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Meet Elisa Groglio-Narizhnaya of GroglioArt in Santa Fe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elisa Groglio-Narizhnaya.

Elisa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My name is Elisa Narizhnaya, but I sign my art with my maiden name Groglio. I consider myself to be a creative professional who also teaches. I am originally from Westchester County, NY- right outside of NYC, and moved to Denver in 2013. Since childhood, I knew that I wanted to do something creative with my life. I enjoy the creative thought process, making art is something that I NEED to do.

In 2007, I graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, with a BFA in Communications Design, specializing in Illustration. However, like many, I wasn’t satisfied with my first corporate design job outside of school. I was inspired by the amazing teachers that I had at Pratt Institute and realized that I enjoyed the educational environment. I went back to school to earn my Master’s Degree from the College of New Rochelle in 2010 so that I could teach. From 2009-2012, I taught art and graphic design classes at a private, Catholic school in the Bronx. In addition to this, I also worked for myself as a freelance Illustrator.

In 2012, my husband and I left our jobs and sold most of our belongings so that we could live and travel abroad for one year. At the time, I was working on a long-term freelance project on a remote basis, so this was a good time to do it! We spent that year in Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and India. It was an incredible learning experience about myself and humanity in general. I consider it to be a self-study on art and education across cultures. I have been obsessed with travel ever since, making regular trips abroad during the summer. My travel experiences have profoundly influenced my art and how I approach teaching Denver’s diverse student body.

In 2013, my husband and I knew that we wanted to return to the US, but traveling made us appreciate how little of our own country we had seen. Inspired by our time in the Himalayas, we chose Denver to be close to the mountains. We found jobs and started again. I soon discovered the Denver art scene, mostly through the First Friday Artwalks. I had taught and worked as an illustrator for a while, now I wanted to focus on my own artistic growth. In 2014, I joined Denver Art Society, the largest artist’s coop in the Santa Fe district. I mostly exhibit acrylic paintings, but I show some digital pieces as well. There is certainly an illustration influence in my work-I think that I have a distinct signature line. I have shown in several other art galleries, conventions, and coffee shops since. I now have a studio space at Denver Art Society, and think of it as my “home base.”

I have continued to teach, and am currently teaching High School Digital Art and Design Career Technical Education courses for Denver Online High School-part of Denver Public Schools. I design, build and teach the art and design courses in a blended environment (meaning online and in-person). In 2016, I was honored to receive the Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture Innovation from Mayor Hancock. Link below:

This year, I am continuing to push myself as an artist and an educator. I view both my art and my courses as continuous works in progress and am always looking to improve. I have some upcoming shows that I am very excited about, including working on a collaborative installation for Pink Progression with two other creative professionals and showing artwork in new spaces. I am also working on a new Typographic design course, as I feel that this is an important skill for young designers to master.

Has it been a smooth road?
When I first moved to Denver in 2013, I worked part-time as an Art Teacher at an elementary school. I quickly learned that I am much better suited to secondary and post-secondary education. I have really learned to appreciate the hard work that elementary teachers put in! As an artist, there is always the struggle of standing out in a crowded field, making what you like vs. what sells, and grappling with questions like is it possible for an artist to “sell out?”

We’d love to hear more about your art.
My art business is called GroglioArt-you can find me on Instagram, my website and AltPick. Whether I am working in traditional or digital media, my signature line is evident. I express emotions, feelings, and ideas through my line work and dramatic use of form and color. Inspiration for my art comes from moments in my daily life that might seem mundane, but have a dramatic effect on who we all are as people. Most of my concepts are original, but I occasionally dabble in fan art.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I live in Capitol Hill which is a cool neighborhood that in some ways reminds me of the Pratt area in Brooklyn, where I spent my college years. When we first moved to Denver we didn’t anticipate the recent boom, which has made Denver a new creative hub. It has brought a lot of great venues, creative spaces, and life into the art scene. I love living close to the mountains and seeing them on the horizon. One thing that concerns me is some of the industrial aspects, which contribute to more pollution than I expected in an outdoor-centric kind of place.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Photo by Andrew Piper-Colorado Seen

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