Artist paints her vision to share with the public

Apr 2, 2019

Four blue butterflies perch atop branches in front of water, touched by a golden sky. New Bedford artist Tracy Silva Barbosa calls this painting “Color Song.” Silva Barbosa has pursued her love for art over the course of two decades, and now works on original canvas paintings, glass designs, and Portuguese-inspired sidewalk art, which she will share at Marion’s ArtWeek. 

Silva Barbosa said she has been fascinated by the interaction between nature and man-made structures since she was a child. Growing up in New Bedford, the artist said she often saw how nature interacted with old industrial buildings. She is inspired by the effect time and progress has on a landscape and she often depicts it in her paintings, combining multiple images of different landscapes.

Silva Barbosa said she feels her life is heavily influenced by art. “I feel like it’s a part of me,” she said.  

In 1999, Silva Barbosa graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the Massachusetts College of Art. In 2003, she started her own business Duende Glass LLC. In 2015, she became the community advocate for MASS Creative, the only art lobbying group in the Massachusetts State House.

Silva Barbosa also creates chalk paintings to give the public opportunities to interact with her work on the streets. For four years, Silva Barbosa said she has blended her painting experience with her love for a Portuguese tile technique called azulejos. These blue and white tiles are found around the world.

Silva Barbosa, who is Portuguese, enjoys doing azulejos, and hopes to spread awareness about the tiles and the culture behind them.

Silva Barbosa said she often uses tape on the pavement as a stencil for people to paint their designs in. Using homemade paint made out of chalk, Silva Barbosa paints a few of the tiles to give participants an idea of what they might create within the stencil. After the art is finished, she removes the stencil, revealing the finished product. Before it is washed off, Silva Barbosa takes a photos of the finished piece.

Silva Barbosa said people often take an interest in art they not only stumble upon, but can interact with. This particular type of street art is popular with locals and they often ask her to expand the piece so they can add more details. “People just respond to it in this area,” said Silva Barbosa, “it’s perfect for families to engage in.”

Silva Barbosa will be doing azulejos on the sidewalk outside the Marion Arts Center May 5 from 1 to 3 p.m as part of the Marion Art Center’s ArtWeek. Adults and children are welcome to participate and the event is free. There will also be live music, face painting, a balloon artist, vendors and a sale of unused goods from the Art Center.