Art of Depression

Stephanie Serpick

By Joseph Camel Jr.

Artist Stephanie Serpick debuted her latest work “A New Fall” at the Fine Arts Gallery. The exhibit was inspired by Serpick’s depression from loss and frustration.

Serpick gave an Artist Talk on Feb. 1 to an audience of College of Southern Nevada students, art enthusiasts and members of the community. A reception followed with 58 attendees, which was the largest turn out Jeff Fulmer, coordinator and adjunct instructor in Department of Fine Arts, has seen at any of the art exhibits hosted at the College.

During the Talk Serpick shared details on her latest work. She explained how she is a fan of Dutch and Spanish still-life paintings, which is the reason she does her work in that style.

“A New Fall” collection displays great detail with simple colors, black backgrounds with bed sheets that give the art works its realistic approach.

“I have always been fascinated and influenced by artists who use fabrics that make them seem physical,” Serpick stated. That is one reason she used bed sheets that looked 3-D.

Serpick explained how the work brings a combination of emotions, stating, “I think there is something poignant about them. I see them and I feel the sense of loss and sadness. They are a reminder of the emotions that prompted me to make them.” Serpick is referring to the loss of her father. When Serpick’s father passed she stated she retreated to her bed feeling a sense of sadness and loneliness, which she demonstrates in her latest work.

Rebecca Lemperle, who is a fan of Serpick’s work and attended the special event, said “A New Fall” collection inspires her on many levels. “The work has great detail and it gives me a sense of emptiness and sorrow she went through,” Lemperle said. She also explained how “A New Fall #1” is the piece she liked the most because of its simplicity though it contains a lot of detail. “I can relate to it because I see my bed. I have struggled with depression and anxiety myself and like Stephanie, I often turned to my bed as a place of retreat and comfort.”

“My ultimate goal as an artist is to be able to express myself through my work and create work that people can relate to and feel inspired by,” Serpick said. It’s obvious she had that effect on Lemperle.

Jeremy Ortiz, a CSN student, stated, “I actually thought they were photos. That’s what caught my attention for me to check out the work. Once I saw they were paintings, I was impressed.”

The fascination of Serpick’s details in the paintings grabbed Ortiz’s attention. He explained how he likes the negative background the artwork displayed but the white-colored bed sheets is what made it outstanding giving it realism.

The sense of struggle and depression in Serpick’s work is relatable to many. Fulmer said, “Who hasn’t had a day where they just don’t want to get out of bed?” Fulmer thinks most people can relate to being grieved, feeling alone, depressed or isolated from time to time. Those theme arise in the artwork.

Fulmer explained how Serpick’s work is simple but powerful. “They show amazing attention to detail while exploring rich nature of paint and surface,” Fulmer said. “Stephanie’s artwork is modest in size but has the ability to draw the viewer into an intimate place like few larger artworks can.” He also explained how her artwork is a great example for students interested in developing fundamental foundational skills in painting, drawing or design.

Fulmer hopes CSN art students will capture a lot of skills and techniques from viewing Serpick’s art. “Stephanie’s work was a great fit for this program because we are building observation skills in each student so they can do that with their own work,” Fulmer said. “You can see a lot of visuals in Serpick’s work. So we had her come in so students can see that on hand with her in person.”

Serpick explains how her art is very therapeutic and soothing for her to look at. “They are a visual representation of what I felt and they provided a measure of relief to have processed these feelings in this way.”

Serpick is still working on paintings related to “A New Fall” collection and feels she is still processing the ideas and emotions that lead to her to start the collection. “This work has been so satisfying to create and while I think it needs to go to the next step, there’s still more that I need to express,” she added.

To see more of Serpick’s art see her website

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