Photos by Gracie Wachtel
Days ago Le Snoot art gallery on East State Street exhibited the work of recent illustration graduate Jason Scalfano from Trinity, Alabama.
The gallery doors opened for the public at 7:30 p.m. Friday evening for Scalfano’s solo presentation. All shared free admission, drinks and a pleasant start to the weekend.
“I had been submitting things to Le Snoot shows and one day [the owner] said, ‘Do you want to do a show? We will give it to you for free.’ And I said, ‘Yes! When can we do it? Because I’m graduating,'” said Scalfano.
Despite his nerves, the event drew an impressive turn out of students and community members. Walking in and out, lingering and socializing throughout the night, they created a very successful event for the viewers, the venue and Scalfano himself.
“It drew a pretty diverse crowd. It was very upscale, great art and high quality prints,” said third-year sound design major Grant Furton from Lake Forest, Illinois.
Though he depicted a disturbing mood along the walls of the gallery, Scalfano directed the focus of the viewer to the figures and their emotions without evoking feelings of discomfort or uneasiness.
“The subject matter of each piece was creepy and macabre but still interesting. When you get a large amount of dark pieces like this, it can easily go a little too far and become cheesy or shocking for the sake of it. However, I feel this was not the case in this exhibition,” said third-year illustration major Kat Lanser from Portland, Oregon. “All the pieces exhibited were all very tasteful, subtle and thoughtful, yet they were thought-provoking and embodied a melancholic beauty.”
“The main unifying factor is the figure and an emphasis on nude and the uncanny; things that are familiar and also a little bit disturbing. [My art] is more based on subtle and emotive artworks other than factual,” said Scalfano.
Scalfano’s “Frankenstein” drew particular interest for viewers such as third-year photography major Patrick Bepko from Pratville, Alabama.
“The work as a whole had a very dark undertone, as if the artist has had a troubled past or longs for conflict in his life,” said Bepko.
“[‘Frankenstein’] is one of my favorites that I’ve done. It took a few weeks because the initial concept… this sounds crazy, but how his separate body parts might have separate memories — and I felt that was a feeling a lot of people could relate to — that some part of you doesn’t belong and why there’s the phantom limb,” said Scalfano. “So I painted these ten separate pieces at different times with different mediums and with subtle differences like texture, surface and color. Then I assembled it all into one grotesque figure. I used these photos and little photo collage pieces which represent the memories attached to each part and they all come from different people: male, female, black, white.”
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