Gift of giving

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Videos of Philadelphia artists at work are popping up on artist Vincent Romaniello’s website (image, Romaniello’s Untitled 420, 24″x32″, mixed media on panel, 2004).

The project is an outgrowth of the usual artist frustration with media coverage of the arts. “I don’t understand why [if] the local stations can bring a portable camera to [videotape] someone’s backyard,…their pets, …tailgate parties, why can’t they just go to First Friday or somebody’s studio?” Romaniello said.

The technology has arrived

When I talked to him last week, he said he began posting the videos in September because the technology suddenly came together in the past year:

1)the low cost of high-speed internet connections

2)the quality and low price of digital video cameras

3)computer memory both for RAM and storage space. A 4-minute video takes up 4 gigabytes. Before, the whole computer only had 4 gigs.

4)dvd burners and even dvd players.

5)the software for sound and video editing became more mainstream—-it’s now fairly easy to learn to use professional quality software.

(Speaking of technology, although I had no trouble looking at the videos a few weeks ago, today they refuse to play for me.)

It’s a gift

Romaniello is a dreamer–and a softie. He’s doing it for the artists, he says, with hopes that his efforts will bring recognition to his subjects, people who he admires for staying true to their personal vision as art-world fashions come and go.

“I’m looking to have a variety of different genres covered. So far…one’s a mural artist and she also does weaving [that’s Kathryn Pannepacker]. We have a collage artist whose work is very romantic, sentimental maybe [Giuseppi Riviera]. I guess you would call Tim McFarland’s work maybe reductive, geometric, and David Foss, abstract expressionist. It doesn’t necessarily relate to what I do at all, my personal interest in artwork.”

Ultimately, he hopes to create about 20 videos. And he’s thinking of broadening the content from artists to gallery owners, art critics, people in the museum world, even First Fridays.

“I want it for the artists,” he said. “I want people to come see their work.” Romaniello has some other reasons too. He wants people to see how hard artists work. He also wants to give fellow artists a chance to look inside one another’s studios, to share methods of working.

“I thought of it as something else I’ve added to my website. Guests. They’re my guests.”

This is my slightly belated Christmas story for 2004.

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