Oil Painting by Cara DeAngelis


Cara De Angelis was born and raised in the wilds of New England. She has been a recipient of the CT Office of the Arts Fellowship Grant, as well as the Barbara Deming/Money for Women Grant. She has had fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center, the Prairie Center of the Arts in Illinois, and the Contemporary Arts Center in Troy, New York. In 2010 she was awarded full residency at the Terra Foundation in Giverny, France, along with a Guggenheim travel grant. She is also a beneficiary of the Rudolph Zallinger Painting Award.   

In 2011, Cara graduated with her MFA from the New York Academy of Art where she participated in Master Classes with Jenny Saville and Vincent Desiderio. In January 2017 her work “Donald Trump with a Crown of Roadkill” garnered national attention and was seen in Newsweek, NYLON, W Magazine, and was even spoofed by Jon Stewart on the Late Show.

Her work has been exhibited throughout the country, and recently sold at Sotheby’s NYC. She currently lives and works in the Northeast as artist and domesticated creature.

Oil Painting by Cara DeAngelis

Artist Statement

The series ‘Out of Eden’ is about our conflicting desires as humans to both conquer Nature, and to live within it. Is the need to conform the natural world to our modern human society an act of love, or an act of fear?  What does this dissonance say about our fear of being out of control, or back in the wild? The works in ‘Out of Eden’ are neither Utopian or Dystopian, but hints at both as humanity has come to a symbolic fork in the road. Which path will we take? What happens if we don’t decide either way?

The models and references I draw from represent a mix of living and dead, of past and present.  Some of the animals depicted in these works are local roadkill that I collect and paint in my studio, while others are lifted directly from 17th century hunting still lives.  By pairing living animals and humans with the deceased, I aim to recreate the uneasiness and frisson that epitomizes our relationship with Nature.

Many of the pieces in this series are directly inspired by the work of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, whose designs upheld the concept of "living with nature"; not conquering it.  The painting "Out of Falling Water" is a love note to this ethos: it references Wright's greatest masterpiece and holds out hope for the highest ideals of humanity.

Oil Painting by Cara DeAngelis

When did you first begin creating art?

I first began really painting in high school when I saw what my boyfriend’s little sister was making. I felt transported to another world seeing her surreal and dark paintings of goth chicks with skeletons, mermaids, and other teenage dreams. Kind of cringe-worthy now, but at the time it blew my mind and ever since I’m chasing that feeling you get when a painting takes you away from reality. Or starts opening your mind to something you hadn’t seen before.  

When did you first consider yourself to be an artist?

I still struggle with this, since “artist” is so broad, and such a loaded term that people apply to basically everything now. I guess I prefer to say I have a studio practice, and that feels more accurate to me, since I’m constantly practicing to become something better. Or I guess to be worthy of the moniker Artist.  

Oil Painting by Cara DeAngelis

Who or what influences your practice?

My main influence is the relationship between Man and Nature. Our relationship to the natural world is sometimes a great romance, and other times it’s BDSM in a dungeon. Can Wildness and Domestic Civilization coincide sustainably? I’m fascinated when these two worlds collide--I guess that’s why I’ve been using roadkill as models for years now: it’s a literal and tragic result of wildlife and civilization crashing together. And such a strong symbol of where we stand with nature at this point in history. Other influences are many and varied. They range from pop culture (mostly vintage) to the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, to the languid and seductive poses fashion models make to sell us things.  

In terms of who influences my practice, a lot of it is probably subconscious, but I know I’m constantly looking to artists of the past. Recently I am transfixed by Hudson River School painters and the Ukiyo-e woodblock artists of Japan. My friends and other contemporary artists are a constant influence, and probably help to keep my work looking somewhat relevant. Other beings that occupy my mind are dead and godly icons like River Phoenix and Frida Kahlo, people who continue to burn bright despite supposedly resting in peace.  

Tell us about a specific moment in your career that you would consider a turning point.

I’ve recently started experimenting with embroidery thread and combining it with painted surfaces. Also trying to incorporate more flat and graphic elements into the work. These contrasts in texture (thread vs. paint) and form (rendered vs. flat) are adding depths to my work that I couldn’t achieve earlier, and I hope it will continue to bring me to new places.  

In terms of my career, having a turning point is much harder to pinpoint or understand. I think once I was gaining enough collectors that I no longer had work available (or piling up) in my studio was quite a big shift. To have people waiting for what you make next is an embarrassingly good feeling. I hope it doesn’t leave me and feel grateful that other humans would want to live with my work.  

Where would you like to see your artwork go in the future?

To Mars. No, I’m kidding. What I want most right now is more time to make the work. Like the majority of artists today I have a full-time job to support myself, that takes most of my time. Meanwhile, the studio practice is my life blood that I swim to after the day job for air. If I didn’t have this, I’d probably suffocate or drown with unkempt and unfulfilled desire. Painting and creating is like having a tap connected directly to my heart, that sometimes feels so full it could burst. Open the tap a little bit, and let it pour out. Not onto anyone or anything else. Just into this thing called art.


Oil Painting by Cara DeAngelis