Stark County Artist Profile: Diane Belfiglio

Each week in January and February we will be featuring a different Stark County artist. Get to know the amazing talent in our community.

By Laurie Fife Harbert

A prolific and accomplished member of the area’s creative community, Canton artist Diane Belfiglio has participated in over 170 solo and group shows, earned numerous art grants, and has been featured in a variety of art publications. Her work is in the art collections of museums, universities, businesses, and individuals both nationally and abroad, including the Canton Museum of Art, the Butler Institute of American Art, and singer Patti LaBelle. Diane holds a B.F.A. in drawing, painting, and graphics from The Ohio State University and an M.F.A. in painting from Syracuse University. She has shared her artistic talent and knowledge with students as a professor at Walsh University for the past 15 years.

Belfiglio’s artwork depicts contrast and organization, and strong color choices. Her style is realistic but takes on a sense of the abstract through the shapes and the minute attention to detail, resulting in a kind of heightened reality. Her distinctive compositions of close-cropped subjects are readily recognizable. However, the medium she incorporates tends to change, based on both her chosen subject matter and on her natural desire for new challenges. While the crisp lines of her historical architectural pieces are enhanced by acrylic paint, she found that oil pastels better lend themselves to the softer edges needed for plant life and floral depictions. Colored pencil and her latest sculptural designs in wood currently round out her media preferences.

Light, most notably sunlight, nearly always plays a starring role in Diane’s compositions, with the resultant shadows being an important feature of her paintings and drawings. “Ethereal by nature, shadows become a structural part of my compositions,” she states. Interestingly, her latest foray into the medium of wood sculpture also exemplifies this signature element of her work. The sculptures cast distinctive shadows depending on the angle of the light source. Her venture into the three-dimensional realm was quickly rewarded, as ‘Repetitions II’ was accepted into the 2015 ‘Stark County Artists Exhibition’ at the Massillon Museum.

An additional part of Belfiglio’s work is community art installations. She has partnered with local organizations for several large-scale group artworks, including Walsh University, GlenOak High School, Habitat for Humanity, and the Canton Symphony Orchestra. She enjoys the outreach aspect of these projects and takes special pride in involving those with no art background who don’t necessarily feel as if they are creative or artistic. Her next group art project, with Walsh University and St. Thomas Aquinas School, will be completed by April of 2016.

Not one to remain stagnant, it will be exciting to see future offerings from this dynamic artist. Continued growth—be it regarding subject matter, style, media, or even the size in which one works—is arguably the mark of a true artistic soul. Diane seems to have been abundantly blessed by the muse, as she has the talent, skills, and inner drive to unceasingly seek out new ways to express her creativity. That she finds joy in sharing her gifts with others is icing on the cake. Further images of her work may be seen at www.belfiglio.com. Though her plate is full with family, teaching, her art, and the community art projects, Diane does accept commissions, mostly over the summer months. She may be reached via email at diane@bellfiglio.com.

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Laurie Fife Harbert is a writer, a Canton native, an ailurophile, a visual artist, a bibliophile, a mother of two,      and an oenophile—not necessarily in that order.