Anthony Granato, an artist from Salt Lake City, UT, creates artwork that embraces many mediums, including painting (both acrylic and oil), illustration, digital and sculptural. Each painting is designed with a beautiful vintage frame in mind, adding beauty and a subtle decorative quality to each piece. Granato spoke with ArtSeen about his artwork, inspirations and artistic processes.
Can you tell us a little about your artwork, artistic process, and what types of artistic materials you use?
I suffer from what I call "Art ADD." It stems from a intrinsic love of all artistic disciplines. When I was in college, I was all over the road. Of course, I had my majors but I veered like crazy to experience all that the arts could offer. I knew that it was crucial for me to incorporate all that I loved into the construction of each piece. In any given painting I have fused drawn, photographed, digital and sculpted elements into the composition in addition to acrylics and oils.
Here's how my process works: I start with an antique frame, the motifs and colors speak to me and that is my launching pad for the concept of the image. After designing a layout on the computer, I print a Giclee and mount it on board. To provide a solid painting ground, I then coat the mounted print in acrylic matte medium three to four times. Once that has dried, I do a loose and messy underpainting in acrylic. At this point, it's show time... I finish the piece in oils. Once the painting has dried, I'll apply a Liquin clear-coat to preserve it.
The frames are then either re-beautified, distressed or left in their current condition based on the look I desire.
What inspires you as an artist? Why do you create art?
Everything inspires me. I'll notice that when I'm speaking to a person I'm painting their face in my head. The way that the light is hitting their nose or the way that a lady's hair is cascading off her shoulder will inspire me to capture that moment. I create art because I have to. There is no choice in the matter. I have an inner voice that needs to constantly be heard and the way it chooses to express itself is in creating paintings.
What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore within in your artwork?
Social commentary tends to be what I gravitate towards. However, at times I feel like I need to get off my soap-box and just let imagery come to me without the social, political, or emotional issues. So, at that point I find myself diving into an objective "what will look cool together?" type of mind-set.
Dichotomies are especially important to my work and the way I compose my paintings. The marriage of contemporary and antique, beautiful and ugly or pristine and distressed always fuel my fire for creativity. It also provides a nice challenge within every piece to make it cohesive and harmonize.
Are there any artists that inspire you? If so who would they be and why?
Hell yes! There are an insane amount of artists that inspire me. Frank Gonzales, Lara Dann, Richard Salcido, Thomas Kitts, Soey Milk, Hogan Kimbrell, Dave MacDowell, Lee Harvey Roswell and hundreds more (obviously I'm having a brain-fart on the rest... or I'm just lazy). What they all have in common is their unflinching commitment to their dream and vision not to mention their incredible artistry.
What do you think the role of the artist is?
To bring people into a consciousness within themselves. To assist humans in truly connecting with concepts, emotions and values that resonate down to the core of ones' being. The power and seduction of artistry has a major role in life and humanity... And of course, to entertain.
What do you want viewers to walk away with when they view your artwork?
I want them to walk away with what resonates to them. I can only say what each piece means to me. I'm always fascinated to hear what each viewer observes when they experience my work.
And finally, what advice would you give to other artists?
Ignore the bullshit that society, the economy and other negative influences have to say about you or your work. Put it all out there: Yourself, your work, your passion and your desires. Self-doubt is a killer and so is allowing other's toxic beliefs to poison your drive. As I say: "Own It, Live It, Love It!"
All images provided by Anthony Granato.