Thursday, October 04, 2007

Art Space Talk: Vincent Como

We are pleased to announce that Vincent Como is one of the four winners of the NY, NY, Competition. He and the three other artists were chosen from a group of 50 finalists. The team would like to thank the jurors-- Jessica Morgan (Tate Modern), James Rondeau (Art Institute of Chicago), and Steven Zevitas (New American Paintings). We would also like to thank everyone who participated in the competition.

Vincent Como focuses on the color black with his work. In a sense, he explores the significance of black through projects that involve drypoint prints, drawings and a cube cast in ink. Vincent creates thought provoking works that blend concept and technique by investigating the artistic, scientific and cultural significance of the color black.

Things in My Studio That Make Black- Every available medium in my studio at the time which makes black, 22 x 30in, Mixed media on paper

Brian Sherwin: Vincent, you are one of the Finalists of the NY, NY, Competition. How does it feel to know that the jurors-- Jessica Morgan (Tate Modern), James Rondeau (Art Institute of Chicago, and Steven Zevitas (New American Paintings) selected you as a winner? Where were you at when you found out? Also, why did you decide to enter the NY, NY, Competition in the first place?

Vincent Como: I moved to New York (Brooklyn) about a year ago from Chicago, where I had spent the previous 9 years, so I have been pretty familiar with the exceptional curatorial work James Rondeau has been doing at the Art Institute. I've also been very familiar with the New American Paintings publication for many years and while comparatively, I wasn't nearly as familiar with Jessica Morgan's work, I certainly know about the Tate's programming and reputation. So as far as the decision to enter the competition it was really based on the quality of the Jury. To have an opportunity for these three professionals to view and assess my work was not something I'd pass up willingly, so with regard to my feelings on being one of the four selected by this jury it's definitely an honor.

History Of Painting- Series of 40 drawings chronicling the history of painting as an object, 11 x 8.5 in. each, Gouache and Ink on Paper

BS: Vincent, tell us about the work you submitted. Why did you decided on those five images?

VC: I felt that these particular works represented pretty well the whole of what it is I'm trying to accomplish with Black. Dark Matter relates to the scientific investigations, the History of Painting series of drawings relates to, well the history of painting. Basically taking the idea of contextual elements applied to works of art and exploring their impact on the reading of said work, as it has been done throughout history with different aesthetic stylizations. 4.5 cubic inches (Volume of the inside of my head) is a cast block of sumi ink which corresponds both to the idea of my head being filled with blackness, and also as an independent object a very miniature black "monolith" making reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey. Things in My Studio That Make Black is an ongoing drawing project which basically describes my studio practice. It depicts the materials I have on hand at the moment to make these Black works, and every few years I have occasion to re-visit the project with a slightly different format and somewhat different materials depending on what I've been working on. Black, Darkness, Matter is a drawing which explores the different facets of my ongoing investigation. Not unlike Solid liquid and gas, these are properties that I am interested in exploring and applying to the work I do.

4.5 Cubic in. (Volume of the Inside of My Head), 4.5x4.5x4.5 in, Cast Sumi Ink

BS: Vincent, what are you working on at this time?

VC: Why, I'm working on making things Black, of course... The Dark Matter drawing is the first in a series of three large-scale drawings accompanied by footnotes containing tertiary information, which reference properties of Black Holes/Dark Matter/Dark Energy so I'm continuing into the second of these, as well as a series of black monochrome paintings utilizing classical oil painting techniques. Then the ever-present research into all things Black, which is a mainstay of my studio practice. I've spent alot of time this past summer reading up on alchemical practices, particularly because of the Mandalas which they generate to describe and categorize different properties and transformations. I've been sketching out some thoughts on how to apply this to mapping out different properties of Black, Darkness, Matter etc. That's the most recent development.

BS: Vincent, tell us about your educational background. Where did you study art? Who were you mentors?

VC: I went through the Cleveland Institute of Art's rigorous 5-year BFA program, majoring in Drawing and also studied alot of Printmaking. I think the instructors I had the most interaction with, and the most discourse with were Holly Morrison, Ralph Woehrman, and Michael Houlihan. All of whom had a focus toward Print/Drawing.

BS: Vincent, what artists-- or art movements-- have influenced your work?

VC: I'm very fond of the Arte Povera Movement which was happening in Italy, with Kounnellis, Merz, Pistoletto etc. I'm very fond of what Spencer Finch is currently doing. I'm really interested in the specifics of his thinking process and how that translates into the works. The obvious influences are the Malevich, Reinhardt, Black Square Mafia who I'm also greatly indebted to.

Dark Matter- The first in a series of large-scale drawings referencing Black Holes accompanied by smaller drawings as "footnotes", 75 x 116 overall, Guoache on paper with additional drawing

BS: Vincent, can you tell us about your artistic philosophy? What are the motives... the thoughts... behind your work?

VC: To put it very simply, I'm really interested in Black. I'm interested both in the challenges of working with what many consider an absolute, and in doing so, I'm interested in how to keep challenging myself to bring in something new to the conversation about black...

BS: Vincent, tell us about your studio space? Do you work in silence or do you listen to music? Do you follow a routine when you are working on your art? What is it like to be in the studio of Vincent Como?

VC: I have a modest studio in Brooklyn that's a pretty straightforward white cube with a wall dedicated to shelves and storage for finished work and supplies. I work directly on a wall for larger pieces and have a table for smaller projects. Pretty much the first thing I do after entering the studio is plug my MP3 player into the speakers, usually before taking off a coat or doing anything else. And yes, there is a great deal of Heavy Metal that can be heard on the other side of my walls, but it all depends on what I'm working on that day, and how well a project is going. So it could vary from Om and Electric Wizard to the Velvet Underground or the Smiths to Bach or Ornette Coleman.

I'm pretty much nothing without a routine. I'm in my studio at some point almost every day and it's the only way I've found that works for me. It took a couple of years out of school to realize that I really needed to put myself in that head-space every day in order to keep the momentum of a project going and to make more fluid the progression from one series or project to the next without a huge gap in the process. So even if I'm spending alot of time reading and researching I try to do it at the studio to be in the space and really engage the space as a dedicated space to "Making things Black".

Black, Darkness, Matter, Mixed Media on Paper

BS: Vincent, can you tell us more about your artistic process? How do you start a piece?

VC: I guess part and parcel to the engagement of the studio space, the beginnings of the works are very often just notes scribbled on index cards as I read or strange blurbs/phases that i hear. There is usually a pretty long gestation period while I'm working on a project the next series is always at the back of my mind, so when I've completed the physical production of a show or series of work I'm pretty well ready to try and answer any questions I've thought of in the interim and get started in laying out the next ones. That's the Cliff Notes version, but it usually happens over the course of several months or for some thoughts even years rolling around in the back of my mind until something sparks and the right thing falls into place.

BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art?

VC: I'm pretty pleased with the direction of my work and feel that I have alot of ground to still cover with regard to the focus on Black/Darkness, so I hope a few of the readers will check in from time to time and come along for the ride.

Thank you reading my interview with Vincent Como. You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--

Take care, Stay true,

Brian Sherwin


Ebenezer Archer Kling said...

Very good interview. Rather illuminating.

Ljubomir Vučinić said...

bravo V C find out more about your work Ljubomir Vucinic