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Washington Voices

Artist, musician Annie Libertini loves to inspire

Thu., July 12, 2012

Artist Annie Libertini is unassuming, quiet and inquisitive – attributes that speak loudly through her work, which is mysterious and captures the subtle nuances of man and nature.

Inspired by mythology, fairy tales, history and the natural world, Libertini liberates herself through an array of media, creating stunning works of art that pay homage to the world around her.

“For as long as I can remember I’ve been drawing, painting, gluing, and putting things together out of whatever material I could find,” she said, “It’s my guaranteed path out of whatever frustration, depression or confusion I run into in other parts of my life. As long as I feel like I can create something out of nothing, no other problems seem to matter as much.”

Libertini, 30, grew up in Spokane. At Ferris High School, she took every available art class and played the violin. She went on to the Cleveland Institute of Art and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting in 2005 and then a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College in Boston in 2008. She sang and played the fiddle in an Irish punk band called the Swaggerin’ Growlers as well as in Americana and bluegrass bands. She also plays the accordion and a tin whistle.

Just out of the art institute, she was offered a lucrative job creating murals in a high-end home in Waite Hill, Ohio. The work took six months to complete and includes a seemingly endless forest, blue skies, hawks, a village in the distance and some of its inhabitants, and a flowing river.

Constantly expressing herself through music and art, Libertini found a way around her timid nature as she “speaks” from behind a microphone, a fiddle or a work of art including her latest endeavor: masks.

As a child, she made masks out of paper, becoming anyone or anything she pleased. In college, Libertini’s roommate purchased all the materials to make a leather mask for Halloween and then gave it all to Libertini, who also made a mask and hasn’t stopped.

In December 2011, Libertini returned to the South Hill home where she grew up and where, in the basement, she manipulates leather. Combining her painting background with the pliable material, she creates leaves, feathers, fur, beaks and horns. They are mythical creatures, animals, birds, living foliage or the bark of a tree skillfully formed, carved and dyed until there is no separation between a dream and reality. Worn or hung on the wall, her masks are liberators of the imagination.

“I love being able to inspire and be part of someone else’s creative process,” she said. 

Her masks have been worn in Los Angeles, Scotland, England, France, Canada; four raven masks she created went to a theater troupe in Belgium. In September, she will be the featured artist at Caterina/Lone Canary Winery, 905 N. Washington St.

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