Ironically, it was a lack of art supplies that led Monique Sarfity to the style of art that currently distinguishes her work. She earned a degree in painting from Parsons The New School for Design. “I did figurative painting,” she says. “Most of my paintings were female nudes—figurative work.”
When she started teaching art in middle school and advanced high-school art in Wyckoff in Bergen County, her métier began to change.
“When teaching, I started playing around with reusable materials, inexpensive ways to use recyclable and reusable materials,” she says. “I got donations from parents and was working with glass, stone, and tile. It was something I was interested in in my own art.”
In 2009, she won a grant to go to Ravenna in Italy and study mosaics. “I learned about ancient techniques, and now that’s all I do. I focus on glass and found objects.”
Sarfity, a New Jersey native, found her way to Jersey City the way a lot of people do. After attending art school in Manhattan, she wanted to be close to the city’s museums and galleries but in a place she could afford. At first he shared studio space in Hoboken with another artist but now works out of her home on Newark Avenue in Jersey City. She and her husband live above the very artsy bar and eatery, LITM.
“I really enjoy what Jersey City has to offer,” she says. “I wind up spending as much time in Jersey City as in Manhattan. I’ve seen a lot of changes. Jersey City has a thriving arts community and opportunities to exhibit work.” Sarfity shows her work in New York, Jersey City, and other parts of New Jersey.
Her digs on Newark Avenue put her pretty much in the middle of everything. “We go to LITM, Skinner’s Loft, Park & Sixth,” she says. “We go to all the local restaurants and make sure we frequent all the places that open up in this neighborhood.”
Sarfity and her husband definitely plan to stay in Jersey City. “But we’re exploring other areas,” she says. “We might move to the Heights or Bergen Lafayette. We’re seeing what other neighborhoods in Jersey City have to offer.”—Kate Rounds