Christina Tedesco, a Somerville resident who suffers from cerebral palsy faces many challenges, but she remains a committed artist. Tedesco, who I met at my usual perch at the Bloc 11 Café in Union Square, wrote on her website that her art “…deals with the movement of the human body through space and time. Specifically it deals with the control between balance and imbalance, control and the lack thereof.” “Control and the lack thereof” are issues that Tedesco faces with her own body, and in her art.
Tedesco works at the “Mad Oyster” studios on Bradley St. in Somerville. She has lived in Somerville for the past 10 years and she is a graduate of Tufts University and The Museum School in Boston. Of Somerville Tedesco said: “ I love the combination of the city and the suburbs. I find the arts community very down to earth here, certainly more than say the Harrison Ave. crowd in Boston. And Somerville is very easy to get around either by foot or bus.”
Tedesco said her introduction to art was due to a mistake. She wanted to get into a specific literature class at Tufts but as it turned out it was full so she opted for a photography class. All this led to her desire to become an artist. And later, the budding artist moved on to sculpture and painting.
As for her disability– it is hardly an asset in the art world. She said: “ The people I draw have no face. I think people often look at my disability first—not my face or personality.” But there are advantages according to Tedesco: “ I think I have to observe more closely than the average person. I have to move at a much slower pace. I have to be very conscious of what’s around me, so I don’t fall. And part of being an artist is having the ability to concentrate.”
Tedesco counts the artist Louise Bourgeois as an influence. She reflected: “ I feel I paint the way she did. She didn’t care about detail, but yet the content is there. Many of her subjects are faceless. She’s like me—concentrating on parts of the body.”
Tedesco continued: “I draw in a child-like fashion. When I attempt to draw detailed faces—I feel they are not good enough.”
Tedesco, who works at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston has had mixed reactions to her work. She said” Some people like it, others find it sad or scary. My new work for instance incorporates a lot of deep and dark shadows, which may off put folks..”
Tedesco has participated in a lot of shows in the area. Her work has surfaced at such places as the Harriet Tubman House in Boston, the State House, and Bloc 11 in Union Square, where this interview took place.
Somerville, Mass. is a home to artists of many types. Tedesco is certainly a unique presence in the Paris of New England.