Interview with Artist Vincent Romaniello
At Museum Quality Framing, we love bringing you insight and perspectives from artists. Today, we have an interview with artist Vincent Romaniello.
Museum Quality Framing: Can you tell me a little about yourself?
Vincent Romaniello: I’ve always loved pictures and stories. My mother told me that when I was very young I would throw a fit in the supermarket isle because I wanted a magazine or a book. She liked to point out the other kids would be screaming because they wanted Cocoa Puffs or some candy.
I haven’t changed much since then. If I’m not in the studio painting, or sculpting, I’m learning a piece on piano from Scarlatti or Robert Glasper, designing a website, or reading.
I grew up in Connecticut and South Jersey, where I still have a lot of family, and when it came time to go to art school I moved to San Francisco and stayed for 14 years. Since then I’ve lived in a suburb of Philadelphia and New York.
In 2008 I started a studio touring group that became an artist co-op, sageprojects.blogspot.com. In 2009 we ran a full time gallery space together and presented the work of over 250 artists.
These days my wife Lisa and I both work a lot but occasionally we go to a gallery opening or out to have a beer in Brooklyn. There are a lot of great restaurants and bars here. On weekends we try and spend time with our family and friends which usually involves cooking.
MQF: Your blog features many different pieces of art. How do you choose which artists to feature?
VR: As diverse as the art is there’s so much more that I can’t get to or I don’t post because it doesn’t appeal to me. I’ve become much more open-minded over the years but like everyone I still have preferences. I show photographs that I shoot of art that catches my eye and let the readers make up their own minds as to whether they like something or not.
I get quite a few press releases for exhibitions in my email box these days and I use some of those in addition to the exhibitions I photograph. By sharing on my blog and on Facebook I hope to help get the word out about the artists and galleries I feature. It’s one way that I can contribute to my community too.
Initially I started a vlog in 2004 posting videos I shot of artists from the Philadelphia and New York area mostly. Video equipment became very affordable at that time, Internet video streaming became a reality, and I felt because of my training and experience as an art director and designer I could take advantage of these developments. Since then I’ve made over 60 videos.
MQF: Your work often combines 2D - drawing, painting - with 3D - folding cardboard, large sketchbooks. What do you find interesting about working in multiple mediums and dimensions?
VR: I became more involved in creating 3D work for a few reasons. Mainly it was because I like the way that 3D along with 2D work activates a space. I also became more interested in creating immersive environments instead of singular works. In New York in the early 90's I saw quite a few good shows where artists who were known primarily as painters included sculpture in their exhibitions and I really liked what I saw. Of course that tradition goes back further with artists like Miro and Picasso, and artists before them.
One example is a series of work that I made called Furrows where I use natural pigments suspended in gesso to make wall pieces. Along with those paintings I made sculptural pieces using similar materials and parameters that I set up for myself.
Another example of combining 2D - drawing, painting - with 3D are the oversize, political works on paper. When the economy crashed in 2008 I was forced to see what I could do with recycled materials and make a statement about what was happening politically at the same time.
I also did a body of work with repurposed materials I had left over from working on our house and from things I found.
MQF: How would you describe your art style?
VR: I don’t think of my work as fitting into a style. If anything I probably use a number of styles. My work has become more idea based and I use whatever materials and methods that I need to realize a project.
I start off by exploring different ideas I have or by experimenting with materials. Some of the best ideas have come from things I found on the street. Once I feel I have an idea worthy of spending years developing I create a body of work.
If there are threads running through the different bodies of my work it would be that I care about the integrity of the materials, even though some of it is found, and I strive for a certain level of skill.
More recently there’s a kind of black humor in the work, like in the Village Drones. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle use is a serious subject we should be talking about more. But I think there’s something fun the way the drawings include organic and mechanical parts. The characters I create like the Goth Drone, BeeWare and others have a comic side to them. I’m currently making Baby Drone Air Fresheners. I am hoping to get thousands of people to hang them from their car mirrors to send a message that we should be vigilant about drone use. Plus, it would look cool.
MQF: Tell me about a recent work that you're especially proud of.
VR: The most recent would be the Doodle Paintings. On the surface they might seem lighthearted but doodles are symbols and symbols carry meaning. Because I’m using discarded cardboard as a support, that can suggest topics like consumer waste and littering. Individual pieces have unique messages like the yin-yang, lightning bolts, and clouds, some have cryptic text and other seem to be mindless scribbles. I find the idea of unconscious or unintentional art making very interesting.