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Lindsay Rapp Brings the Ocean to the Heart of Philadelphia

Lindsay Rapp

Courtesy of Lindsay Rapp

If you travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, you don’t expect to experience the seashores of the southern coast. But in the old city, not far from where our forefathers once hashed out the details of the Declaration of Independence and Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag, Lindsay Rapp found a way to infuse the Cradle of Liberty with an ocean vibe.

Born and raised in Florida, Rapp’s talent for art was apparent at an early age. As she recounted in a recent one-on-one interview, “I don’t even remember a time I was not interested in art. When I was in pre-school, I was constantly coloring or doing crafts. My pre-school teacher would tell my parents, ‘Your four-year-old daughter is really talented.’”

Luckily her teacher was persistent and set out to prove Rapp’s gifts were real. “The teacher submitted my artwork into a contest and I ended up winning and being interviewed on a local television station. Also, my winning artwork was printed on thousands of calendars,” recalled Rapp. “Ever since, my family has been very supportive. Growing up, I would attend any and all art camps in my area as well as taking private art lessons.”

While entering Scholastic Award contests throughout middle school and high school, Rapp met a local artist named Christopher Still, who would give her life-changing advice. “After one of the award ceremonies, my father and I went up to him, and picked his brain a bit about his background and studies. The place where he studied was Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), which is in Philadelphia. He told us that if I wanted to really learn how to paint people and make fine art a career, that PAFA is the school to attend.”

Rapp continued to hone her craft at PAFA and fell in love with Philly. Choosing to settle there after she graduated, she now has a studio/gallery space in Old City where she works and displays her work. But, the coast of Florida is clearly still in her soul.

“I paint mostly women, which I call my muses, and seascapes. I try to create a nice, dream-like quality in my artwork. I use a lot of high-key blues in my palette, so the colors are very oceanic. No matter what I am painting, the work displays a ‘watery’ overtone,” acknowledged Rapp.

She has also found a way to bring actual materials from the sea into her work. “I use mother of pearl, abalone shell as well as gold leafing using different types of acrylics and metallics,” explained Rapp. I am so fascinated with water and how refractive it is. I just want to have that interactive, magical quality that I find in water into my artwork.”

Mixing these organic materials into her paintings is a fairly new element in her work. Rapp explained the evolution of her process. “I was experimenting a lot with Plexiglas — painting on that surface. I was trying to find beautiful materials in general. I always had shells all round me in my art studio. I would be looking at my abalone shells and try to figure out how I could use them in my artwork. I came to realize that I could probably get the genuine material into my work. So, using those materials seemed to naturally evolve.

And so, the girl from Florida will continue to bring the water to the heart of the big city. Although she might miss her hometown, she has found the distance to be a great inspiration. “It actually helps being away from the beach because it has given me a sense of just how important the water and the seashore is to me,” Rapp conceded. “Painting seascapes and using oceanic blue tones definitely brings me to my happy place.”

To learn more about Lindsay Rapp and her artwork visit her official website.

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