This artist really jumps off the page

By Anthony J. Machcinski

Rising to a tough challenge has never been an issue for North Arlingtonís Agnes Bartell. Whether it was helping a teacher with an unruly student or creating a difficult piece of artwork, Bartell embraced the struggle. It is this spirit that keeps Bartell creating art at age 76.

Since 1977, Bartell has made three-dimensional pieces of art called decoupages. What initially started as a hobby for Bartell soon became a job opportunity.

ìPeople hear about these pictures and they want to buy different ones,î Bartell said. ìI had to quit my job (building cables for computers) because I had so many offers.î

Bartell discovered her true vocation after signing up for an art class in Cliffside Park in 1977.

ìIt was a general art class pertaining to 3-D,î Bartell said. ìI just started doing my work and Iíve been doing it ever since.î

Bartell creates her 3-D decoupages by cutting out images from a print and gluing them on top of one another.

ìYou can do as many layers as you want,î Bartell said. ìThe difficulty is thinking about what next piece is going on top. Itís not hard for me, but it may be for someone else.î

Bartellís art has been showcased in many venues, including doctorsí offices, banks, and even at The Observer. With each piece of work, Bartell tries to personalize little items within the image.

ìI can take a picture hanging on the wall in the image and put a picture of the family who is buying the image,î she said.

But just as she was beginning to feel comfortable at her craft, Bartell was very nearly derailed from her passion.

In the ë70s, just after starting to work on the images, Bartell had been using a protective coating to cover the images. Shortly after, Bartell noticed her skin turning blue. After a trip to the doctor, Bartell learned that she was allergic to the coating she used for the images.

Instead of succumbing to this threat, Bartell found a new method to create the images without having to use the covering. Bartell started setting the 3-D images in a deep frame, allowing the pictures to still be 3-D, but still hold up to the effects of time.

Now working out of the comfort of her North Arlington home, Agnes Bartell still assembles her artwork. To inquire about purchasing her images, prospective buyers are invited to call Bartell at (201) 991-4666.

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