Sunday, May 22, 2011

Vince Contarino

This week I went to Vince Contarino's studio in DUMBO. He is a current participant in the Marie Walsh Sharpe Studio Program. Vince has one of the big spaces in the center of the building. It's enough to make your mouth water. Contarino's work really shines in there. It was such a treat to spend the afternoon drawing it.

As I sat down to draw, Vince began to work.  His paintings are very concentrated on the presence of the hand without an overt self consciousness on the mark making itself. I was fascinated. It is almost like he takes turns expressively putting paint on the canvas and diligently cleaning it up. The tension of this push and pull tells a certain story of abstraction.

Contarino had made a kind of altar using works of his in black and white, photos and printed matter. His flat file acts as the centerpiece.

We listened to a lot of rock and roll while I was there. He talked about music's role in his studio, getting him into the zone.

Vince: I have to have music on while I am working. I can't work without it.

Throughout the afternoon Vince and I discovered all that we have in common besides our love of painting. We both grew up in the same part of Florida; fishing, hanging by the beach, and gater spotting. The Gulf Coast is a very special place.

Vince: When I visit Florida my family always flies me home with a bunch of fish that they caught; there is nothing like it.
His color is thought out, but not over-worked, just like the paintings themselves. I love the collection of colors he has mixed and keeps track of on a grid-like list on a pillar in his studio.

Vince: My steed!

We also got to talking quite a bit about his various other projects. He told me about the show he had just put together with Kris Chatterson through their joint blog Progress Report. The show was called The Working Title and was at the Bronx River Art Center. He shared with me this really cool catalogue they made for The Working Title, with Jon Lutz's questions for the artists and opening comments. You can find it at blurb.

Contarino expressed how wonderful it has been for him being in the Sharpe Studios. I would say he is totally thriving in there. I am excited to keep following his work after my close look at it. You can see his paintings at Also check out KCLOG, another art related blog he works on with Chatterson and others. Go Florida!

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