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Georgia Mountain Laurel Magazine

Tribute to Tiby: Celebrating Life Through Art

Nov 22, 2016 07:01PM ● By Melanie Heisinger

by Celia ‘Tiby’ Durand

Tribute to Celia ‘Tiby’ Durand

By Jo Mitchell

Celia ‘Tiby’ Durand

“My work is not just about what I see through my camera's viewfinder - whether a flower, bird, or place - but rather about what I feel at that exact moment.

During that process, from reality to emotion, my images get transformed. Partly photographs, partly dreams, each of them is a world in itself. Colors and textures give form to those feelings and blend together to create a new image, an imaginary landscape made up of parts and pieces like the world around us.

They tell about a moment, fixed in time, but open to be seen accordingly with our own experiences. They are just a point of departure, the start of a voyage that may take each of us to different destinations.

Strange, enchanting, haunting - no matter how you see them, they are all transformed views of life.”       


Celia ‘Tiby’ Durand expressed these thoughts about her artist’s view of life in June 2015.

On August 10th of this year, Celia lost a nearly yearlong, courageous battle against cancer. During that year, as a member of the North Georgia Arts Guild, she continued to extend her loyalty beyond her own family to the family of art. Her husband Enrique put it this way: “Celia’s love and dedication to the guild and its people were such, that for many months, even ill, she kept an eye on its web and FB sites, sitting late at night at the computer or with her iPad in bed, contributing as much as she was able to.”

Celia joined the guild in October 2007, and a year later redesigned its website from a single page to a multi-functional, interactive meeting place of information and beauty which included the carousel main gallery, individual artist’s galleries, art events, shows and opportunities to exhibit. It was with great reluctance that she ‘officially’ let go of this task after her diagnosis. “Celia has made an art of enabling communication and sharing of ideas among our artists.” (October 2015 NGAG featured artist article).

Raised in Argentina, Celia earned degrees in teaching and journalism, but always had a hands-on relationship with art. In Buenos Aires she taught in a private school, and as a reporter, covered educational news. It was later on in NYC, where, while raising her young family, she also studied ceramics and sculpture, starting to hone her own style. Afterward, in DC, Celia immersed herself in computers and wrote software programs. Finally, in Atlanta, photography took hold. It was the melding of all these experiences that informed the shapes, textures and colors of her inventive, magical Pixelgraphs.

From her Argentina roots, to her home in Atlanta, Celia was always the explorer. Her discovery of the “innovations and challenges” of computer software prompted her fearless journey to a place where photography, digital programs and an untainted imagination led to the production of the wondrous, stunningly vibrant images she has left as legacy. And yet, for Celia, the computer and its software were simply “tools,” and art was “not defined by the tools we use but by what we express with them”.

“Often the memory of a certain moment doesn't match the photo we took to remember it. And that's because memories are made of feelings and photographs are made of details...I blend reality with fantasy. My PixelGraphs are partly photographs, partly dreams. Each of them is a world in itself, a new world in which colors and textures give form to my imagination," Celia had explained.

This past decade, explains Enrique, when Celia concentrated her search for beauty, with nature as inspiration, they were frequent visitors to the North Georgia Mountains that she came to love and where they both developed an “intense sense of belonging”.

During the past year, in addition to her continued loyalty to the guild, Celia was steadfastly immersed in her art. She designed mini-calendars with a different Pixelgraphs for each month and mailed them to friends. She entered art contests and won 1st Place in the Atlanta Artists Center show in October 2015.

Celia’s work has been represented at several online sites, and at MarketPlace 120 in Marietta. As part of the Atlanta Celebrates Photography—the largest community oriented photo festival in the U.S.—she last year presented her series: The Magic of Light.

On September 3rd Celia was posthumously awarded first and third prizes and one honorary mention at the 2016 National Photography Show of the Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association. Photographer Terry Barnes, acting in the capacity of judge, named the awards for Dandelion Wish (first prize); Aqua (third) and Okefenokee (honorable mention).

Enrique was there and noted the tribute paid by BRMAA executive director Nichole Potzauf as a “touching moment” that “suddenly became a magical, incredible occasion.” To Enrique, part of what made Celia “extraordinary and unique was her humility” and knows she would have not expected, but would have been thrilled to be thus recognized.

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