Interview with Ken Vallario
a)New Paltz, New York - United States
q)How did you get started making art?
a)When I was a boy I started drawing comic book heroes, Batman, Daredevil, Spiderman, etc. I was fascinated by the human body. When I was a teenager I started using paints, but I became more interested in fine art, Salvador Dali and Michelangelo and fantasy artists like Frank Frazetta. I believed as a child that I could be a famous artist so I committed myself to studying the great artists in history and fashioning my life after them.
q)How would you describe your art?
a)My art is an attempt at synthesis, a reorganizing of the fractured parts of 20th century art-making. It is both a celebration of the great traditions as it is an enthusiasm for this great age of human history. Just as scientists seek a unified theory to explain both the macrocosm and the microcosm I am attempting in my art to find bridges between the pre-modern romanticism and the modern fixation with the picture plane and the post-modern idealisation of personal perspective.
In my work there is almost always a figure, a person seeking self awareness or realization, a coming together of threads, strings, globs, cubes, or symbols. Whereas the figure of the 20th century was an outward explosive movement, the figures in a Vallario painting are a unifying manifestation of awareness, a gravity is sought, weight, real and resurrected form.
q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?
a)I am inspired by greatness, that greatness that defines itself and remains alive in history. Great artists, great teachers, great leaders, human beings that seek to transcend the limits imposed on them, this is the role of the artists, to look at a blank canvas, a limited plane and to create something new, a miraculous thing, and when I see the miraculous around me I hunger to experience it myself.
q)What other artists inspire you?
a)Rembrandt is my Rabbi.
Dali is my priest.
Picasso is my devil.
q)Where can someone purchase your works?
a)Please contact me via email or telephone if you would like to purchase a painting. All the necessary information is on my website;
I have various shows throughout the year at galleries in New York and Philadelphia. Email me if you would like to be placed on my mailing list.
q)What is your main medium of choice?
a)All of my paintings are hi-pigmented liquid acrylic paints on canvas.
q)What are you working on now?
a)I am finishing up a painting that features the greek serpent goddess Medusa, but it is an attempt to depict her in sympathetic form, as though she is transforming into goodness. It’s not done, so it is still difficult to describe the idea.
q)What advice could you give to someone who wants to be an artist?
a)Carry your sketchbook with you at all times.
Being an artist is a life-journey, not a destination, expect sacrifice.
Study greatness and avoid the obscure.
Sobriety is helpful. The self-destructive artist myth destroys great talents.
q) What are you doing when you are not creating art?
a)I love movies. I am writing a novel. I play with my dog and take care of my pregnant wife.
I also shovel snow and work on my house.
q) What does music, in its entirety, mean to you?
a)Music, art and philosophy, are interchangeable words. Great art is musical and great music is artful, and all of it is driven by deep and poetic philosophy. But music as an art-form is for me a rhythmic thing. All of my favourite musicians, Led Zeppelin, Eminem, Pearl Jam, Wyclef Jean, they work to create climactic dramatic songs, that explode, that almost fall completely apart, out of control, but their talents are so deep that they manage to maintain high levels of complexity and weave within it raw and vulnerable emotions. We like those things that we would make ourselves if we could. All artistic appreciation is really an appreciation of self, and in these musicians I see what I would have been if I had been born with a musical talent.
q) What does art, in its entirety, mean to you?
a)Art is celebration, a ceremony that one performs in gratitude for our opportunity to exist. Art connects people rather than divides, art uplifts rather than debases, art is what gives us hope in our darkest times.
q) Are there some web sites that You would like to recomend? Artists, art communities, xxx,...!?
a)How about books:
Rilke - Letters to a Young Poet
Martin Buber -- I and Thou
Salvador Dali - 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship
Alduous Huxley - The Perennial Philosophy