For October we have one of the first members of the Westchase Artists Society. Olga Fridella a wonderfully talented artist whose work is perfect for people like me, who love color. Olga's work is always a crowd favorite at any of our group shows. It's been a real pleasure getting to know Olga over the past few years and now with her interview, it gives us the opportunity to get to know a little bit more about Olga. So without further delay, here's Olga's interview.
Question: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Olga: I was born in Columbia S.A. and came to this Country as a young girl. My cousin was doing an internship in a Georgia Hospital in Atlanta. His wife just had a baby and needed a sitter. Seeing the opportunity to come to the USA, I volunteered for the job, but...things did not go well with his American wife because of communication problems. A few months after I left the babysitting job I didn't want to go back to my Country yet, since I wanted to explore new things and learn the English language. I endured challenges on my way, but I had a goal to achieve.
Meantime during these months, I had met an older couple in the suburban neighborhood where I would run to after my cousin and his wife came home. They helped with my English and became my friends and confidants and suggested that I should move to a home for young girls. They knew of a place called Churches Home for Business Girls in downtown, they gave me the address. On a day off, I took a chance and hitchhiked to my destination. When I got there I talked to the lady in charge who accepted me immediately and gave me a tour. I was very excited to see this beautiful, huge, southern mansion with a wide staircase in the middle of the living room and I was going to live there with 130 young girls and 5 sweet ladies they called house mothers. They were in charge of everything.
Soon enough I moved. There were some rules to keep but it was great! I made friends instantly. While living there I took a Nurses Aide course at the hostpital and Human Relations, earned my certificates and started working at the Georgia Baptist Hospital to pay for my room and board. After 6 months I was fluent in English. I lived there for 1 year until I went back to my family for a visit. As I was going back and forth to Colombia and USA for a couple of years, I met my husband of 40 years in New York City. We lived in New Jersey until his early retirement. We then moved to Tampa in Westchase and have been living here for 14 years.
While living in New Jersey I took art classes from famous artists. I was a member of several art groups where I exhibited, won awards and sold many paintings.
I have always been restless...searching to learn new things so I took several semesters of non-credit courses, French and music at the University of South Florida. I practice martial arts, play piano, am active at the gym, yoga and swimming. I also manage to take care of my legally blind husband.
Question: What first made you want to become an artist?
Olga: I think I've always been an artist. As a little girl I was already dabbling on the walls of my house and I got in trouble. Art was always in my mind.
Question: Describe your creative process.
Olga: My painting process is very simple. I just follow my instincts, but based on training, each painting is a puzzle and the task of the artist is to find solutions for his own puzzles. Not every painting I do is a success, but I love to express myself on canvas with colors and ideas. When I finish a painting, I hang it on the wall to study it and do my own critique.
Question: Favorite books, movies, website, groups...
Olga: I don't have much time to read books, but I just read the Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewsky. The movies I like: August Rush, Sister Act, Entrapment, and the new Dolphin's Tail.
Question: In ten years I'd like to be...
Olga: Well... we make plans and God decides, but I would like to be happy and peaceful and of course still painting!
It's so much fun to read the monthly interviews, getting to know our members just a little bit better. And of course now that we know that Olga studies martial arts, puts a whole new level of respect out there. Perhaps a new action hero is in the future for Olga. Thanks so much Olga for taking the time to answer our questions. Stay tuned for next month's installment.