Change, that is what Gianna DiBartolomeo is constantly looking for. Change in the materials used and the way her work will impact you. It’s an ambitious and courageous approach to creating. Many artists stick to one discipline often afraid to make too many changes and step beyond their comfort zone. However, Gianna, views change as a way to make things better. Her process with change involves identifying excess, removing it and honing in on the bare bone essentials. We visited Gianna at her studio at the FIU campus. It’s a space reflective of this constant change and of which every inch is used for her many different installations. Recently, she used entire the space to build out an installation that required only one material - painter’s tape. Using simple materials in unexpected ways marks the essence of her work. Regardless of her approach, her goal is to deliver art for us to stare, ponder and unite over shared emotions.
What's your earliest memory in art?
I recently went through family photos, and for some reason, I always had a pencil in my hand and I was holding it up, so that was really strange. There is photographic evidence of that. As a professional, it would be when I went to college and took a class with Professor Clive King, it just changed the way I looked at art and I knew in that moment that this is what I wanted to do. He had a big influence in me becoming an artist.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Locally, the guys at Laundromat for sure. It's always fun to go over there. Brilliant minds over there in one collective space. There are several of my professors that I admire their work. Pip Brant is one. She views embroidery as painting, so that's been very helpful in my work. Jacek Kolasinski, his work is so interesting, very conceptual.
Of really well know artist, I know he gets a lot of flak, but I love Damien Hirst. I'm mean come on, who thinks of these things! The other artist is Tara Donovan. She uses really simple objects like foam cups staked into beautiful landscapes. Straws and pencils put together in really beautiful ways.
How would you describe your art?
I say I'm a mix media artist who uses ordinary materials in unpredictable ways. The subject matter in my work is always tied to personal memories. I'm really talking about everyday things and emotions that everyone can connect to. I'm reliving those experiences and feelings on a different level. I'm an abstract artist. I like the abstraction of my work because I can hide in plain sight. I may be talking about the deepest, darkest, lightest thing I want to say, but still hidden and open to interpretation. I like many different mediums, but right now I'm in love with the embroidery. I love the process and gets me into a zone.
What is your creative process?
I think there is always an idea first and then I'm constantly thinking about the materials I use to convey the idea I'm working through. Sometimes you work through a piece and say this is not working. I think I'm always working on eliminating and trying to say what I'm going to say, with as few elements as possible. No clutter. I love the pieces I'm working on, I think they are great pieces, but for me it's still not "it." You never stop honing it.
Who had the biggest influence in your art?
I would have to say that FIU undergrad had a large influence. I didn't come from an art background when I got started but my professors embraced me and challenged me.
Item you use the most in the studio?
The needle. It's always simple. Tread, or in the current project it's tape.
What are you working on, any shows or projects?
I currently have two shows. One in Wynwood called "On the Edge of Urban." I have a solo show at Northern Trust in Key Biscayne. I'm having a group MFA show in Doral and then Art Basel craziness. I'll be showing at Superfine.
What do you want do accomplish with your art?
That's a tough question. You want to be that person that makes the art, that makes those micro changes for someone. For people to connect.