about essie somma

surrealist painter

ESSIE SOMMA

Essie Somma is an internationally practicing artist originally from the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Her work weaves dry humor with social conscious. Combining advertisements, newspaper clippings, film stills, and language she creates small scale collages that inform larger surreal paintings. Somma explores the human condition through these collage based paintings called Daydreams. The work encourages the audience to view familiar or relatable imagery through an abstracted lens. From femininity to consumer culture, political economics to addiction, her paintings ride the line of rationality in the same way our world often does.

She received her high school diploma from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a concentration in visual arts. Then went on to receive a Bachelors degree in Painting from the University of California Santa Barbara. While attending college she completed the Art Marketing and Business program at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. Since 2013 she has been featured in 15 shows across four states. After working as freelance painter and Art Director for the Elisabeth Jones Art Center Artist CoLAB in Portland, Oregon for 3 years, Somma is now focusing on her own art practice while living a nomadic life abroad. 

essie somma

What They Say

Celebrating Women 2021 // Online Group Exhibition // Tits, Pits, and Naughty Bits // Leicester, UK // 2021

Daydreams // Solo Exhibition // Just Bob PDX // Portland, OR // 2021

Global Arts Festival // Group Exhibition // Elisabeth Jones Art Center // Portland, OR // 2021

Part I: the Era of Seclusion // Juried Online Group Exhibition // Visionary Projects // New York, NY // 2020

The View From Here // Juried Group Exhibition // Elisabeth Jones Art Center // Portland, OR // 2020

Man's Relationship with the Wild // Collaborative show // Elisabeth Jones Art Center // Portland, OR // 2019

Neighborhood Associations Rock // Collaborative Show // Elisabeth Jones Art Center // Portland, OR // 2019

No Place Like Home // Group Show // Elisabeth Jones Art Center // Portland, OR // 2018

Encyclical: Honoring Humanity’s Sacred Relationship with the Earth // Collaborative Show // Elisabeth Jones Art Center // Portland, OR //2018

UCSB Undergraduate Exhibition // Art, Design, and Architecture Museum // Santa Barbara, CA // 2018

BARELY GONE // Group Show // Glass Box Gallery // Santa Barbara, CA // 2018

Reel Loud Film Festival 2017 // Group Show // Campbell Hall (UCSB) // Isla Vista, CA  // 2017

Jones // Solo show // Glass Box Gallery // Santa Barbara, CA // 2016

UCSB Undergraduate Exhibition // Group Show // Art, Design, and Architecture Museum // Santa Barbara, CA // 2015

Cheadle Hall Exhibition // Group Show // UC Santa Barabara // Santa Barbara, CA // 2015

UNCSA  Exhibition (s) // Winston Salem, NC // 2013 – 2014

During my time at UNCSA I  designed, hung, and participated in over 10 shows on the University’s campus.

Live Painting // B. Austin Clarke Gallery // Mayberry, NC // 2013

Elisabeth Jones Art Center // Portland, Oregon

Saatchi Art

Pinky's PDX // Portland, Oregon

Ascension OBX // Outer Banks, North Carolina

Let Them Eat Cake // Ad Campaign for Drops Candies // Portland, Oregon // 2021

In Studio Mural // Yo Yo Yogi // Portland, Oregon // 2021

Contributing  Artist // International Mural x Mail Project // 2020 - Present

Editor and Guest Reporter // League of Women Voters PDX Newsletter // 2018 - 2019

URCA (Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities) Grant // one year self guided research grant // 2017 -2018

News From the Trenches // Artist Talk // Elisabeth Jones Art Center // 2020

Art Dose Art Talks // Interview and Artist Talk // Art Dose Magazine // 2020

News From the Trenches // Art Talk,  Contemporary Female Painters and "the Self" // Elisabeth Jones Art Center // 2020

Tapping into Audacity with Christina Schmigel // Workshop at Penland School of Craft // Penland, NC // 2015

Editor // Sauce Podcast // 2021 - present

Lead Curator // Bugs Aplenty Virtual Exhibtion // 2021

Art Director // Elisabeth Jones Art Center Artist CoLab // 2020 - 2021

Gallery Associate // Elisabeth Jones Art Center // 2020 — 2021

Contract painter // Elisabeth Jones Art Center // 2018 — 2020

Studio Assistant // Tom Pazderka UCSB artist in residence // 2017

Exhibition Design Intern // Art, Design, and Architecture Museum (Santa Barbara)  // 2015— 2016

Assistant Painter to Stephen Westfall // Stars and Candy Wrappers (Art, Design, and Architecture Museum) // 2015

Kenan Fellowship // Penland School of Craft  // 2015

University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston Salem, North Carolina — High school diploma with an emphasis in visual arts, 2013–2014

Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London, United Kingdom — completion of the Art Marketing and Business semester certification,  2016

University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California —Bachelors of Arts in Studio Art with Honors, 2014–2018