We had the good fortune of connecting with Teresa Anne Volgenau and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Teresa Anne, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE.
My artwork of contemporary romance may be heavily layered with intricate details, but when it comes to powerful phrases or mantras to help me keep on track, I keep it pretty simple. A consistent favorite of mine is “Happiness is a choice.” Four words that instill my individual rights as a co-creator on this planet, giving me the power to choose and maneuver through this labyrinth called life as I see fit. The same four words dig my roots down deep into the earth as well as launch me up into the clouds in regard to my overall well being and understanding of limitless possibilities. Life is good, so choose it. No. “Happiness is a choice” is not a means of putting on rose-colored glasses and pretending there is no injustice or muck in the world. “Happiness is a choice” is about taking action. “Happiness is a choice” is about GRATITUDE for all the people, things, and experiences around us that work and are beautiful. As well as gratitude for all the challenging experiences that force us to broaden our perspective. My advice is to be very intentional about bringing happiness (whatever it may be, big or tiny) fully into your heart. Love it. Celebrate it. Nurture it. Then thrust it out into the world to be felt and absorbed by others.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I firmly believe that our greatest challenges will somehow and in someway offer us our most unique and loving gifts. And I am certainly not the first to acknowledge a broadened perspective and a shift in artistry after a serious life-threatening experience.
On October 15th, 2020, I will celebrate my two-year anniversary of receiving a 2nd lease on life. Without going into great detail, my personal story of survival includes an attack from Peritonitis during foreign travel (please take note that the travel did not contribute to my illness), life-saving surgery in a former Croatian military hospital built in the 1860s, more quality time on a ventilator, and in the ICU than anyone would prefer, and nearly a month later having dissolved down to the figure of a paper-doll, I was finally able to fly back home to Colorado. Whew. Much of the following year was dedicated to my recovery and getting my insides and outsides fully vibrant and strong again.
As eager as I was to quickly return to my art studio to paint and to the dance studio to coach my dancers, my brainstem and creativity suffered along with my physical body from the traumatic experience. I was foggy and weak, and simply breathing normally continued to be a challenge for a number of months. My ability to focus was particularly troubling. I recall catching myself with a paintbrush in hand staring at my canvas unsure if moments or hours had passed. I did not feel confident enough to launch myself into new works so I dedicated myself to reworking paintings from the previous three years. This slowdown turned out to be quite a blessing as it raised the bar for all my future works. It was during this dramatic pause that I dove deeper to create more layers and intricacies to my images, committed myself emotionally with each stroke, and began setting powerful intentions for the abundance of love, light, and health.
My artworks are recognizable by my attention to create unique and whimsical detailing that often beckon the viewer to step forward and come closer. However, if you are sensitive and/or linger for a spell, you will likely feel the vibrational pull from my expression of the energetic field and the subconscious. Aside from making beautiful artwork to adorn your walls, my pieces are packed with intentions from Source to aid in the ascension of all those that come near to view and absorb it.
I continue to create artworks that strike my fancy or pull from my past, however, I am becoming increasingly drawn towards opportunities to paint commissioned pieces. I find it fulfilling to work more directly and intimately with my patrons. The final artwork is not about me because I have become merely a vehicle for its execution. By getting to know the investor, understanding their dreams, and desires, as well as recognizing what may be lacking or imbalanced in their lives, I gather information and connect with Source for the overall image and intention. By visiting and feeling the space where the painting will reside, I am able to address even more. I then take the necessary time to meditate on all the important puzzle pieces involved. Through these steps, I aim to create paintings that will set seeds of change, growth, enlightenment, and ascension. ‘To be of service through my artwork’ has become my newly found passion within my artistic calling.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Hey friends! You say you are visiting Denver for a handful of days? Fantastic! Welcome, welcome to the glorious Mile High City. I’ve got a fab ‘must-see and must-do’ list all lined up. My itinerary is heavy on art and culture, and no suit jacket or high heels are required. It’s ‘casual-Colorado,’ after all.
First things first, plan a visit to TAVolgenau Art studio. My newest space for painting, as well as coaching dancers, is based in the historic neighborhood of Montclair. Aside from seeing my current works in progress, you can rustle through available original works and those that are in-between installations.
Next, we will venture to nearby Lowry, a former airforce base that is now filled with lush parks, playgrounds, and outdoor concert venues. Perfect for picnics and cloud-gazing after gathering artisan eats and goods from the unique Stanley Market Place. Take note: Stanley Marketplace houses within The Hangar a one-of-a-kind Christmas art experience that will inspire individuals of every age. Even if you are more of an Ebenezer during the holiday season, don’t miss an opportunity to attend ‘Christmas Camp’ creatively executed by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.
In the evening, watch the sunset roll down into the Denver cityscape from Cheeseman park. And if its a warm Saturday after 6pm you can watch (or join) the gathering Argentine Tango dancers in close embrace beneath the centrally located Pavillion. The movement and music will surely make you wistful and romantic.
An afternoon spent wandering in and out of the main drag of Morrison, CO is certainly time well spent. Take a hike around the world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheatre and then grab a table next to the outdoor waterfall and wildflowers of Beso De Arte. I suggest indulging in their signature Molcajete and a margarita after you take a tour of the TAVolgenau artwork adorning each room of the restaurant. A long walk, bike, or rollerblade on the local pathways as you watch rock-climbers scale the surrounding slabs of stone and dip your toes into the mountain water streams will remind you why so many flock to the healthiest state in the nation.
For evening fun, bop on over to Golden, home of Coor’s Brewery and the School of Mines, and grab a seat at Golden Moon – a local distillery with a pioneer’s take on a prohibition-style speakeasy. The finely crafted sips and bites with live music will keep you feeling easy and jovial until the thin Colorado air forces you to yearn for your pillow. Be careful, my friends!
Evergreen. Take a walk around the gorgeous lake of Evergreen and don’t be too surprised if your path is temporarily clogged with a few elk or even a moose. Evergreen’s mainstreet is popular among tourists for its art galleries and shops packed with western styling and mountain decor.
Evergreen has also recently unveiled a beautiful new Center for the Arts. Don’t skip a chance to visit this impressive new facility, and be sure to visit the “LOVE” exhibit planned to open July 2021, curated by yours truly.
One of my favorite hikes in the area? Marshall Falls. Head up Brook Forest Road and lace up your shoes at the trailhead.
My hometown of Boulder is amazing, eclectic, and beautiful. Take time to walk the full length of the pedestrian-friendly Pearl Street Mall to the Western end and have an excellent cappuccino at The Trident Cafe. After choosing a few art books to add to your coffee table from the Trident’s used bookstore, take a few minutes to poke around the newly constructed patio. See if you can find TAVolgenau’s “We Are One” brick.
A whiskey cocktail at License One under the famous and historic Boulderado Hotel is a great way to start or to finish your evening adventures. And be sure to make a reservation at Corrido or Frasca for a memorable meal to keep your mouth watering until you return.
Hope this shortlist is a solid kick-start for your visit! Please drop me a note and let me know how your Colorado adventure treated you. Art@TAVolgenau.com
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
With boundless gratitude I have a mile-long list of supporters, inspiring and guiding individuals, and generous organizations and resources that have pushed, challenged, and loved me as a creative being. I have often found that those who love and thrive from experiencing the performing or visual arts are not necessarily artistically inclined themselves, but are easily stirred by what the arts can ignite within. I am deeply touched when individuals enter my life and say “I cannot imagine doing what you do, Teresa, but I have been impacted by what you do.” While performing in Gdansk, Poland in 1996, I developed an immediate lifelong friendship with a man named Patryk Zamorski. Patryk has consistently been a strong supporter of my artistic passions, despite ever-changing distances, and engaged in completely different fields. He and his unconditional love have been with me every step of my constantly evolving career pursuits over the past 25 years. We have kept up with one another via snail mail, email, and short vacation trips. During 2010 Patryk encouraged me to expand my performing career as a dancer of Argentine Tango beyond Hollywood and base myself in the increasingly vibrant European city of Warsaw. After a successful year abroad, Patryk acknowledged that my returning to New York was where I needed to further explore opportunities to teach and perform. And years later as my aging dancer body told me it was time to shift gears, my friend beckoned me to create all that I have experienced and still wish to express in vibrant colors upon the canvas. Every artist requires at least one individual who truly believes in them through and through. I’m so grateful to have mine.