716 Transformers: The Artist

By Nancy J. Parisi

Published on

Sculptor Shasti O’Leary Soudant has transformed some of Buffalo’s most public spaces with her artwork – colorful, commissioned metal pieces. Her work is installed at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Burchfield Penney Art Center, Allen/Medical Campus Buffalo Metro Rail station, the atrium of 500 Seneca, and more. “I think I’ve made the city more colorful,” she says. “Through the public art opportunities I’ve had I’ve pushed for rich, crazy, saturated off-the-charts colors. My first art commission was ‘Weeping Wall.’ It’s 26-feet-tall and six-feet-wide and is blaze orange – if you have this thing taking up space, let it shine. You can’t have something monumental and shy.” Her “Do Not Mistake Our Softness for Weakness,” a grouping of six abstract sculptures, was installed outside of Burchfield Penney Art Center in 2021. About the artwork she says, “The exterior felt very stern, and I loved that I was able to make a counterpart to that in a playful way. It’s about the lived experiences of women…all wrapped up in that piece. My artwork constitutes a form of interruption in a continuum; people who move through cities start to move blindly. Contemplative space is not the priority in city planning so public art really serves the people in a different way. It offers an enriched level of experience – public art increases the amount of pleasure that you can have moving through space. Well, at least I hope so.”

716 Tips

“Everyone should visit Silo City, and what I love to call the bar at the end of the world – Duende. Duende is strange, marvelous and a completely unlikely place. And they make a really great and perfect Manhattan.”

Nancy J. Parisi headshot

Nancy J. Parisi

Nancy is a social documentation photographer based in Buffalo, NY.