GENA DESTRI KEFFER
Kyle, TX, USA
Gena Destri is a versatile semi-abstract expressionist artist living in Buda, TX working in 2D mediums, navigating motherhood and adulthood while creating a career revolving around painting from life and memories. Destri grew up in Overland Park/Olathe, Kansas, graduated with a BFA in Studio Art from Oklahoma Baptist University in 2006, and then moved to Austin shortly after. Currently, she is active in her local art community with shows, teaching, live painting, and markets.
Destri’s creative process stems from a space of energy that flows directly from the earth and spiritual spaces. Growing up and as an adult, she has traveled frequently to natural areas which have imprinted upon her greatly. She uses memories and emotions from specific environments she’s been in at specific times to drive the story behind her work. “Paint play” and “creating art for the sake of creating art” have been pivotal in informing Destri’s work throughout 2021 and into 2022. Coupled with superb technical ability, the “paint play” has resulted in expressive, recognizable subject matter with an emotional quality to her artwork.
Over the past 15 years, Destri's work has found its way into numerous group shows, online exhibits, and private collections across the United States and Europe, as well as into the gallery of Inspired Minds Art Center in Buda Texas. She has received awards such as the University Outstanding Senior Artist Award, 1st place at the local Art Brawl in 2019, as well Best in Show and 3rd place at the Buda Plein Air Festival 2021.
For fun, Gena Destri loves everything outdoors, moving her body, partaking in intellectual and spiritual conversations, doting on her 2 kids, and experimenting with food.
To describe my work in short, I am a semi-abstract expressionist landscape and architecture painter. My pieces are color-oriented and intuitive, celebrating the spirituality and energies I encounter in nature, places, humanity and in the life-bearing qualities from the feminine. Usually, I work from life, en plein air, or photographs to start with, then finish up from memory in my home studio. My artwork is completed in acrylic, watercolor, and/or oils with possible additions of drawing materials. I gravitate toward producing figurative, abstract and landscape work equally, however, my most recent work has been almost exclusively landscape based.
My recent landscape and architecture art is centered on the land, our connection to it, and the energy we draw from it. I build upon places I have been and the overarching emotions I have associated with that specific place. I focus on complementary color usage and the contrast of warm and cool tones for emphasis.
As an undercurrent to my work, I’m a mother and an outdoor enthusiast. I live in Kyle, Texas, pouring into the art community South of Austin. Teaching art to both children and adults, I keep my desire to “give back” satiated, while also continually absorbing from my students a fresh perspective to bring back to my own studio practice.
Through my artwork, I am finding that I seek to create an energetically symbiotic relationship with the community I’m a part of. It becomes a full, life-giving circle, just like the earth and the many symbiotic relationships taking place on it right now. I create art, the viewers receive the energy I put into it; they interact with it, creating more energy; that energy, and sometimes finances, come back to me, spurring me on to make more work. Again, I celebrate these energies.