Kimberly Piazza is an award-winning contemporary artist living and working in the mountains of Northern California. The genesis of her latest work, “Banksters,” is the increase in the number of women robbing banks in the wake of the Great Recession. “Banksters” consists of eight oil paintings and sixty-two miniature graphite drawings derived from mugshots and surveillance photos of female bank robbers that Piazza obtained from the internet. The miniatures include eight not-so-flattering portraits of some of the Wall Street “Banksters.” Piazza also created a video collage of televised news reports on the robberies, her drawings, and music by songwriter, Mark Perko, as well as designed a line of “Banksters” merchandise for sale (proceeds assist women in crisis).
Piazza recently exhibited “Banksters” at the Highland Art Center in Weaverville, California. The exhibit was very well received and garnered a nearly full front-page color feature in the Sunday “Lifestyle” section of the Record Searchlight newspaper in Redding, California. In addition, her artist talk at the Highland Art Center prompted a lively gallery discussion about her art among the many who attended.
Born in Detroit in the 1960s, Piazza likes to think that her lifelong fascination with news, politics, and current events largely informs her work. The majority of her artwork definitely reflects her interest in issues affecting the environment and the world’s state of affairs. She will tell you that she sees herself as a reporter—reporting on life as she sees it in paint, graphite, mixed media, and sculpture.
Piazza has won numerous awards and her work has been selected for national juried art exhibits by several museum curators, including the Marin Museum of Contemporary Art, Summer National Juried Exhibit in 2012, which was juried by Renny Pritikin, director of the Nelson Gallery at the University of California, Davis.
She was awarded first prize in the Chico Art Center’s national juried exhibit, “Contemporary Woman 6,” by JoAnne Northrup, Director of Contemporary Initiatives at the Nevada Museum of Art. Ms. Northrup chose to display all three of Kimberly’s shaped oil painting submissions: “Free Tire Rotation,” “Double Axes,” and “Relic.” In her juror’s statement, Ms. Woodward said that she had selected works that reflect the artist’s interest in the greater world outside their own community.
Los Angeles art critic and curator, Peter Frank, also awarded first prize to Kimberly’s shaped oil and mixed media on wood painting, “Amphibioso,” at the Chico Art Center’s national juried “All Media” exhibit in 2011. This was a particular honor for Kimberly because Mr. Frank is an internationally known art writer and critic who selected outstanding works from the many entries submitted.
Piazza regularly participates in group exhibitions in her current artistic home base of Weaverville, California. She relishes working collaboratively with other artists to design and install exhibits. She was also manager of the former Five Windows Gallery in Weaverville, where she organized a number of exciting exhibits and events, including “Art Beat,” a walking gallery tour and art talk.
She is currently one of five studio artists in residence at the Highland Art Center. She can be found there in her studio working away, most likely listening to news radio or baseball games. She also keeps a home drawing and sculpture studio along the Trinity River in Junction City, California. Kimberly studied art at Laney College in Oakland, California, and at Shasta College in Redding, California. Before that she attended Boston University and worked for many years as a paralegal, poet, and in rock ‘n roll bands.