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2/12/15

09. profile: christopher dipietro, painter


for our first profile feature, we had the opportunity to interview painter christopher dipietro and photograph his sunny studio. chris' work spans a diverse series of themes while retaining a cohesiveness in technique and palette. what became immediately evident to us while discussing his inspiration, was his passion for creating. he is incredibly focused, with a clear and strong vision.

chris holds his bfa from maryland institute college of art in baltimore, md. his work has been shown at the hallway gallery, now room 68 in provincetown. he also performs in the band quarterly with his partner, kristen drymala.



lovebird, 2013
oil and enamel on fabric-wrapped panel 11.75" x 12.5"



what are some unexpected everyday sources of inspiration?
listing a few: books, old post-cards, photography, natural light. also, working at the museum of fine arts, boston provides plenty of inspiration.

what themes or stories do you pursue in your work?
a common thread in my work is a kind of imagery that provides a good foil for my more formal, aesthetic, and painterly tendencies. when the images i choose to make have symbolic connotations or relate to my personal history in addition to this, then the picture tends to be strengthened by this relationship. for instance behind the roman nose (korea) is based on a picture of my grandfather, a korean war vet. i have returned to it again and again as an artifact of family history. i also have a long-term series going with "the end" paintings; a series of paintings of movie endings. most of my paintings have some form of graphic intervention; for instance, the geometric forms in the bird paintings, that disrupt the illusion in some way. i find this kind of pictorial tension beautiful, and satisfying to create. it can serve as a counterpoint to the illusion of space.

behind the roman nose (korea), 2014 
oil and enamel on canvas-wrapped panel, 11" x 14"


what kind of research do you do (if any) before starting a piece?
the process of painting is cumulative research in itself, and each work informs the next work. working from pre-existing images is more of a translation process so good, unique source material is important. the research in this case is more about digging and paying attention to common themes.

you are also an accomplished musician in the band quarterly. do you find this influences your visual art and vice versa? is one informed by the other, or do you look at them as separate entities?
i think they are fairly separate activities. every now and then, i will make a painting and use the title for a song, or vice versa, but i don't really think of either as an illustrative process. quarterly is with kristen, and as such, it exists in its own unique space. music is communication, whether recorded or performed, whereas i think of painting as crafting an object.

how has your work changed over time?
i think it has become stronger, and a little bolder. i don't let myself get away with anything that isn't fully realized, which is a convoluted way of saying half-assed. i think i've also been able to pursue several bodies of work at once and find the common links between them a little easier than in the past. craft has also become more important to me. i'm really concerned with clean finishes. the sides of my canvases are spotless.

what is the best piece of creative advice you've ever been given?
i have a letter from a teacher detailing at least thirty "do not..." types of advice. i think the best one was "do not take advice from people whose intentions you don't trust". needless to say i trusted him because i look at that letter often and that bit especially has served me well.

what is the best piece of creative advise you have to give?
it's basic, but if you write, play music or do anything creative it is vital to have a clean work space that is dedicated to that activity. cleanliness is even optional i suppose, but work with what you have, however small or otherwise imperfect. that's about half the battle right there.




 








if you are interested in purchasing any of chris' paintings or wish to inquire about a freelance design project, he can be reached via his website.



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