Hump Day Hot Seat: James V. Mignogna

 

seattleviewtourists_Photo © James V. Mignogna

1. Who are you? 

James V. Mignogna The V is for Vincent. It was my grandfather’s name.

2. What do you do? 

These days?  Well up until about five months ago, I was working at the International Center for Photography in NYC helping to keep their darkrooms humming.  That, and of course, shooting any chance I could get. These days… well I gave that up to be a stay at home papa to my eight month old son.  I was able to build a pretty professional darkroom in my attic, so I’m still able to work. So I guess the answer to this question right now is, feed, corral, wrastle and otherwise adore my little gremlin boy (as in that Bugs Bunny cartoon, not Mogwai). Also, I’ve been printing. I guess you’d call me a fine art photographer. I’m currently printing out a series for a solo show that will be opening in September at the Mamaroneck Artists Guild in Larchmont, NY.  They are orotone variants… palladium prints… hand painted emulsion on 24k gold guilded vellum. It’s keeping me pretty busy.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

At Photography?  Well the old joke is that I got a PhD in photography from my father. “Push here, Dummy.”  Really, he was the first person who got a camera in my hands. He was a bit of an amateur shutterbug and always had a camera or two lying around the house. He was generous enough to let me play with one. I also took a photo class in high school. You know how people say they get hooked the first time they see an image come up in the developer? I’m no different. Maybe not super original, but no less true. Jesus, that would have been what… 27 years ago? Wow. I may not be as young as I think I am.

Anyway, I’ve had a camera on me, off and on, since then. It’s always been part of my identity, but I only maybe in the last six or seven years decided that I should stop running around it. This is just who I am. I’ve only been starting to try to show my work in a serious way in the last three years or so, but I’ve gotten some good responses from it. At the heart of it, it’s a connection to my pop. It’s been several years since he passed on, but it’s kind of an unspoken way I keep him close. Funny I should say that it’s unspoken, because for a time there, photography was the only thing we COULD talk about. Some fathers and sons have baseball. We had photography.

4. How long have you been at it?

I guess I kinda answered that one.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

The most important. hmm. I don’t know about most. I guess that depends who you are. What would I tell you about my work? I guess that all of my photography is “straight.” There are some people who would tell you to “make photos, don’t take them.”  I don’t know. For me, I like to take them. The act of extraction from the real world is possibly the greatest strength of photography. I am a photographer by choice, not default. I like to make reference to painting and etching, but it is always photos of real things described as they are. For me to see what is in the world, to record and venerate that is an act of saying “yes” to existence. It’s an act of reverence. It’s really not that unlike prayer.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire? 

So many. Really too many to mention. Mostly, I still lean towards a middle 20th century look, so you’d find my inspiration in Frank, Friedlander, Erwitt, Davidson, Winogrand, Kertész, HCB, Mary Ellen Mark, W. Eugene Smith… I also love the work of Salgado, Kratochvíl, Kashi, Haviv… Ernst Haas and Saul Leiter… so many… I also draw inspiration from lots of my talented friends, Daniel Elliott, Denis Yermoshin, Sumner Wells Hatch, Ed Cheng… I really could go on and on and on, and I hate the idea of leaving anyone out.

7. What other types of art are you in to? 

Painting. I love painting. I’m also a great fan of etching and printmaking. Sculpture is a real love of mine as well. It is really the art form I would love to try, but it just feels so foreign to anything I’ve done before… I just imagine Cellini pouring the bronze for his Persius with the Head of Medusa and I’m just in awe of it.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents? 

Well I don’t know about crazy. I love to collect vinyl which is sort of common, but I also collect Laserdiscs. You know… They were the medium between VHS tape and DVDs. They are kind of like a DVD in the size and shape of an LP. You even have to flip them. They are just so wrong that they are perfectly right. I have about 500 of them now. I love movies. I’m a big movie buff. I also quite like to cook. I’m a bit of a foodie.

9. What’s your favorite vice? 

Wine. Wine and absinthe… and good beer.

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

I try another take. Over the years I have gotten to what I feel is a personal look, but I do a number of things. If I get stuck with the traditional B&W silver gel street work, then I move over to the color abstract stuff… if that starts to challenge me, I move on to the hand painted emulsion / alternate photo stuff.

11. If someone was to write a craigslist missed connection about you, what would it say? 

“You: a hairy unkempt possibly unwashed shambling monster pushing an adorable baby in a stroller.  I was about to call child services when I passed you in the park, but didn’t. I fear I maybe should have.”

12. Tell me about the last time a project blew up in your face?

Well nothing really “Blows up” but often things evolve in a way that I wasn’t planning. It can be a real disaster if I’m too stubborn about that, but I give the process enough respect to listen to what the project wants to be. Ultimately I may still be left with a project that I want to get done in the end, but it’s all just a work in progress… both the images and myself.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My family.  Not really a possession, but you get the idea.

 

Monday Funday: Lance Cyril Mountain’s “Multiple Personalities” at Seeing Things Gallery

I went to the opening night of Lance Cyril Mountain’s “Multiple Personalities” show at Jai Tanju‘s Seeing Things Gallery in San Jose this past Saturday. I checked out some rad art, met and congratulated Mountain, caught up with some dudes, and met the artist’s father and skateboard legend, Lance Mountain too. Somebody pinch me!

photo 4photo © Bernadette Cruz

Mountain’s “Multiple Personalities” exhibits minimalism through a variety of works – from mixed media collages with typewritten messages and large scale paintings to framed photographs, screen prints, and paintings on canvas. His pieces go back to basics by showcasing familiar lines, shapes, primary colors, earth tones and splashes of metallic. This approach provides viewers with an accessible and unassuming window into Mountain’s abstract visual form of expression.

photo 3photo © Bernadette Cruz

I got the chance to see owner Jai Tanju again and reconnect with San Jose local skater Jason Adams. I hadn’t seen Adams since his NYC visit back in 2010 when we checked out his “American Boarders” portrait at Paul Rusconi‘s solo show at Upper East Side’s Stellan Holm Gallery, and then a couple months later at The Movement‘s fifth art party presented by Jersey’s own Sic Chix Production. I got to catch up with The Kid again, but now on this cool spring Saturday night on the west coast in San Jose – just over the hill from my new hood and home. After nearly six months out here, I still can’t believe this is my life!

seeingthingsgalleryphoto © Bernadette Cruz

Be sure to check out Lance Cyril Mountain’s “Multiple Personalities” at Seeing Things in San Jose if you find yourself in the South Bay these next few weeks. Visit http://www.seeinghthingsgallery.com for a full list of all artwork, pricing, and shows!

Fresh Friday Finds: Alison Jardine

Contemporary visual artist Alison Jardine is today’s Fresh Friday Finds. This Dallas based artist, originally from Yorkshire, England, finds inspiration in nature and is an Artist-in-Residence at the Dallas Arboretum. Check out her gorgeous oil on canvas series, “Natural Abstractions,” here.

sunlight-silence-screenSunlight and Silence, 50″ x 50″ oil on canvas. © Alison Jardine

canopyofsunlightThe Pixel Tree: Sunlight Canopy, 36″ x 60″ oil on canvas. © Alison Jardine

Decypher-showimage-screenDecypher, 46″ x 46″ oil on canvas. © Alison Jardine

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Starry Night Before Dawn, 50″ x 50″ oil on canvas. © Alison Jardine

From AlisonJardine.com:

In these contemporary reinterpretations of the traditional genre of landscapes, I use colors, light and composition to explore my own sense of wilderness, the environment we live in, people in my life and my sense of self. In this series, I began using the idea of the ‘pixel’ as a ubiquitous intermediary between our society and nature, altering not only our aesthetic palettes, but also our understanding of our place in the  natural world.As the series progressed, I developed upon my idea of digital media as an intermediary during my process of creation, and the image distortion this introduces.

Hump Day Hot Seat: Emilio Florentine

Fresh Friday Finds alum Emilio Florentine is in today’s Hump Day Hot Seat! Get to know this Jersey City based artist as he answers questions provided by Finch & Ada. Thanks for stopping by, Emilio!

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Excursions, Aerosol Paint. © Emilio Florentine

1. Who are you?

Emilio Florentine

2. What do you do?

I paint exploding flowers. They are a visual study of the chaos within beauty.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start?

I began drawing cartoon and comic book characters at an early age. In my early teens, I enrolled in advanced art lessons after school in Somerville, NJ.

4. How long have you been at it?

A long time.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I own a fine art and apparel screen-printing business called Jersey City Screen Printing.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

The local artists and graffiti writers of Jersey City and Newark

7. What other types of art are you in to?

Screen-printing and colored pencil

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

Skateboarding and Snowboarding

9. What’s your favorite vice?

Tequila

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

The answer to the previous question.

11. If someone was to write a craigslist missed connection about you, what would it say?

The guy on the path train with paint all over his clothes, messy hair, and drawing in a sketch-book.

12. Tell me about the last time a project blew up in your face?

Today, ink dried in my screens too fast.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My drafting table

Monday Funday: Art Openings

I’M BAAACKKK! I’ve been on hiatus since my west coast move in September but am back at this blogging thing with my first official Cali-based post, a Monday Funday feature. These are friendly Monday reminders to always live in the moment, get out and have fun!

Today, I’ve got my hand picked calendar of this week’s events across the country.

NEW YORK CITY 

March 6th – 9th: The Armory Show at Piers 92 & 94 from 12p – 7p

TheArmoryShow

The Armory Show is one that I’ve always wanted to check out but constantly said, “next time.” This annual contemporary and modern art fair is the largest in New York City, showcasing over 2,000 artists from hundreds of galleries around the globe. So if you’re in the area and can treat yourself to sensory overload at its best, go for it! Tickets start at $40 day passes to $75 run of show passes. For more information, visit www.thearmoryshow.com.

JERSEY CITY, NJ

March 7th (JC Fridays): E. Tittlemouse & Co. presents “Women Power JC” at 246 Bay St. from 6p – 8p

Women Power JC

Who run the world?! Girls. This event presented by E. Tittlemouse & Co. features the diversity of Jersey City female artists and their talents. My friend, Rika Gunawan, will be there with her unique collection of handmade, limited edition hair accessories for women and children of all ages, Republic of Pigtails. Stop by and say hi!

This is just one of many events during this month’s “JC Fridays” presented by Art House Productions.  For a full calendar of events, visit www.jcfridays.com.

JCFRIDAYS March7

BOONTON, NJ

March 7th: Anthony “Weird Eye” One’s “Something Wild” at Speakeasy Art Gallery 816 Main Street from 6p – 9p

AnthonyWeirdEyeOneI first met Anthony “Weird Eye” One back in March 2012 at his “Colorful Eye Candy” solo show and quickly became a fan of his work. Two years later, this painter, muralist and street artist takes his intricately patterned style of “movement and motion” and evolves into “Something Wild.” Watch “Weird Eye” One discuss the upcoming show presented by Speakeasy Art Gallery and check out a sneak peek here. For more event information, visit www.weirdeyedesigns.com.

SAN JOSE, CA                                                                                                    

March 7th: “Tangible: a handprinted exhibition” at Seeing Things Gallery 30 N. Third Street from 7p – 10p

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127_SEEING-THINGS_PRESS-2

I finally got to check out Seeing Things Gallery, owned and operated by photographer Jai Tanju last month. I caught the current “Let’s Meet in the Middle” show featuring individual and collaborative mixed media artwork from husband and wife, David Imlay & Ana Carolina Pesce Imlay. This Friday, a new show, “Tangible” opens where the artists “have created photographs in the traditional sense, using their hands to make a physical object.” For more information, visit www.seeingthingsgallery.com.

FIRST FRIDAY SANTA CRUZ, CA

March 7th

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 2.12.02 AM

I couldn’t be more thrilled that Santa Cruz has tons of talented local artists and an abundance of inspiration to offer! I’m stoked to see as much as I can this Friday but really interested in trying to check out the following:

For a complete event listing, visit www.firstfridaysantacruz.com.

Art Opening: Caia Koopman’s “Gear up” at Bela La Vie Boutique & Gallery

The “Gear up” show featuring paintings by pop surrealist Caia Koopman at Rachael and Steve Caballero‘s Bela La Vie Boutique & Gallery is this Saturday, October 19 from 7-10pm at 311 E. Campbell Ave. in Campbell, CA. Come support local shops & artists if you are around!

Caia Koopman Gear Up Art Show Bela La Vie Boutique

From CaiaKoopman.com:

From the land of surf and sea, Caia Koopman has emerged as one of lowbrow’s preeminent female artists.

With a well-rounded background from her years spent obtaining her BA in Fine arts from UC Santa Cruz, to her time spent in the skateboarding and snowboarding scenes, Caia’s environment has both molded and provided an eclectic background that makes her paintings come to life. With her fine detail for beauty, inclinations toward nature, and collectiveness of the female spirit, Caia has quickly become one of the quintessential artists fully encompassing the elegance, strengths, and vulnerabilities of femininity.

Her work is alluring and has a hint of whimsy. It delves into the fascination of women, in both our conscious and subconscious ideals of the feminine role in society. Caia consistently submerses herself in subject that matter that is ingrained and full of cultural connotations.

Caia’s work is infused with a variety of cultural, political, environmental, sociological, and dreamscape references. Her influences serve as an amalgamation bringing her world to life through deliberate references and reverent imagery, with the finished work deriving strength and beauty from the artist herself. Her playfulness in her brush strokes is a constant struggle with the reality and solidity of the paint itself which comes across in her work as complimentary forces bringing together a gorgeous and powerful masterpiece.

Fresh Friday Finds: A Restless Transplant

Today’s Fresh Friday Finds on .stART here. is Foster Huntington, the man behind the photo blog A Restless Transplant. Two years ago, Huntington left his NYC corporate design gig, bought a VW van, and set off on new adventures with his camera in tow.

A Restless Transplant

Big Sur Sleepers

Foster Huntington Sunrise in Sierra

Huntington has been documenting his travels throughout North America, surfing and camping along the way. He’s been using the #vanlife hashtag, generating thousands of fans, and has an upcoming Kickstarter campaign which will hope to fund a photo book of his favorite campers seen on his over 50,000 miles and counting travels.

Kickstarter

Be inspired and follow A Restless Transplant and Foster Huntington on Facebook and Instagram!

Mountain View

Hump Day Hot Seat: Sean Was Here

SelfPort

Photo courtesy of Sean R Sullivan

1. Who Are You?

My name is Sean.  I was born in Boston.  I studied Film & Animation at RIT, Rochester, NY.  I then lived in the North End of Boston for a few years after school before moving to Miami in 2010 where I currently reside working in the advertising industry.

2. What do you do?

I take pictures of people.  I try to candidly document today’s culture, lifestyle and fashion.  I make an effort to travel often to broaden my horizons while slapping “Sean Was Here” stickers everywhere I go.  In terms of paying bills, for the past year and a half I’ve been freelancing for a handful of ad agencies taking projects on an individual basis.

3. When/Where/How did you get your start? 

My first job out of school was as an Interactive Designer/Developer at Arnold Worldwide – a large ad agency in Boston.  While I was there I was exposed to a ton of great talent and saw people doing what they loved to do, whether it was in the office or out on their own free time.  I was able to make a few friends/contacts here that would set me on the path that has led me to the position I am in today.

4. How long have you been at it?

I started my ongoing “Sean Was Here” project in 2009.

5. What is the most important thing we should know about you?

I used to be really shy and introverted (and still can be).  Only in the last few years have I really started to come out of my shell.  I guess I’ve used the camera as a tool for this.  It get’s me excited to be out and meet/interact with people.

6. Is there anyone else in your field that you particularly admire?

In the field of life, I instantly admire anyone who is out there doing what they love to do – really going for it.  It’s too easy to get lost in a life you don’t enjoy and assume you’ll get to do the things you really want to do “someday”.  Life is too short and tomorrow isn’t promised.

7. What other types of art are you in to?

Street art!  Miami really introduced me into this scene. Artist from all over the world come to Miami to paint giant murals in Wynwood.  It’s really inspiring watching them do their thing.  I’ve never met as many talented artists as I have in Miami.

8. You got any crazy hobbies or unique talents?

A side hobby of mine is 3D projection mapping.  I’ve had installations at galleries, bars, and parties around Miami.  If you’re unfamiliar with projection mapping check out this video on my vimeo page: https://vimeo.com/28094289

9. What’s your favorite vice?

Endlessly scrolling through my tumblr feed while listening to chilled out music.

10. How do you make it over the creative hump?

Take a break.  Sometimes for a couple hours, sometimes a couple days.  Eventually I’ll come back to it and it will feel fresh again.

11. You eat food? What kind? Like to cook?

I don’t like to cook much.  I’m not a foodie.  In the last couple years I’ve focused on eating to live – basically focusing on foods that exist naturally in nature, keeping it vegetarian most of the time.  As an example, for breakfast, daily, I have egg whites, oatmeal (plain), berries, and OJ.  It gives me a great start to my day.

12. Truth or Dare? Elaborate.

Truth!  I’m pretty happy with myself these days so I’m pretty comfortable with being open about my life.

13. What is your most prized possession?

My health!  I feel like a lot of people take their health for granted and complain about what they don’t have.  If you are lucky enough to be a healthy abled body person you have been given a gift. Don’t wait until you lose it to understand how valuable it is.  Everyday I wake up healthy can be considered a great day.  Anything beyond that is icing on the cake.

Sean is heading out on a Eurotrip 2013 tour soon. Sign up now to receive Sean Was Here postcards of the photos Sean will take on the road. Visit his Postcards in your mailbox project on Kickstarter!

 

Monday Funday: The Movement Art Party on 8/10

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Sic Chix Production, the ladies of THE MOVEMENT, are hosting a one-night only, pop up art party on August 10 at Port-O Lounge in Jersey City with music by DJs Carol Gunz and Murph. I’ll be showcasing and selling photographs from my S.S. Coachella 2012 trip featuring musicians like Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker, Grimes, and Alexis Krauss from Sleigh Bells.

Featured artists showing works of their own are Quim Cardona, Kris Markovich, and Jai Tanju. All artwork will be available for purchase including those by Angry Tiki God, Kaio Bordes, Jen Calle, Clyde, Dan Delle Donne, Felipe Lara, and Anthony Weirdeyeone. Come party with us, check out cool art, and support local artists. Cheers!

Like us on Facebook or email th3mov3m3nt@gmail.com for more information.

Fresh Friday Finds: Emilio Florentine

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200

Excursions, Aerosol Paint. ©Emilio Florentine

As his name suggests, Jersey City based mixed media artist Emilio Florentine is inspired by the floral. Reminding me of the classic “he loves me, he loves me not” saying, his work ironically suggests the delicate nature of flowers combined with a hard edge. Like in the aerosol paint piece, “Excursions,” Florentine’s canvas is a large wall on the interior of a building, in “Misty,” a wall outdoors, and in “Nothing to Lose,” he once again brings beauty to a brick wall using aerosol paint in a bright, cheerful palette.

Misty_EmilioFlorentine

Misty, Aerosol Paint. ©Emilio Florentine

NothingtoLose_EmilioFlorentine

Nothing to Lose, Aerosol Paint. ©Emilio Florentine

Florentine also uses colored pencils to showcase the graceful and gentle quality of his inspiration. His work expresses a duality in both it’s composition and in highlighting decomposition at the same time. In “‘Round Midnight,” his fine technique even appears to give the piece a three dimensional vibe.

RoundMidnight_EmilioFlorentine

‘Round Midnight, Colored Pencil. ©Emilio Florentine

StraightNoChaser_EmilioFlorentine

Straight No Chaser, Colored Pencil. ©Emilio Florentine

WisOWIllow_EmilioFlorentine

Will O’ the Wisp, Colored Pencil. ©Emilio Florentine

Check out this awesome video of Emilio Florentine at work from Element Tree and Serringe!