ARTIST PROFILE: Pam Selvaraj
Artist Profile – Pam Selvaraj
Meeting Pam Selvaraj is like stepping into a palace of vibrant color and artist composition. Forget that I am in a tract neighborhood of Northwest Santa Rosa – I am transported to a land that is part India, part England and a great deal of enthusiastic American creativity. Pam’s art is the essence of this fantastical paradise.
Saturated secondary colors jump out from the canvas and grab my mind. Abstract shapes hint at biological origins. Everything is very alive. Pam Selvaraj is very alive – and is thankful for it each day.
Pam may have been born in Chennai, India and raised until age 13 in the United Kingdom but she is undeniably American in appearance, demenor and attitude. The transplant from the metroplitan Edinburgh to the rural Hillsboro, West Virginia was an adjustment but as most teenagers, she fully acclimated to her new country and environment. She was introduced to the bold and fanciful depictions of life and landscape of Vincent Van Gogh in high school and wanted to follow in his footsteps. But when it came time to choose a course of study, she selected Biology at Marshall University near her home – relegating art to elective classes and the status of hobby.
After graduation she sought out the glamour and excitement of the big city in Miami. For nine years Pam pursued her career as a field representative for Beckman Coulter, a medical instrument manufacturer, and lived the life of a successful young professional. Art fell to the wayside as she married, established herself professionally and availed herself of the life that Miami offered. She and her husband, Jeff Goodwin, relocated to Sonoma County as a career move and life was good.
Everything changed when in 1995 Pam discovered a lump and was subsequently diagnosed with breat cancer. Cancer at any age is scary and daunting. Cancer in a thirty-something is devistating. Rather than lament her misfortunes, Pam embraced the experience of breast cancer as an enrichment to her life. She and her husband purchased their home, got a dog and reintroduced art into her daily activity. Pam was going to live each day to the fullest no matter how few or many those days were. As a fifteen year survivor, Pam has lived with the uncertainty that is always present but she has used that threat to make her time more meaningful. She does this by pursuing a deep passion - ART.
The story of Pam Selvaraj is expressed in all of her paintings. The colors are vibrant and can be found in the sari fabrics that her mother still wears. Intricate designs in scratch board or paints can be traced to Pam’s Eastern roots. The abstracts have a biological nature that must reflect the technical education and professional endeavors that are a large part of Pam’s makeup. Pam discusses the maturation process of her paintings as she coexists with them before they leave her home. Every piece is a part of her and they, Pam and the art, need to go through a separation process of close association before finding new homes.
During her illness, Pam began taking classes at Santa Rosa Junior College (and like most Sonoma County residents sings the praises of our gifted and giving fellow residents who teach at SRJC). On a business trip she discovered Chaim Soutine, the little known early 20th century artist, whose saturated colors and raw strokes are strong influences in modern art. Pam traveled to the Oakland Museum to study the art of the Bay Area Figurative Movement and the Society of Six. She especially draws on Selden Gile.
Pam shows her art with a group of friends she met in her SRJC classes. Their group is Intertwined Art and they can be found at www.intertwinedart.com. She seeks out inspiration at every opportunity through museum visits, book browsing or art related conversation. She cannot stop producing art and developing in approaches. In July and August, Pam’s paintings will be on display at Frame of Mind. The show is It’s Genetic! and it is a perfect metaphor for Pam’s life and art. The opening reception will be held on Saturday, July 10 from 4pm to 6 pm at 6671 Hwy 116 in Forestville. If you cannot attend the opening, stop by to see the show during normal business hours.
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Labels: ARTIST PROFILE