When Colello first returned to New York, she had the opportunity through Pastor Charity Gustke to paint a mural inside New Heart Ministries on Smokey Hollow Road in Baldwinsville. After the wall was complete, she found canvas. Once her work hit Facebook, she said people began prompting her to sell it.
“I thought, ‘You guys are crazy, who would buy my paintings?’ she said. “But it’s neat because my paintings are bringing inspiration into people’s lives. I’ve seen how my art is being used, not just as a decoration on a wall, but it’s being used to speak to people in positive ways.”
Some pieces Colello has displayed on the walls at the cafe evoke peace and gentleness while others are more vibrant and playful, like a funky giraffe, inspired by her many friends having children these days.
“I’m also inspired to reach people,” she said. “I have one that says ‘Blow Minds’ and it’s blowing colorful glitter at you. I want my paintings to be able to tell people to believe in yourself. Don’t settle for anything.”
Especially women and children, to whom she targets her work.
“I have paintings that say ‘Be-You-tiful’ because girls nowadays have so much on them — the pressures of being a certain way and on Facebook doing inappropriate things. They’re losing that whole — just be yourself. You don’t need to show everything. I gear my paintings to empower women.”
The first painting Colello ever sold went to a woman whose eye it captured on the walls at Cafe at 407 in Liverpool. She said she wanted to hang it in the room of her 4-year-old daughter.
“Our society is so hard on women and I want her to always know she is beautiful just being herself. I want her to be strong,” Colello recalled her saying. “It touched my heart. This is what I want my art to do and it’s already doing it. It gave me chills. It was like confirmation that this is where your arts going to go.”