lunedì 23 novembre 2009
Interview with Salvatore Scrivo
q)Please tell us a brief info about yourself.
a)I am 61 years old. I was born and raised in Freeport, NY, a suburb of New York City, right after World War II. I was the only child. I have been married for 40 years and have 3 children who are all grown. For the past 5 years since my retirement from teaching elementary school, I have become a full-time working artist. I like to make sculptures which are diorama boxes. When I am not doing that I am making paintings which are usually large and have a three dimensional element to them. My favourite subject matter is Greco-Roman mythology, Bible stories and/or Fairy Tales. They emphasize human interaction and the dynamics that people have with each other.
q)Tell us about your humble beginnings, When did you you first realized that you wanted to be an artist?
a)When I was 2 or 3 years old, I saw a documentary on television about marionette making. While other little boys wanted to be firemen, or baseball players when they grew up, I found myself wanting to be a puppet maker like Geppetto in the story Pinocchio. There seems to be something in my genes, because I come from a long line of creative people. My father designed monuments and my mother was an amateur painter. My grandfather was a composer and my grandmother was a concert pianist. My parents used to like to paint together and they bought me a little easel so that I could work along with them. So while they were making landscapes with oil paints I was drawing happy faces with tempra.
q)What are your tools of the trade and why?
a)Paintbrushes and canvases, acrylic clay, polymer paints, acrylic paint, decorative papers, bees wax, conte crayons, gold leaf, you name it, whatever it takes to complete a work. The term mixed media really applies to me. I also like using found objects.
q)Who or what gives you inspiration on your morbid art?
a)Well, life is a dish that is both bitter and sweet. So when I create a work of art I like to have elements of both extremes. My inspiration is drawn from human interaction, there is usually good and bad, positive and negative. When mixed, these offer an interesting story. When you put the darker side next to sweet and lovely, it enhances the visual taste of the message you are trying to put forth. Usually my works are illustrations of Greek myths or Fairy Tales. These embody the hopes, wants and challenges of everyone’s life. Hopefully everyone can see a little bit of themselves in each work of art that I do. In my shadow box The Death of Hyacinth, the hero the God Apollo, expresses both anxiety and remorse after he realizes he has killed his best friend Hyacinth by accident. Everybody has made a mistake in their own life that was done inadvertently and at the same time experiences guilt from it. Visually, a lot of things inspire me like church art, the Mannerist movement of the 1500’s and pop art. I like combining elements from these to make an interesting visual statement.
q)Is your artistic background self-taught or did you go to college to study?
a)A combination of both. My college education taught me some things, but actually most of my abilities have been acquired through trial and error and just jumping in and doing it myself and learning from my mistakes. I feel you learn more from failure than success. But if you never have any success you have no motivation.
q)How do you keep “fresh” within your industry?
a)I am constantly researching artists. I make trips to New York City 2 or 3 times a year and I am constantly finding out about the newest innovations in art supplies.
q)What are some of your current projects?
a)Right now I am working on a combination piece based on the image of St. Sebastian combined with a Victorian knick knack shelf. I’m also doing a new sculptural box called Sweet Laudanum which I am likening to a fairy tale image of a girl confronted by a massive amount of delicious candy. Laudanum was a Victorian era drug.
q)Which of your works are you the most proud of? And why?
a) Whatever my latest work is. It’s almost like the birth of a new child, while you are creating it and in its conception, you fall totally in love with it.
q)Are there any areas, techniques, mediums, projects in your field that you have yet to try?
a)I would like to start creating three dimensional art installations that would go along with any gallery shows I might be involved in. I want to get involved with more complicated pieces that incorporate both painting and sculpture.
q)What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?
a)Because I have dedicated the first thirty three years of my adult life to my job, the build up of wanting to be a creating artist keeps spewing forth and so far I haven’t had that problem. I’m also constantly stimulating myself as an artist by visiting art museums and galleries, and the art section of bookstores.
q)How do you spend most of your free time?
a)Books, movies. Im interested in many things like flea markets, antique shops and hanging out with my wife and two Boston Terriers. I enjoy looking at the objects in the flea market and getting inspiration from them. Right now I am taking a trompe l'oeil class with my wife, with a great artist named John Yerger.
q)What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?
a)I enjoy the Mannerist painters 1520-1580 and the pop art artists of the 1960s. I also like the Pre Raphaelites, Art Deco, Mexican Retablos, and I’m crazy for the Pop Surrealists, especially Mark Ryden and Ray Cesar.
q)We really like some of your pictures, how can we get our hands on them? Do you sell them? How?
a)I sell my work through shows that I am in and also anyone can contact me directly through my website salvatorescrivo.com.