New to Baltimore, Noelle Imparato was born in France and has lived in California, New York, and spends her winters in Spain. With commercial painting experience and a doctorate in Mythology and Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute, the artist combines art processes and psychological theories to create unique and personal images.
“I found my voice when I discovered process art painting through Michelle Cassou, while writing about my family mythology for my PhD. Painting was a Jungian way of accessing the unconscious, especially the repressed feelings regarding my early experience with my family. It was a form of exorcism, a therapy. I still work in this same intuitive, spontaneous style, approaching the white page with an ’empty’ mind, but now that I have cleared the way to some reasonable extent, I come closer to the source, and can express myself in an archetypal way which makes my work more accessible to people. They recognize themselves in my language. I am now exploring ways of expressing ‘truths’ which have come to me through various peak experiences throughout my life, and which are being corroborated by the Buddhist studies and meditation I have undergone throughout the past two decades.
“I am still new to the life in Baltimore, but I am very excited by its wonderfully young, creative, eclectic community of artists and all their notable activities. I feel also supported by all the various opportunities the town offers to exhibit one’s art.”
Short Bio: I was born in France, where I was schooled in architecture and cinema. I then moved to Los Angeles, where I worked as a film editor for twenty years. At age 50, I went back to school, earned a PhD in “Mythology & Depth Psychology,” and started a new life as a full-time artist. Now I paint and facilitate pro-bono art-process painting workshops in my studio as well as in various learning centers.
Name: Noelle Imparato
Age: The age of wisdom
Baltimore Neighborhood: Union Square
Obsessive Collections: I don’t like the idea of collecting things per se but I must confess I am attached to the antique furniture I ended up moving around the world—from Los Angeles to France ten years ago, and recently from France back to Baltimore. Half of those items are Mexican rustic furniture purchased by my husband for his offices in Los Angeles; the other half are French country antique furniture which I inherited from my mother. I specially cherish those last ones for their esthetics, history, and childhood memory.
Currently Reading:The Transition Companion: Making Your Community More Resilient in Uncertain Times by Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement. I discovered the Transition movement four years ago in Totnes, England, where it started. It made me realize how wonderful it is to not just complain about the wrong doings of our government but to actually get together in community and start making a difference. While reading the book I am dreaming about how to transform Union Square into a Transition neighborhood …
Coolest Place You’ve Ever Lived: I loved the last ten winters I spent in Southern Spain while I was caring for my aging mother in France during the summers. Vejer de la Frontera, a hilltop white-washed village overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar with the coast of Morocco on the horizon, is by far the most gorgeous, exotic, romantic, charming, peaceful, exciting place I’ve ever lived. It offers a fascinating blend of Arabic architecture with old Catholic Spanish culture, under which traces from the ancient pagan Roman and Phoenician cultures are still visible, with on top of it all the current free-spirited Spanish modernity of a touristic place. All of that with spectacular white sand beaches at its feet. What more can one ask for!
Hobbies or Leisure Activities: I meditate every day and facilitate sitting groups in my house wherever I am. Twenty-five years ago, my life took a different turn when I discovered Buddhist meditation. From being confused and somewhat lost, I became grounded and happy to be wherever I was. I moved around a lot recently and until then, the old saying “wherever you go, there you are” meant to me that no matter how beautiful a place you will experience the same old dissatisfaction of being you. Now it means no matter how dissatisfying a place might be I can enjoy the same grounded peacefulness.
Favorite Food to Eat at Home: The one thing I never parted from is French country food. I love basic, simple food, cooked from fresh, organic ingredients. In winter I eat vegetable soups every night. They are so easy to make: melt the onions in butter, throw in the chopped veggies and boiling water, and cook for one hour. Voila! With or without processing. Now that we are retired, my husband has taken over the kitchen. He is a wonderful cook and a New Yorker, but over the years he has learned all my mother’s recipes during our yearly vacations spent in her house in Brittany, France.
Favorite Food to Eat Out: I have a penchant for Thai food and love Thai Arroy restaurant in Federal Hill. The decoration is peaceful, with Buddhist sculptures and painted murals. The service is wonderful. The waitresses are all from Thailand and serve you with a delightful grace and kindness. And the food, in my opinion, is marvelous. Fresh and spicy, just so!
Favorite Beverage of Choice: All my life I have enjoyed the French aperitif called “kir,” which is a glass of dry white wine served cool with a tiny bit of currant liqueur. It’s a family tradition to make the liqueur ourselves with the currants from our garden, and I am continuing that tradition in Baltimore by getting the currants from the Sunday Farmers Market. It’s easy to do: Soak 2 pounds of fruits in 1 quart of 14 degree red wine for 3 days in a cool place, adding sugar, and turning it every day. Process and strain. Cook by bringing to a simmer (not boiling) for 1 minute. Strain with a finer strainer before bottling. Will keep for one year without refrigeration. Enjoy by a hot summer night!
Political Leanings: I am and have been a democrat all my life. These days though, I find myself on the far left since I believe our government has turned into a plutocracy rather than a democracy. I avoid mass media that publicize the views of their big corporation owners, and I read progressive independent news on the net. I love Truthout. Its co-founder journalist, Chris Hedges, has become my hero.
Favorite Baltimore spot to hang out: Unfortunately I have not had the time yet to discover a favorite spot to hang out in Baltimore.
Pets: I used to have a dog called Rain, whom I loved. Everybody loved Rain. She looked like a happy puppy ’til her last day. My husband posted a three-minute video of her on the net that got nearly 150,000 hits. But we travel a lot, and since 9/11 international traveling with a pet has become so difficult and pricey that we haven’t gotten another dog after her.
Favorite Person in the World: The Dalai Lama. He has succeeded in overcoming national, cultural, ethnic, political, philosophical, and religious borders to become a planetary role model for peace and compassion.
Movie that Sums Up the Current State of Your Life:Ram Dass: Fierce Grace. It can be seen for free on YouTube. It’s a touching documentary film about a man who had a stroke and consciously adopted it as a path to becoming a role model for the aging baby boomers.
Favorite Place to Travel: I like to go to different places. Recently I went to Peru and fell in love with it! I was totally charmed by Cusco, its history, creative arts, beautiful surrounding landscapes, ancient temples, the sacred valley of the Incas, Machu Picchu … I felt at ease with the Peruvians, whom I found very soft and gentle. The whole country, population, and even the mountains are of a scale very human—not overwhelming like the Far East can be.
Mantra or Favorite Quote: “There is suffering” (instead of “I am suffering”).
Born in France, Noelle Imparato was first schooled in architecture at the Beaux-Arts-Nantes before studying cinema in Paris and Bruxelles. In 1973 she moved to Los Angeles where she headed an airbrush graphic-design studio for 2 years, and then worked as a film editor in Hollywood for 20.
At age 50, Noelle returned to school and earned a PhD in Mythology and Depth Psychology. Around that time she discovered process-art painting and ended up doing a series of paintings focused on family myths and early childhood traumas, as part of her thesis. This collection of dark, sexually explicit work is to be archived at the American Visionary Art Museum (AVAM), Baltimore, where it will be available for research and study.
After spending the past 10 years in Europe — caring for her aging mother in France during the summer while spending the winter in Southern Spain — Imparato returned to the US and moved to Baltimore just before Christmas 2011. Today she focuses her life around process-art painting, mostly as a way of expressing, exorcising and transforming negative feelings — personal and communal. She leads process-art painting workshops with that same approach and spirit, in her studio and various Learning Centers, such as Clay Pots, around her Union Square neighborhood. As a newcomer, Noelle finds Baltimore to be a heaven of opportunities for artists. She appreciates the Baltimoreans as people who are widely receptive to art — especially visionary art.
Contact Noelle at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit her Facebook page here.