Val Sivilli


About Val

email.    or   cell. 908-268-2843

ABOUT The Circus:  

Ever since a Jester entertained the royal court to our modern day Cirque de Soleil and to the recent demise of Barnum & Bailey, the cacophony of humanity resides within the body of the Circus.   It was during the 2016 American Presidential Debates that I began the work:  “An American Side Show Spectacular”. This work led to further investigations into rich and varied world of the Circus. This new series of paintings are very much a work in progress.

ABOUT My Process

Mostly I tell stories.  Sometimes it is a tiny little story, a simple line or two. And sometimes it is a seemingly endless story – a rambling excess of meandering quagmire. Either way, I like it a lot when the text integrates into the image.  Then you can view the piece without being distracted by the written word’s reference to spoken language. I try to defer to a simple narrative if possible, although that’s not always possible. It’s the honesty of the moment that engages me. As the painting, or series of paintings, take shape, the story takes shape. They inform each other. Sometimes the narrative finds a happy home in a single painting. Other times it takes a few paintings. Sometimes the story requires more air. Sometimes the story and the painting demand that there be no text in the picture. Regardless of the narrative, if there is one, it is COLOR as it resides in FORM and CONTENT that drive my painting. Creating a resonant and reflective home for what lies beneath and among the breath of the lines, the energy of the mark,  is a goal of this work, whether the actual text is embedded into the image or simply the title of the work.


I was born in Brooklyn raised on Long Island. My undergraduate work was at both SUNY Purchase and Alfred University and my graduate work at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers. I was studio assistant to Nancy Spero and Leon Golub from 1984 – 1991 in NYC where I also had a very active career showing in the downtown galleries. After moving to Frenchtown, NJ I raised my family and ran a graphic design & t-shirt printing company called Civilian Art. I teach Color Theory, Drawing, BookArts and Printmaking as an Adjunct Professor of Art. As a full-time artist living and working in Hunterdon County,  I am working with a team to create a sustainable Artist Studio Tour ( to engage a larger cultural community. Occasionally, I can be found playing music somewhere.


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