work is in domestic and international collections. Debra has worked in studio spaces at the ICB in Sausalito, Electric Works and Arc Studios and Gallery, in San Francisco.
Debra now works from her home studio on Russian Hill and takes frequent walking breaks with Julian, her poodle and soulmate.
"Fetes and Celebrations", my new work, has been inspired by my recent emotional reactions at social gatherings. The profound importance of connecting with friends and family at their special events became more clear to me when I observed my strong feelings of joy and a palpable expansion of my heart on these occasions. Showing up for our loved ones at their special events is always an honor. It has been a part of all civilized cultures to bear witness to the rites of passage within the communities.
When formal or festive attire is requested, guests temporarily leave their ordinary existence and present the elevated version of themselves, as in alchemy when a base metal is turned into gold. In alchemical processes a catalyst needs to be present to cause transformation to occur.
Gathering the dearest people and creating a special ambience can ignite a change in the lives of the hosts and the attendees. Attending celebrations encourages personal growth and self-discovery, as well as celebrating the life-changes with the people being honored and celebrated.
The clear-cut collages distill the compositions that will be further explored in paintings of vibrant costumes balancing the bright skies and lawns that are often the venues. I have been forever enchanted by the French Rococo painters and I admit to bingeing the delicious Netflix series, Bridgerton. Modern celebrations are an idyllic escape from reality if even for a fleeting day in a lifetime. I create a fantasy world based on these special occasions that provide a brief but unforgettable escape from reality.