"This painting depicts form, color, and shape as well as nature and a symbolism of life. Petals are shown opening up to a new beginning, an awakening, a birth. This was influenced by Georgia O'Keefe"
- Charles Unterberg
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ACRYLIC ON CANVAS
25" x 31"
New York City
“While I paint, I think and dream and explore.”
New York native Charles Unterberg has lived with severe OCD for many years, but he has been able to handle his symptoms through painting. Creating art entrances Charles and gives him a sense of peace and happiness - relief from the demands of his rituals. Celebration and sale of Charles' art have renewed his confidence and sense of validity.
“I have had experiences with many mean-spirited individuals who have hurt me and... who have laughed about rituals that I was unable to control.” He continues, “I feel confident and happy when people respond well to my art. I know that I have capability... despite my shortcomings and struggles.”
Charles is hardly exaggerating when he says “art is my life.” He grew up in a family full of creative people. His mother is an artist and teacher of fine arts, his grandmother was a very talented toy crafter, and his great grandfather was a clothing designer and tailor. In his youth, Charles also attended a school that promoted the arts and benefited from many mentors and teachers who encouraged him to express himself through art.
Over the years, Charles has created hundreds of paintings. The walls of his New York City home are filled with his creations. Charles says that everything in the world around him can potentially serve as inspiration for his art. He looks for the beauty in his environment and believes that art can reveal the goodness in his subjects.
“I get very involved in my work. I lose track of time as I work. Creating makes me feel happy.”
Charles primarily works with acrylics and oil on canvas to create his abstract works, but he also likes to experiment with collage materials, including various types of textured papers and other found objects. He writes “the smell of the pigments, the texture created by my brushes, and colors that I often mix to make new colors are very exciting.”
In addition to being an artist, Charles is also an avid sports fan, hockey card collector, chess player, and photographer. He uses mindfulness to release his stress and anxiety from OCD. He visits museums and galleries to find inspiration for his artwork. He also is a devoted Iron Maiden rock fan - he belongs to their fan club, attends their concerts and listens to their music to help release tension, stress and anxiety. Charles also collects their event t-shirts for the artwork alone, as the graphics are incredible works of art.
Charles cites his late grandmother as his source of strength and motivation, and hopes that his story can encourage others to have faith and hope in themselves, “regardless of how many negative experiences occur.”
ArtLifting empowers artists impacted by homelessness or disabilities through the celebration and sale of their artwork. Learn more here.