Western Queens artist Gildo discusses road to success

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Gildo, who was born and raised in Astoria, began his love affair with photography when he was 13 and was gifted a 35mm camera. Photo by Greg Testo
Gildo, who was born and raised in Astoria, began his love affair with photography when he was 13 and was gifted a 35mm camera.

ALAN CAPPER

In a successful arts-based community like Long Island City, it is sometimes hard for an individual artist to stand out from the crowd. But an artist named Gildo has achieved this breakthrough through his breathtaking sense of creative purpose and the wide spectrum of his creative activities.

Just listing his activities is not enough. It is the in-depth approach he takes to each of them that gives him individual and collective recognition. From photography to joining the committee to develop color themes for lighting the Hell Gate Bridge, there is virtually no aspect of the visual arts that he does not touch.

Gildo was born and raised in Astoria, where he still lives with his Japanese wife. He began his love affair with photography when he was 13 and was gifted a 35mm camera. His passion for fashion photography led him to a degree from FIT and a successful career working in fashion and photographing some of New York’s top fashion models.

“I was a Long Island City guy who began practicing photography in Manhattan,” he said. That world took him to Studio 54 where he mingled with Andy Warhol and his glamorous set.

Not surprisingly he was very impressed by Warhol and still very much admires his work. “He borrowed Americana and made it his own,” says Gildo.

In fact, Gildo has used Warhol’s technique in a ten-framed painting using the style he learned from him. It is a retrospective of large photographs on canvas with primary and secondary colors. He calls the work “Andy à la Andy.” It’s Gildo’s intention to sell the piece and produce a limited number of prints to sell to Warhol admirers, too.

Among the iconic subjects he has photographed are Donald Trump, Calvin Klein, Henry Kissinger, Jack Lemmon, Kathleen Turner, Richard Branson, Philip Johnson, Sophia Loren and Jeremy Irons.

In the ‘90s he developed a modeling career and became an extensive traveler, visiting over 28 countries.

He is finishing a project with the Government of Montserrat Museum of Photography called “Paradise Not Lost: The Ghost Project After Hugo and Before the Volcano.”

He has returned home to his roots for his latest project, which includes black and white film and digital photographs of the Astoria/Long Island City area called “Then and Now, Forty Years Later.” He is also working on a retro photo expo of Roosevelt Island.

Whatever he does in the future, you can be sure that diversity will be a key component of his work.

For more information visit gildo.com.

 

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