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Artist Profile
The Scintillating Artwork of Sin D. PIantek

by Karen Reider

It was one of those days. Running around trying to get stuff done, everything taking longer then it should. I was feeling a little too serious, a little too rushed. Buzzing into the local printshop, I peeled around the corner and saw this wonderful artwork on the counter. It stopped me in my tracks.

A jet black cat with wise golden eyes, shrouded in a brillant blue cape, candles flickering mysteriously and runes scattered before it, had my full attention. "Wow," I giggled, my mood altering instantly. "Is that your artwork?"

The artist, Sin D Piantek, was watching me, grinning. "That’s what I do it for," she shined.

I began looking at her other "Magical Cats" and before I knew it had purchased two and made an appointment for an interview. Piantek gave me her website to view the rest of her work and I was delighted at what I found.

The "Magical Cats" were just a tiny taste of the world of Sin D Piantek. I discovered she also painted on rocks and had an array of fine art drawings and paintings. I had seen her "rock spirits" in Tlaquepaque’s Impressions some time ago and was fascinated by their dimensionality.

The day of the interview arrived. Piantek climbing up my steps, loaded with her treasures of various artwork, smiling broadly, greeted me warmly.

Instantly she was drawn to one of the river rocks decorating my porch. She stooped to pick it up and spoke to it like an old friend. Bubbling with excitement, Piantek told me she has always been a collector of rocks, feathers and things of nature. Naturally, I gave her the rock.

As we situated ourselves at the table, she set out a large basket of Spirit Rocks. Reaching for the most adorable grey mouse I had ever seen, my attention was beseeched by a hundred alluring eyes.

Tigers, rabbits, dogs, cats, elephants, bears and racoons were calling to me from the overflowing basket. I was laughing, Piantek was laughing, and suddenly I understood what she meant that first day I met her... "That’s why I do it." She loves to bring joy, to make people laugh, to make people feel. "People need to lighten up," she grinned like the Chesire Cat.

As she talked, I turned the little mouse over in my hands and was amazed at the detail. From the spiral tail to the tiny pink nose, I wondered how this ever could have looked like a rock.

Piantek went on to explain how she sees the rock as the object she is going to paint before she even begins. "Just like everything, rocks hold an energy. When I find a special one, it seems to speak to me, to tell me what it is. I bring the energy of the mouse out to the surface for everyone to see."

Growing up in Connecticut, Piantek says she was born with a paintbrush in her hand. Throughout school teachers recognized her talent and encouraged her to do her artwork in whatever form it took. "I was always certain it was what I wanted to do."

Piantek loved designing her own clothes, creating her own styles. So naturally when she graduated high school she was drawn to study fashion design. And what better place to do it then in New York at Parsons Institute.

By the end of the first year, Piantek realized it just wasn’t what she wanted, so she switched to fashion illustration. Soon after, she changed her mind again, this time to illustration. "Art school isn’t there to tell us what to do," she reflected. "It’s there to help guide us along on our path."

After an unprosperous, yet spiritually rewarding time in California, Piantek returned to Connecticut. A lucrative position as art director for the Weekly Reader was the dangling carrot that drew her home. Doing freelance illustration as well, over the next 17 years, she cleaned up her debts accrued in California and afforded her move to Sedona where she hoped to pursue her fine art.

Piantek was tired of illustration, she wanted to break free and express herself with her own creations. She also wanted to enliven her spiritual awareness. What better place to do that then Sedona?

That was nine years ago and Piantek has been riding the Sedona rollercoaster ever since.

She began a series of ebony pencil drawings when she first came here that are so detail oriented, it boggles the mind. Extremely time consuming and full of symbology, they seem a direct reflection of the changes happening inside her.

Like a jewel, Piantek’s life was gradually taking shape in the rocks around her. She could make whatever she wanted of herself. Still the mundane world of survival felt like it was holding her back. Not able to afford doing her fine art, Piantek soon developed artist’s block.

Working at The Eye of the Vortex, a New Age bookstore, she enjoyed meeting the diverse people that passed through Sedona but was finding it difficult to pay her bills. During this time she developed her Magical Cat series, which she displayed at the book store. Piantek loved watching people discover them on the walls and seeing their delight.

A joyful thought poised between her eyes like a point of light. She continued her story.

Her deep love of cats and the poignant loss of Raven, her black kitty who disappeared one day, was the inspiration for these magical creations. Using marker and colored pencil, Piantek tells an engaging story with each cat in the series. After meditating on what she will draw, Piantek studies the symbology she will place in each drawing.

Raven, the black cat I first saw in the print shop, is laden with that symbology. Piantek calls the piece "Transformation." The Runes placed around the cat, including the blank rune he holds, represent transformation. The cloak he wears, depicting a Labyrinth, speaks of Raven’s journey into the unknown.

Symbols are prevalent in all of Piantek’s work, from the fine art pencil illustrations, to her Spirit Rocks.

By this time, Riley, a playful rock pup, had found his way into my hands and heart. I realized that the whole time Piantek was talking, I was petting one rock or another.

Through many layers of paint, she creates dimension that is truly tangible. From the Zen Rabbit called "Meditation" to the spiral kneed elephant "Ganesh," the detail was extraordinary.

A vibrant, impassioned woman, Piantek is a mystic who sees into the heart of things.

Piantek also has created brilliantly colored, mixed media art of unicorns, the signs of the Zodiac, and a playful series of characters beginning with the New Age Queen, Meme Angelica.

What On Earth carries Piantek’s best selling "Egyptian Cat" on t-shirts and sweatshirts in their catalog, among other items of hers.

And, if all this doesn’t keep her busy enough, she has begun artwork for a children’s book and is pursuing having her "magical cats" made into greeting cards, tote bags, cups, t-shirts and pillows. Piantek’s ideas and enthusiasm are immeasurable. Now, all she needs is the money to produce it all.

Which brings us back to the mundane... Purchasing Piantek’s work is as easy as taking a trip to Impressions Gallery in Tlaquepaque or calling the artist at 634-9279 to view her private collection. She can be commissioned for Spirit Rocks or fine art that is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Spirit Rocks range in price from $22 to $350 depending on the detail and time she spends on them. Her "magical cats" can be purchased in 5x7 format, matted beautifully, for just $16 each.

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