Tag Archives: photographer

Western Queens artist Gildo discusses road to success

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Greg Testo


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.



Local artists to capture Astoria in new exhibition

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo by Maria Belford

Astoria is ready for its photo op.

Artists, friends and Astoria residents Maria Belford and Sara Sciabbarrasi have come together to showcase their admiration for the western Queens neighborhood in a new exhibition opening this Sunday at the Long Island City café COFFEED, located at 37-18 Northern Blvd.

The show called “FACES & FIGURES: Art from Astoria,” which will have a June 22 opening reception from 7 to 10 p.m. and run until June 29, will feature photographs by Belford and bronze and steel sculptures by Sciabbarrasi.

The name of the exhibition comes from the idea that the photographs show figures of people more than their faces and Sciabbarrasi’s sculptures explore the detail and aesthetics of the human face, according to Belford.

Drain, 2011. Bronze, steel, wax & hair sculpture (Sculpture by Sara Sciabbarrasi)

“I am really excited about this exhibition in particular because it is in Queens and close to my neighborhood,” said Belford, who decided to organize the exhibition with Sciabbarrasi, her roommate, because she wanted to showcase another local artist. “I wanted to have something new and different. It’ll show the juxtaposition of the two different mediums.”

Belford, originally from New Hampshire, is a street/documentary photographer who said she looks to capture the mysterious side of strangers, allowing the viewer to see the image and make up their own story in their head.

“It’s all about capturing the moment. I’ve always been interested in the kind of spontaneous types of photos that one moment are there and the next they are gone,” Belford said. “A lot of my best photos come from days that I haven’t been actively shooting. I can’t really plan for anything ahead of time. I really don’t know what I will get when I go out.”

Although Belford snaps photos from all over the world, she said the exhibition will showcase photos she has taken of strangers in her Astoria neighborhood.

30th Ave, Astoria, Queens 2014 (Photo by Maria Belford)

“I can walk out of my door and see a wide array of people outside every single day,” Belford said. “It’s really interesting to see different types of people, old and young.”

All photographs and sculptures presented at the exhibition will be available for purchase.

For more information on the artists visit www.mariabelford.com and www.saradart.blogspot.com.



LIC veteran, photographer joins 70th D-Day anniversary in Normandy

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo by Troy Benson


Tony Vaccaro, a Long Island City resident, WWII veteran and photographer, traveled to Normandy Friday for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, which cost over 3,000 Americans their lives.

Although there were a large number of American veterans at the June 6 commemorations, Vaccaro holds a special place because an exhibition of his war photography is the centerpiece in the The Mémorial de Caen museum in Caen, Normandy.

Photos by Tony Vaccaro

He spent time with President Barack Obama and President François Hollande of France and was honored for his contributions to the commemorations. After the D-Day ceremonies his exhibition will tour other French cities and Vaccaro is already the subject of a film made for French television.

“I’m honored to have been invited to this event and it provides me with the opportunity to remember my fellow American soldiers who did not return from these savage battles,” Vaccaro said.

After the D-Day landings Vaccaro took part in the major battles which took him and his brother soldiers from Northern France to the fall of Berlin, carrying his camera and taking what would become award-winning photographs.




Piece by Piece, Frame by Frame; Jorge Posada explores the outside

| smosco@queenscourier.com


Our view of art tends to be restricted to the work residing within the frame. The artist decides to start or stop at a certain point, and the audience must find meaning somewhere within that – and that alone.

This is the conventional way in which the world views art. But of course, artists will view art in their own way. With the gears in their brain turning, many artists see beyond the frame and into a reality that dwells somewhere on the fine line between abstraction and figurativism.

Jorge Posada is a painter, sculptor, printmaker and photographer working out of a studio in LIC since 1997. The Columbian native first came to the U.S. in 1984 and was merely passing through New York on his way to Paris. But there was something about the city that hooked him almost immediately. He found a kinship with the artist community and a base to create his art.

“I found friends here who were all from the art world. These were friends I didn’t even know I had. And all of a sudden, I got the idea to stay here,” said Posada, who initially lived in Woodside, but now lives in Hell’s Kitchen. “Everything you need to learn about the art world, you can learn in New York. The support system here is the reason to stay.”

Deciding to stay in New York, and work in LIC, has given Posada a front row view of the many changes that have swept the western Queens landscape. The biggest change he’s seen is in the demographics of the area, as LIC’s population has gone from warehouse workers hauling cement to young parents pushing baby strollers.

Some of his favorite places have disappeared, with new high rises sprouting up in their place. He’s not sure if it’s for better or worse yet, but he believes the old and the new can coexist in harmony.

“I don’t want the character of the area to get lost,” he said. “The new buildings should coexist with the industrial area and the neighborhood houses.”

The old mingling with the new – this is a subject very prevalent in Posada’s life. His current focus, a project he dubbed “Fragmenting Rubens,” takes the work of artist Peter Paul Rubens and goes beyond the frame. Here, Posada delves deeply into an invisible world rich with potential. In order to achieve this, the artist needed to see the original work firsthand.

Posada made his first visit to Antwerp, Belgium in 2004. Its cathedral hosts two masterpieces by Rubens, which are shown at both sides of the altar: The Raising and the Decent from the Cross. Since that first visit, Posada has been extensively sketching those two altarpieces. He felt transported by the uniqueness of the work and was moved to create work on his own.

After many hours of observation and study of Rubens’ work, he made numerous sketches in order to understand the structure, the composition and the drama contained in their pictorial space. Then he decided to launch himself into a very challenging project: to give his own interpretation and deconstruction of those paintings.

The pieces are both abstract and figurative, as the image of the human body contorts around the light and the dark with colors surrounding, bringing life and movement to the work.

“The body is a communication device. It is able to express feelings of happiness, sadness, depression and joy. It is full of movements and expression. It is alive and it dances,” he said. “This body is the only one we will have our entire life. When the body is violated in any way, it is an invasion of the only sacred possession we have.”

Posada’s sacred body of work, while highly involved, does not necessarily adhere to a strict schedule. He never follows any set schedule to be creative – he finds that impossible. He arrives in his LIC studio around 10 a.m., gets comfortable and basically just “hangs out” with the work until something strikes him – though sometimes he has to leave the studio in order to coax that strike.

“I always carry a sketchbook, and if I have an idea or a burst of inspiration, I throw it down in a fast and simple way,” he said. “An artist’s job is not just to paint. One must understand the continuous process of painting. The point isn’t to know when the painting is finished … the point is to stop.”

Posada said that if he doesn’t stop himself, he could potentially paint the same piece forever.

“That is so dangerous,” he said. “You can work on one piece so much that you end up hating it. If I’m having trouble with a piece, I leave it alone. I cover it for two or three weeks and then I go back and look at it with fresh eyes. Sometimes that is when I know a piece is truly finished.”

Considering himself a draftsman at heart, Posada relishes the opportunity to fill his sketchbook with ideas and musings, regardless if the sketches ever actually pan out into anything usable. That is of small consequence to Posada – he will paint and he will create because it is his life.

“I disconnect from everything when I create,” he said. “Art is very vital to me. It is like breathing. It moves me to clarify what I want to say. And it is necessary to explain myself and find ways to do it.”

Any art reviewer on the receiving end of one of Posada’s “explanations” need not see eye to eye with the artist. As he doesn’t always like every corner of other works, he doesn’t expect every audience to grab hold and be inspired by what he presents to them.

“You can’t make people feel something, but the hope is that they find some kind of connection in the frame of my feelings,” he said. “Maybe they don’t feel what I felt, maybe they feel something else. That’s ok. I want them to feel something, but first I want them to question.”

Ever-evolving, Posada is constantly on the search for new ways to approach art and life. And in order to do that, to move beyond the frame, he believes questioning the self is the only way.

“To question the self is what is most important,” he said. “When you question, you are evolving.”

Check out Posada’s work at www.posadastudiogallery.blogspot.com.