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Hudson River Helps Sleepy Hollow Artist Create

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – The Hudson River doesn't just provide inspiration for Sleepy Hollow artist Debra Friedkin. It also provides portions of her art.

Friedkin is a mixed-media artist who takes objects that have washed ashore from the river onto the beach at Horan's Landing and transforms them in her art.

“Anything I find can inspire me,” Friedkin said. “I see different things in any object.”

Friedkin has taken driftwood and turned it into a statue of the Virgin Mary and child. She's turned a rusty, lantern-like frame into a rocket. She's also found metal slag from the old General Motors plant and used it in her art.

Friedkin said she always wanted to be an artist. She was working as a nurse about 12 years ago when she decided to reinvent herself.

“I said 'I'm going to try to do it. I'm going to devote myself to it,'” Friedkin said.

Since that time, Friedkin has worked in a variety of mediums, including painting, collages and sculptures. She has exhibited her work throughout the area and has won several awards. She currently has an exhibition in the JCC of Westchester's group show in Scarsdale. A closing reception will be held on Sunday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Friedkin said her main goal is to draw the viewer into her art. She does this by painting and creating intricate backgrounds and stories. She also likes to incorporate the feeling of motion into her art.

“If it makes them want to come in and really look at it closely, then I feel that I've been successful because you have to have the interest to draw people in,” Friedkin said.

Friedkin lives in Ichabod's Landing and tries to walk along the beach in the nearby park everyday. She said she finds a lot of things from the boats that sail by because people will either lose them or throw them overboard. One of her sculptures usually takes a few months to finish.

“I'm always working on a few different projects at the same time,” Friedkin said.

She acknowledged that she's come a long way from her days as a nurse and says that the Hudson River is a big part of that.

“My artistic journey has been inspired to a large extent by the majestic Hudson River, both by its beauty as well as by the effluvium that I collect from along its banks,” Friedkin said. “Like the perpetual motion of the river and its seasons of change, I hope to continue my evolution as an artist.”

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