q)What is your name?
a)My name is Matt Mignanelli
q) Where do you live and work?
a)I live and work on the east side of
q)What is your creative process like?
a)My creative process always begins with observing the places and the people around me. Occasionally I'll jot down an idea I have for a painting immediately after I see something, but most times not. What seems to happen the most is while I'm working on something else or browsing the internet I'll see something that will trigger a memory from before and I'll do a loose sketch to get the idea out and then develop it further once I have the time.
I am a very firm believer in source material and I really thinks this stems from my classical training in school of good basic drawing. I sometimes spend hours gathering references for a piece before I really sit down to work up the sketch. For most of my paintings I will start with a tight sketch, of course some things will vary as I go along but I really enjoy the planning phase and then executing that plan. Whenever I draw something I always attempt to be as accurate as possible, even though it's translated into my style. For me it's all about the details. I've found over the years that these small accuracies are really what can bring a piece to life.
q)What is your favorite medium?
a)My favorite medium is acrylic paint / latex house paint. I use both in my works, usually working with house paint for the larger areas. Acrylic allows me the fast drying time, flat areas of color that I love so much and the glossy plastic feel.
While acrylic is the base of my paintings all of my black line is executed with a brush and ink. The fluidity and opacity of ink for me is unparalleled, which is also hugely important for me. When I make a brush stroke in the final stages of a piece I usually only have one shot to make it right.
q)What is your current favorite subject?
a)My favorite subject matter in my work is and always has been people. I really strive in my work to capture individual personalities and humor that develops within situations that come about in everyday life. My work is also always very much a product of my environment, so I love capturing elements that speak to the times we live in right now.
Recently in some of my new paintings I've also been focusing on light and energy. Walking home late at night from the bars through the city inspired this current exploration. It deals with raw emotion, and tries to capture the different energy that the city takes on late at night.
q)How long does it take for you to finish a piece?
a)The time I spend on a piece really varies depending on complexity and how much time goes into the planning beforehand for a piece. I would say that it ranges anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks. I usually don't work on one piece for more than a month, but lately I've been leaving some pieces unfinished and then revisiting them. I don't really like to do this though, for some reason I feel it breaks up my order a little bit. Usually I like to finish what I started before starting the next.
q)What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
a)My biggest accomplishment has been being a full-time artist for the past 3 years. Since I've finished up my studies I haven't had to work a 9 to 5 day job. It's been many late nights and weekends of working, but very much worth the rewards. It's allowed me to move forward and progress in my work at a rate that wouldn't be possible otherwise.
q)Are there any contemporary artists that you love?
a)I spend quite a bit of time looking at art and these artists are all doing exciting things right now. Josh Keyes is doing really cool work. His renderings and technical ability is just very nice, I love looking at his work. Merijn Hos /BFREE's work has got great spontaneity and energy. He keeps it fun which is what I really love. Shag has been a favorite for a long time, the paintings have such a nice feel to them in person that just isn't there on a computer screen. I sympathize with that as I feel the same thing happens with my work on a screen. Matthew Feyld's paintings have such a wonderful eerie quality and of course I love his flat color. Richard Coleman is also doing great things with patterns which I'm very into. Keegan McHargue is painting some really wonderful stuff, I enjoy his work a lot as well.
q)Can we buy your art anywhere?
a)Yes, new pieces will be available in February at Recoat Gallery in
q)Anything that people should know about that we don’t??
a)When I'm not working I love to cook! Cooking for me has become an outlet, a time when I can really focus on a result and get my mind off of work. Food is also a very common bond that we all share, there is hardly anyone that doesn't appreciate a good meal. In that sense I love how cooking and food brings people together.
I work in a very solitary environment, so getting together to eat with friends and family is always a welcomed pleasure.
q)What is your best piece of advice for those who would like to rise in their level of artistry?
a)From my experience I first needed to work, work, work until I felt my body of work as a whole was where I wanted it to be. I can't tell you how many times I've felt "OK this is getting there, I'm in a good place". If I look back at the work 4 months from now I'll say to myself, "What was I thinking?" I need to go back and pull pieces out. I think that's just part of being an artist, never quite being satisfied.
My soundest words of advice I think are: 1.) Show people the good stuff along the way, you can't just lock yourself in a hole. 2.) If you think you can't work any harder, you can. I tell myself this almost every day.3.) Be extremely persistent. Some people are going to hate what you are doing, they will talk down to you. It happens, don't let it slow you down. 4.) The most important one is get your work in front of as many people as possible. Get in touch with people, show them what you are up to. This is when things happen! 5.) Be cool! Nobody likes an asshole.
q)What inspires you to keep going when the work gets frustrating or tough?
a)Personal goals that I am constantly setting for myself always seem to keep me on track. When I'm feeling really frustrated I think of those and keep on pushing. The most important thing I think is to work through these slumps and not stop making work. I'll often try and see some exciting new work someone else is doing and this usually puts the fire back in me!
q)How do you describe your work to those who are unfamiliar with it?
a)I would describe my work as brightly colored figurative paintings, painted very flat in acrylic on birch panel.
q)What kind of training did you have which helped you achieve your current level of artistry?
a)I did 4 years of art school at the Rhode Island School of Design earning my Bachelor of Fine Arts which undoubtedly helped spur my development. I think one of the skills that school really help me develop and push to the next level was raw draftsmanship. Pencil and charcoal drawing from life. Drawing what you see. The first year of school no matter what your major was to be, everyone was forced to take the same core classes. This entailed drawing from models for 9 hours a day
I have been painting and creating for as long as I can remember. Growing up art was always my focus, and being a painter now is truly a goal that I've worked and continue to work very hard to achieve.
q)Is there a tool or material that you can’t imagine living without?
a)Well recently I've become very attached to painting with pure red sable brushes. They handle the paint differently than synthetics and make for such a nice painting experience.
q)Who are your influences?
a)My influences are a bit all over the place. One of my early influences that helped shape my style is Jim Davis who does Garfield. Growing up I always loved the way he drew, and his color. Matisse has also been an influence on me, I was exposed to his paintings at an early age and they've always fascinated me. Renaissance painting has also influenced me quite a bit, I've spent quite a bit of time traveling throughout Italy studying the old masters. I gained so much from studying it all and seeing the techniques and subject matter in person. It's quite a humbling experience.
q)What inspires you to create?
a)My inspiration to create comes from within. I love telling a good story, having a good laugh. These are the things that keep me creating, because in my paintings I'm doing just that. The drive to tell my own story in a bold colorful language that is all my own keeps me on my toes and forever inspired!