Vinny Picardi is a successful fine art and advertising photographer based in Los Angeles, CA, who has exhibited work all over the country and around the world. I recently came across Vinny's work and I have to say that I'm a pretty big fan, so I thought it would be interesting to share not only just a photo series with our readers, but also to take some time to ask a few questions to get inside the head of a successful fine art photographer.
I've always been fascinated by the world of fine art photography, and it's one that I actively dabble in (though with little success, mind you). I find it's a nice break from my usual photography, (architectural work) which is often dictated by perfection, the needs of the client, and strict adherences to best practices. I find fine art photography to be both frustrating and freeing, but I always think it's enjoyable to play around with alternative processing and development techniques to see what I can come up with. I recently had the chance to ask fine art photographer Vinny Picardi five rapid-fire questions about his thought process, his goals with his work, and his motivation. This will be the first in a series of posts where I'll ask fine art photographers these same questions to try and shed some light on a topic that we rarely discuss on this site. No gear, no post production, just a purely artistic and motivational series.
So without further adieu, let's get started, shall we?
FS: Did you study the arts in school? If so, was it photography or another medium? How would you say your formal education (or lack of) has influenced your work? And lastly, would you recommend that aspiring artists follow that path, or another one?
VP: Like all art starved students, I studied as much art as I could. And yes, that even included art history. But luckily those courses included double shots of espresso as prerequisites. Other courses included painting, sculpture, art direction/design (School of Visual Arts) and photography. I wish I had focused more on photography but at the time I had not made up my mind that photography would be my focus.
So, although as it is imperative that we immerse ourselves in all of the arts to round out our palette, I do recommend a more vertical approach to a career in photography.
Who are your biggest influences and how have they shaped your work?
My influences are:
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Mostly for his impulsive tendencies
Man Ray - I love his inventive style
Andre Kertesz - For his knack for composition
Philip-Lorca diCorcia - For his theatrical approach
Frank Picardi, My Father. When I was 15, my Dad passed down his Minolta SLR 35 mm camera. His advice; "Keep your eyes open. The images you see in everyday life can be art if you have the right perspective." And then he said, "But you better get a real job.". Lovingly of course.
Do you have any common themes that you try to communicate with your work? If so, have they been the same throughout your entire career, or are they constantly evolving?
The body of work has evolved but the theme of "art from everyday life" has not. That said, I believe the method and results of this single theme vary.
Are there common subjects or motifs that you work with or do you always start with a blank slate?
The subjects are, by definition, mundane. The everyday images of our lives are a challenge to turn into art pieces. Maybe its that challenge that makes me work harder to look at life differently.
Lastly, if you had to choose one piece of art to hang on your living room wall for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
Wow! That's a tough one. Naturally, as a typical artist, we hate being told we have to choose one thing. But, if I had to choose one it would be Henri Cartier Bresson's Rue Mouffetard, Paris 1954: Boy smiling with wine bottles (shown below). It proves that the best photographs aren't planned. Plus, I really like French wine.
What do you think of Vinny's work? Do you find it interesting enough to hang on your wall? Would you ever be interested in creating work like this?
Have any ideas for fine art photographers who you'd like to see us question? Let us know in the comments.