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  • Writer's picturePeggy Nichols

Artist's Post -- Aileen Imperatrice

Born and raised in Fresno, California, Aileen has shown artistic interest since childhood. Throughout her life, she has experimented with many different art forms, studying formally within school walls or in independent practice and study. Aileen went on to attain a Bachelor of Arts degree in Commercial Arts/ Advertising Design with a minor in Psychology from CSU, Fresno. She also attended classes at Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles. These chosen fields of study give Aileen the unique outlook she expresses in her work.

Aileen has worked in various professional art related fields all the while maintaining involvement in the art community by taking part in several art exhibitions. Aileen continues her art education in many forms today, studying and experimenting on her own as well as learning from formal workshops and from other artist resources. She also credits her life experience, including familial and cultural influences, as playing a large part in how she expresses herself through her work.

Aileen has exhibited throughout the U.S., including at Studio C Gallery, Los Angeles, and in Italy. She continues to receive awards and recognition for her work locally, nationally and internationally. Her work is sought after by collectors and her art and writings have been printed in various publications as well as featured on tv and film. She continues to give presentations and lectures on art and life to organizations, universities, colleges and other forums. Aileen was awarded the Horizon Award of Excellence in the Arts from the Fresno Arts Council in 2018 and chosen as a featured artist in the 2019 LAAA Catalog II of emerging artists.

Artist's Statement

Resilience. Facing challenge is a universal human experience, but how we respond is what makes us unique. Currently, my life appears in the abstract since my husband and I have been challenged with life threatening medical issues reaching their critical level, and there are specific images that continue to feel normal to me. As a visual artist, I have found release through my process while making art, which is why my work is so personal and includes references to significant aspects of my life; family, friends, faith, loss, abuse and my will to continue forward. I do the work for myself. It is a desire to expel the thoughts and emotions I am compelled to express and using the tools of art to create an image that hopefully will resonate with others.

As a third and fourth-generation Mexican-American, my cultural experiences are a combination of my identity as an American citizen born and raised in the United States, and the traditions of my Mexican and Native culture. I have been told one can feel my unique and valuable culturally combined lifetime experience in the cultural expression of the bright and vivid colors I choose for my work.

My work is both representational and abstract. And in these pieces, I continue to experiment with mixed media on top of traditional oils and acrylics; finding a new link between mediums.

Now more recently, having lost my Mother to a long illness and battling through my own Cancer diagnosis and treatment, I’ve continued my focus on the symbolism in my work.

Paper Dolls

Paper Dolls originated from 2019 while I took care of my ailing Mother until her death in November that year. I remembered in the quiet moments how, when I was a child, she introduced me to paper dolls she had kept. It was simple memories like these that flooded my mind as I watched her die. I had planned on creating this series in 2019 from the sketches and notes I had made that year, but then other things happened. It was just 2 weeks after we buried her that I learned I had Cancer, then, following my 2nd Chemo treatment when the U.S. succumbed to the Covid-19 Pandemic and necessary shelter-in-place began. When I finally gained the strength to create the work, beyond the bittersweet memories with my Mom, I realized the paper doll paintings came to symbolize so much more. Both due to my Cancer treatments - Chemo and Radiation, as well as with the Pandemic, we all need to exert caution to avoid human contact. First, for me to avoid any sickness while my immune system is depleted and for the world to avoid spreading this awful virus. The Paper Dolls therefore also came to represent the shield we need to present to the world for protection and the alternate selves we are presenting in the world during this time.

To view more works by Aileen, please visit her website at:

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