"In my work I have never strived to make a perfect photograph, in fact I have embraced the imperfections and accidents in the photographic process."
I recently found this family photograph decaying in an old photo album. This image best represents my journey as an artist and musician. In many ways I think that I have always approached the medium of photography and music with the heart and soul of a painter. Inspiration and motivations are driven by my emotions, transformation and the investigation of what exists below the surface. My art reflects my fascination with existence and time, it's passage, and my ambition to transcend time through my work.
PERSONAL MYTHOLOGIES in the Time of a Pandemic
When the coronavirus reportage emerged from China I found myself watching the events unfold around the clock. I started a journal consisting of charcoal drawings, thoughts and dreams. As the news became more intense and unsettling I could not sleep. I felt anxious. Severe panic attacks became the new normal. During one of those restless episodes, in the darkest hours of the day, I began creating photographs of myself. The process began to help soothe my fears and emotions surrounding the pandemic: isolation, vulnerability, social distancing, mortality, death, community, climate change, poverty, fear, politics, media, fake news, economic inequalities, and uncertainty. As the work progressed, I began to see references and parallels to Greek mythology in the images I created. This added an additional and personal layer to the work—having lived in Greece for a time. The Gods and Goddesses never preceded the image—the mythology only revealed itself after the photographs were taken. My intent was to express my emotions first, thus they are the guiding forceof this work.
THE PAIN OF GRAVITY ~ The Gravity of pain
"Gravity is my enemy, if I could only exist in water, in the sea, travel to the moon or a distant planet. But for now this work-art is my only refuge, my only freedom from the pain of gravity" ~ Folino
Being a photographer for most of my artistic life, currently I am not able to use my cameras. I have suffered from back issues for over two decades. Each day I wake up in severe chronic pain. My spine and bones are failing me. I endured painful back surgery in 2013 to stabilize part of my spine. Fast forward to 2021, my body is deteriorating further, I now face full spinal fusion surgery in the near future. This past February, I was injured due to the negligence of a Physical Therapist. The injury was so severe that I could not move my body one inch without crying a river of tears. For five weeks, I could not sleep or get out of bed. During this physical crisis, I discovered a box of charcoals that belonged to my Italian Nonna, she was a self- taught artist. The charcoals were over sixty years old. Confined to my bed, I began to draw and for several hours a day, magically the pain disappeared. It was only when I stopped creating the work that I returned to being a prisoner of my own body.
As a young child I was always fascinated with what exists below the surface. Whether in the desert digging a hole only to discover a nest of scorpions or creating art my search for other parallel realities is evident. Recently while going through old files I found a teacher's comments from my kindergarten class. She was concerned about an art project in class. Apparently I painted every inch of the paper with every available color and then I proceeded to paint over the entire art piece with black paint.
The phrase Prima Materia translates to Primal Matter. These images once existed as portraits and still lives, the Polaroid negative is submerged into a liquid chemical bath. Unlike the previous portfolio, once the original photographic image has completely disappeared an abstract landscape emerges...the surface is soft and pliable. I can easily manipulate the surface of the film with my hands and fingernails. The alteration of the film's structure allows the material to resort back to organic shapes and material.
GRACE AND TRUTH
“We feast on time as Time feasts on us” ~Maria Popva
My desire was to strip away as much as I could in order to be as honest as possible with my intentions. I chose to photograph my subject’s nude with a plain black background. There are numerous references in the work some which include mythology and religion. The one common thread connecting all of the images is time and existence. These images are created using expired Type 55 film and a 4x5 view camera. After the initial in-camera exposure, I subject the polaroid to household chemicals. The chemical process begins to alter the image through the exposure of light and time. The original photograph begins to slowly fade away and in its place the figure recedes into anew landscape. The image continues to alter and evolve therefore I scan and re-scan the Polaroids during the different stages of transformation. With the passage of time the images become more ethereal, fragmented and degraded. These photographs like the moving image will continue to change as the past makes its way into the future. Grace and Truth reflects my fascination with time, it's passage, and my desire to transcend time through my work. Perhaps in my own way I am trying to make peace with it.
Into The Gray
Continuing with my experimentation with Polaroid materials I have shot this work on an old Polaroid Pro-Pack Camera and 665 Positive Negative film. During this period in my life, my Father was suffering from multiple strokes. In-between spending long hours at the hospital I would take breaks and take myself either to the sea or the desert. Alone in my thoughts and work for brief moments of time as a majority of my time was spent in hospitals.
THE BOOK OF DANTE ~ A Remarkable Soul
"L'amour Che muove il sole E L'altre Stella" The love that moves the sun and the other stars ~From the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
The name Dante meaning: Enduring and Everlasting. What can one say about the love for a dog? There are no words to express the connection I had with my dog Dante. He was a remarkable soul, he lived to be just shy of 19 years. Until his last breath he did not want to leave this earth. He didn't want to leave my side. I have never had a pet that had such a passion and joy for life. This work represents the last two years we had together which will eventually culminate in a handmade book to honor his spirit.
Many famous celebrities, artists and royalty have owned Dachshund's: Picasso, Elizabeth Taylor, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol “Archie”, Brigitte Bardot “Clown”, Cole Porter “Jezebel”, John Wayne “Blakie”, Marlon Brando “Kurtze Beiner”, John Crawford “Baby and Boopshem”, David Bowie, David Hockney, Shirley Temple, Helen Keller, Lauren Bacall, Teddy Roosevelt and Brooke Astor.
Dachshund's are often referred to as sausages, weiner's, hot dogs and weiner dogs. There is no other dog quite like them. Until you have owned a Doxie you will not fully understand how fanatic and over the top in-love Dachshund owner's are about their dogs.
ARROW OF TIME
When you lose a parent it is a life altering event, life is never the same again. With loss comes many questions; are our loved one's all around us? or is it our memories which keep them close to us. What is time? Does the past present and future all exist simultaneously? Merging vintage family photographs with my 35mm work allowed me to explore all of these questions. I made up stories, I tried to imagine my loved ones walking around the landscape in this alternate dimension existing in their own private haven. I tried to imagine how they would inform my present reality. Deep down I creating a platform for the past and the present to exist simultaneously. "Arrow of Time" is a theory which explains that time moves only in one direction and cannot exist without entropy. Though we cannot time travel to the past, I believe that we all carry the past into our present as well as the future. Looking at where we came from gives meaning and purpose in our lives. As I look at these images I realize that I am no closer to the answers I seek, but I come away with the knowledge that life is a process-there is an order to nature, life, and death- and how we navigate our way in the world comes from a respect for the past.
This work represents over 30 years of my 35mm Leica M Work. The images were taken from just outside my home to as far away as the high Arctic. There is no direction or conceptual ideas, Wanderings is simply my observation of the external world around me.
UNDER MAN-MADE SEAS
I could swim before I could walk and learned how to dive in my own back yard. I have always lived near the ocean. The ocean has always been a place of deep inspiration and concern. For the past 2 years my lens has been focused on sea life including corals, fish, and marine plant life. 90% of our bodies our made up of water, over 70% of our earth is covered in water, but only 1% of all bodies of water on earth are not affected by Man. The changing landscape of our planet and Oceans is alarming. There are many scientists who believe that we will exhaust most if not all of the fish in the oceans by 2035, and that plastic will outnumber fish. We are on the threshold where our footprints will soon be irreversible. Man’s relationship to the natural environment is severed on so many levels. It weighs heavily on my mind and I ask, at what price do we separate, consume, and destroy from what sustains life?
Under Man-Made Seas began with my documenting sea life in the Aquariums throughout the United States. Even though aquariums are a place of education, they are unnatural environments for the marine life. I can’t help but feel a deep sadness each time I visit. I feel that Aquariums will likely be the future museums of the sea.
MORPHOLOGY Mor-phol-o-gy is the study of the form of things, in particular.
On my daily walks, I found myself picking up leaves and flowers that caught my eye on the nature trail near my house. In nature, from the stages of death and decay comes transformation and the birth of something new. The cycles of life are self-evident. There is not only an order but a repetitive pattern and rhythm. I had an immediate desire to observe then re-arrange this order. By re-interpreting or simply observing the structures, I saw new parallels and metaphors for the cycles of life. Each leaf or flower had a distinct pattern and stage of decay. Each one has a different story to tell, and in its death it continues to feed the earth as everything eventually returns to the earth.
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