Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Drawings, prints, and paintings from the archives by Steven Mastroianni
Exhibition opens Friday, April 12, 6-10PM at Mastroianni Photography and Arts, 2688 W. 14th in the historic Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland, and a closing reception will be held Friday, May 10th, with a musical performance by Cleveland’s own Malphonia™.
Early drawings, prints, and other work reveal patterns and themes which manifest themselves in my work to this day. This exhibit is a glimpse at seldom or never before seen artwork from the mid 1980s, and is a companion retrospective to my exhibit of early photography work from the same era.
As a young artist growing up, I used to create literally piles of drawings and artwork, all stashed around the house, and most, unfortunately, ended up in the trash. When I got to art school, I made a point to keep most of my work, and have done so diligently, carting several large portfolios and countless boxes of photographs and negatives from dwelling to dwelling. The work sat undisturbed and un-viewed for the most part, maybe catching a quick glimpse before being re-stored in a new home. All the while I was reminded of the regret of not having my childhood drawings, and so I felt justified packing and storing this material. In recent years I’ve finally begun to look at this old work, everything from sketchbooks and life drawings, to prints and paintings, and of course all of my photography from that era. I have been struck, that over 25 years later, I can trace themes and aesthetic ideas all the way back to that time, ideas I wouldn’t necessarily have been aware of earlier, but which have become very apparent now. I was also struck that a good portion of the work, while perhaps immature at times, really wasn’t all that bad!! Now, all of these years later, I’m inspired to pick up pencil and paper again (but that will be the subject of a future exhibition…)
So it is with great pleasure that I present another installment of my own personal retrospective, this time featuring mostly drawings and prints from the time just before I picked up a camera in earnest, and drifted away from drawing all together.