Story by Sara Paul
Most children would view a bowl of fruit- be it bananas, oranges, and maybe a ripe apple – as food for anything but thought. However, for Zoe Cone when she was eight years old, this staged scene d’art was her first attempt at painting a still life. The simple task was her first artistic exercise in what was to become her addiction, her obsession.
With humble eyes revealing a mature and self-deprecating soul, Zoe recalls that first quasi piece de resistance with a chuckle saying, “It wasn’t any good. I mean I wasn’t a child prodigy or anything.”
The young Warwick artist, who has shown her work in local galleries several times, is excitedly planning for her first show outside of Warwick. Her work will be featured at the Catalyst Gallery, located at 137 Main St. in Beacon, NY, from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4. There will be an opening reception on Sat., Aug. 31 from 4 to 8 p.m.
“Warwick has been a great platform for me to grow. It’s been good practice to share my work with people here I know and care about,” said Zoe, whose new body of work is comprised of mixed media pieces like watercolor, graphite, gouache, and sometimes dried flowers, on hot pressed watercolor paper. Growing up in an artistic family, Zoe was exposed to art at a young age.
“My parents really planted the seed for my love for art. We always visited museums and saw great art. And as a little kid, if I was bored, drawing was always on list of things to do. They really encouraged me,” said Zoe, whose mother, Julie, is a jeweler and dad, Eric, a painter.
A loyal surrealist lover, Zoe also developed a passion for art nouveau after a family trip to Paris, France when she was young.
“I loved the beautiful elegance of the lines, the ornate quality of the works. I loved the Louvre; I loved Monet’s garden at Giverny,” said Zoe.
Born Oct. 6, 1985 in Hackensack, NJ, Zoe’s given name was Catherine Zoe Cone. Her parents favored the middle name, and so, she became Zoe. The family moved to Warwick right after she was born, and she attended Kings Elementary and also Pine Island Elementary Schools, and then Warwick Middle and High Schools, graduating high school in 2003.
In high school, she was interested in baking and pastry, working and attending SUNY OCCC and then SUNY New Paltz. Zoe graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Visual Arts with a concentration in painting and drawing.
“In college, being creative was a great tool to help cope with anxiety and depression, so it became very healing and gave me something to focus attention on in a positive way,” Zoe commented.
She returned to Warwick after college.
“I had family and friends here, and Warwick had become a cooler town so I stayed… I love living here; it’s just a beautiful town,” said Zoe, who wanted to pursue art as a career but didn’t quite know how.
The young entrepreneur is currently receiving commissions for pieces of art as well as working odd jobs in local shops and restaurants. She and a friend were partners at a studio on McEwen St. in the Village of Warwick. She also worked at Wine & Design for a bit.
“I’ve had a patchwork of jobs to make the art thing work, so it really has not been a direct path. Art is a really personal journey, and you have to carve out a specific way to get to where you want to be,” Zoe said, adding that receiving feedback, both positive and negative, is very necessary.
With her commissions and exposure growing, Zoe reflects on, for her, what it takes to be an artist.
“Being good at art isn’t just innate talent… it takes a lot of work, and if you love it and feel you have something inside of you, if you’re not an artist now, you could be in a few years. You have to start somewhere, you have to appreciate little things you do, so you can keep growing,” she said.
The Warwick Valley Dispatch would like to feature local artists who are passionate in their creative pursuits. These individuals can be established artists or those who are getting started in their trade. We ask that if you know of any artists who would be appropriate for these human interest pieces that you contact Sara Paul at email@example.com or 718-702-3091.