Meta: ...if you're hungry, rhymes with pita;
think bananas, it's Chiquita;
dirty books, oh, that's Lolita.
Meta Strick is a lifelong artist. As a very young child, she was unsuccessful with coloring books, since she was not inclined to stay inside the lines. Instead of coloring in the "correct" manner, she preferred to draw her own pictures in the blank spaces. Her kindergarten teacher noted that she drew a picture upside down at the request of a child seated across the table.
At age eleven Meta began attending Saturday art classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Each week the teachers brought their classes (along with drawing boards, paper, crayons, and little wood and canvas folding stools) to various galleries to learn about the arts of different eras and cultures, and to explore and interpret those images. As high school began, she switched to Saturday classes across the street at the Art Institute of Cleveland. Six week summer classes were available as well, and for most of this time Meta was enrolled in the figure drawing classes.
Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh was next, with four years of a classical art education. The most consistent pattern was figure drawing, figure drawing, figure drawing, with breaks for on-site cityscape drawing and painting, and trips to the zoo to draw the animals. Acrylic paints were barely on the horizon in those days, so painting classes provided exposure to oils.
The role of an art teacher in the public schools did not suit this "outside the lines" individual, and eventually a career in human services unfolded, first in Pittsburgh, later in Buffalo, NY, and eventually in Vermont. Throughout her working years, while raising a bunch of boys, Meta continued to make art in her spare moments. About 30 years ago she began teaching art classes at Community College of Vermont, where she continues to enjoy the students, their energy and enthusiasm, and the atmosphere and attitudes of this small institution.
While at Carnegie Mellon University, Meta had the good fortune to learn calligraphy from Arnold Bank. She has continued to practice these skills through the years, and often blends calligraphic marks into her drawings, paintings and mixed media works. Having a traditional midwestern youth, Meta was expected to learn to sew. Although her efforts were never neat enough to meet with the approval of her grandmother, and she chafed at the necessity of using a pattern for certain garments, she did manage to learn a thing or two about needlework. Book arts were a natural outgrowth of calligraphy, and Meta has played with the book form for many years. Although neatness counts in book arts for most people, Meta's approach is more free and loose, with the notion that just about anything might become a "book." Printmaking and letterpress printing showed up in her life over the years, and Meta's living room hosts an early 20th century proof press. In recent years she has explored some of the vast possibilities to be found in polymer clay, and makes funky jewelry for herself and friends, as well as artifacts, embellishments and buttons for dolls, books, and other mixed media pieces.
At the urging of friends many years ago, Meta learned to use woodworking power tools, and discovered a new avenue for artmaking. Perhaps because of her early exposure to figure drawing, or perhaps because she is such an enthusiastic "people person," Meta's primary form of expression is the human figure. Her wood and mixed media Art Dolls provide endless opportunities to portray ideas, characters, stories, emotions, memories, and bits of history. These one-of-a-kind Art Dolls may be made with wood bodies, cloth bodies or found object bodies, or a combination of any of these elements. They may have a painted, collaged or carved surface, or they may be dressed in individually-designed clothing. While sewing doll clothes (oh, if only her grandmother could see her now!) Meta occasionally veers off into quilted, painted, mixed media wall hangings.
Veering off, staying outside the lines, believing that, as Andy Warhol once said, "Art is what you can get away with," Meta fills her life with art, friends, family and loud music.