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Charl

Charl Agiza

Artist’s Biography

 

I was born and raised in the Mississippi Delta, where my grandmother, an artist, taught me art history and composition when I was very young. Exploring art in all its glorious forms has been my passion as far back as I can remember. My earliest love was dance: at 14 I started my own dance school at a local community center, and by 16 I was acting, dancing, and choreographing local Fine Arts Council musical productions. Summers I spent in Massachusetts studying ethnic dance with the legendary dancer LaMeri.

During that time I also wrote a book on East Indian dance, illustrating the costumes and mudras. I sent both the manuscript and some photos to publishers of children’s books, never realizing that one glimpse of naked breasts on ancient statues would ensure instant rejection.

After high school I went to Europe, studying art at the great museums. I then moved to New York, where I continued my dance studies along with performing, teaching, and working at Brentano’s art gallery on Fifth Avenue.

When I returned home, I completed a BS in psychology before following my long-time dream of learning to fly. In 1986 I soloed, and after my licensing I worked in the field, flying low-level cable and air ambulance. The spatial  skills I had needed for dance and choreography further developed during my aviation work. Flying also left me with much time alone to explore metaphysical ideas and teach myself meditation. In addition, flying not only heightened my appreciation for pattern and shape but also deepened my spirituality through an increasing respect for the forces of nature. Seeing the earth from above, day after day, also profoundly altered my relationship to perspective.

The death of my mother brought me back to making art. I began exploring numerous media—including photography, fabric art, ceramics, painting, and visual journaling—through classes and workshops.

Although my passions for dance, flying and art may appear unconnected, they all require the use of finely honed spatial skills and involve a spirit for adventure. In each I always explore the range in which I am moving (for example, spanning the cultures of Indian and Middle Eastern dance). The difference, as I see it, is that in dance, choreography, and flying, the individual essentially traverses a landscape, making tracks along a path from A to B—tracks so ephemeral that they disappear within the instant following their performance. As a visual artist, by contrast, I have evolved into a maker of more permanent tracks, bringing an increasingly complex vision to life on canvas, so that others can participate in the fruits of my exploration.