Haley Cimillo said that she got her creativity from her father. “Every morning he would draw on my brown paper lunch bag before sending me off the school,” she said. “He was into drawing and had old school how to draw books and old cartoon. He would always be drawing and I would sit down and try to draw as good as he was."
Haley grew up in Hawthorne, a small town in Northern New Jersey. She described her childhood to be rather basic, with great friends that she is still friends with today, that have changed her life. Ever since eighth grade, Haley had a job, whether it be waiting tables or working at a package design company, she was eager to get her hands working with graphic designs. She now is a double major in studio art and advertising with minor in graphic design at Marist. Her father worked on cars and instilled a mentality of, "I can fix that. Why buy it when i can make it?"—which has infiltrated into the creativity that Haley practices every day.
‘WITHOUT TREES AND FLOWERS, WE CANNOT LIVE’—Haley’s love for art began in elementary school, where she would enter competitions. However, it was in high school that her art excelled. “I had really great teachers that taught me everything I know. They encouraged us and we sought to embrace who we are because we are all really great individuals,” Haley said. Although art was not popular in her high school, Haley pushed for it—leading her to painting a mural in the school. Being apart of a number of clubs, she was able to bring an aspect of art to increase its popularity. She said, “Being apart of student council, I tried to take initiative and to bring it to people’s eyes more.”
“If anyone saw me paint they would think I am crazy. I have to step back, and step forward, when I paint to see how everything adds to the overall picture. Anything can change with just a couple brush strokes.”
While in high school, Haley felt a draw to painting skulls with pen and ink. But now in college, she leans more towards painting flowers. “I source them as my inspiration. I started working at a florist at home and still do when they need me,” Haley said. “Without trees and flowers we cannot live, I want to emphasize that and all that hippie stuff.” When Haley came to Marist, she recalls having class with Ed Smith. He let her do what she wanted to do, so she drew poppy flowers—helping her to access a the freedom to paint on a large scale that she never had before.
GOAL TO INSPIRE—Art has taught Haley to be opened minded—to be open to interpretation, because art emcompasess all people, events and experiences. “You have to embrace everything that comes to you,” she said. “I was always around people who are open, encouraging and motivating, and they pushed me to do the best work i could possibly do with everything I do—I’m lucky to have come into contact with so many people that have created who I am and what I do.” Haley always has music playing while she paints—differing depending on her mood. One day it could be rap, another day indie, then soft rock, then rock ‘n’ roll.
Haley Cimillo is a double major in studio art and advertising, with a minor in graphic design. From Hawthorne, NJ, Haley would describe her childhood as rather simple. Her family, particularly her father, have been very encouraging in her creative processes throughout her life. She encourages all that she encounters to "Embrace the weird," and their own personal creativity and artforms.
“If anyone saw me paint they would think I am crazy,” Haley said. “I have to step back and step forward when I paint to see how everything adds to the overall picture. Anything can change with just a couple brush strokes.”
Haley’s ultimate goal with her art is to inspire people, to have them connect to something and to feel something. She wants to continue to inspire herself and create reflection of who she is and to see how far she has come along in her the creative journey. “I'm so thankful for every milestone and every difficulty I have overcome has shaped me to be who I am today.”
One day Haley hopes to open a cafe that doubles as a bar and art gallery. She would show younger artists, in her gallery, that are trying to get out there in the world; so long as it makes her feel something and is what the artist feels passionate about. Haley adds, “I also will be in a band one day, I really wants to play drums or guitar...something cool.”