Posts Tagged ‘Wheeling WV

15
Mar
16

Making Moondog

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Robert Villamagna and “Moondog” at thr Crosscurrents Exhibition, Stifel Fine Arts Center, Wheeling, WV.

My newest work is a portrait of “Moondog”, described by the residents of Wheeling, WV as an icon, a mascot, a protector, a cyclist extraordinaire, a legend, and keeper of all flags waving. The portrait is 36″x36″ and made of repurposed lithographed metal, highway signs, license plates, nails and screws on wood panel. Here are a few images to show how my portrait of Moondog came together.

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To view more of my work, please visit my website!

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19
Aug
14

Creating Bat Kid

Working out the mask.

Working out the mask.

I recently received a prospectus in the mail from a local art center. This prospectus is for an all-Halloween exhibit that sounded like too much fun for me to pass up. The deadline for submissions is the end of August, so if I was going to participate I needed to get moving.

When I was kid growing up in Toronto, Ohio, Halloween was a really big deal to me and my buddies. Over the years, I went trick or treating in a variety of costumes, some homemade and some store bought. One of my favorite comic book heroes was Batman, and while I never spent a single Halloween as the “caped crusader”, I knew right off that I wanted to create an image of a kid wearing a Batman mask.

A couple of weeks back I purchased a 46″x40″ oak framed blackboard at Rogers Flea Market in Ohio. The blackboard itself was not slate, but rather plywood painted flat black. This rascal is heavy, but I knew it was just right for building a tin piece on, and it was priced at only ten bucks! (A little added note: the back of the blackboard is stamped “Property of US Post Office 1966”.) I decided this would be the support I would use to create my “Bat Kid”.

I have included a slide show of how Bat Kid evolved. What you are looking at is about 24 hours work over a three day period. The weather cooperated and I was able to work on the entire piece on the brick patio outside of my studio. He is repurposed metal and nails, with the frame painted in blue enamel. And although we are not done with summer quite yet, let me be the first to wish you a Happy Halloween!

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25
Jun
14

Wheeling Arts Fest 2014

Chris speaking with our friend, Robert Peterson, shortly after the morning rain stopped.

Chris Villamagna speaking with our friend, painter Robert Peterson, at our booth shortly after the morning rain stopped. Five of my pieces went to new homes by the end of the day. Robert Peterson has been working on a painting series of the urban landscape of Wheeling. In 2012 Robert and I had a joint exhibition titled “Growing Up in Black and White”.

The fourth annual Wheeling Arts Fest was held Saturday, June 21 on and around the campus of West Virginia Northern Community College in downtown Wheeling, WV. This event is presented by the City of Wheeling Arts and Cultural Commission,of which my wife Chris, and I, are part of. The Arts Fest is an admission-free event that offers a wide variety of arts and cultural programs, including live music, artist market, theatre, dance, spoken word, culinary demos, free artist workshops in a variety of media, and much more.

These guys are now the proud owners of a Villamagna.

These guys are now the proud owners of a Villamagna.

Artist Bob Sako was my neighbor at Arts Fest.

Artist Bob Sako was my neighbor at Arts Fest.

Artist Liz Neuman shows off a pastel painting that she purchased from Bob Sako.

Artist Liz Neuman shows off a pastel painting that she purchased from Bob Sako.

Shortly after getting our booth up the rain came! It rained hard and steady for about 30 minutes, keeping away only the hardiest of visitors. Luckily, the rest of the day was cloudy yet dry, permitting Pittsburgh’s Squonk Opera, one of the headline acts of Arts Fest, to draw a big crowd at each of their three performances.

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Squonk Opera!

Arts Fest visitors enjoy Squonk Opera.

Arts Fest visitors enjoy Squonk Opera.

Sqonk Opera continued to amaze and delight!

Sqonk Opera continued to amaze and delight!

Another big hit at Arts Fest was the high energy Cello Fury.

Another big hit at Arts Fest was the high energy Cello Fury.

In addition to these performers, Arts Fest visitors enjoyed Gallowglass, vocalist Linda Cowan, the Tunnel Green Duo, New Age Adenas, Allegro Dance Company, Paie o’Docs, the National Pike Pickers, and more.

Thats me on the left, ceramic artist Lambros Tsuhlares center, and the amazing Roy on the right.

Thats me on the left, ceramic artist Lambros Tsuhlares center, and the amazing Roy on the right. As our dear late friend Paul Padgett used to say, “If you want to get noticed, make it big, and if you can’t make it big, make it red!”

West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman in the Literary Arts tent.

West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman in the Literary Arts tent.

No Arts Fest is complete without a visit from Stewie!

No Arts Fest is complete without a visit from Stewie!

Sculptor Eric price checks out paintings by artist Victoria Lavorini.

Sculptor Eric Price checks out paintings by artist Victoria Lavorini.

At the end of the day, the 4th annual Wheeling Arts Fest could be labeled a huge success! Many thanks to the Wheeling Arts and Cultural Commission, it’s volunteers, sponsors and all the artists and performers who helped make it happen!

 

 

09
Oct
13

Oglebayfest Artist Market 2013

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Early morning leaf blowing in front of the artists’ tents.

This years Oglebayfest Artist Market was three days of warmth and sunshine. Each morning started out cool, but each afternoon found us enjoying temperatures in the low 80s. Great weather, a bit unusual for October, and best of all, no rain. The crowds were heavy and most artists I spoke with were happy with their sales. However, based on the constant line at the kettle corn booth, I would say popcorn is the business to be in.

My booth at the Artist Market.

My booth at the Artist Market.

My sales were good, consisting of small and medium sized works. I did not sell any “heavy-hitter” pieces this year. Other artists I spoke with gave the event mixed reviews, some selling well while others barely made booth rent.

Nancy Tirone exhibited her mixed-media works.

Nancy Tirone exhibited her mixed-media works.

Nancy Tirone, a WLU professor who teaches art education, was exhibiting at the Artist Market for her fourth year. Nancy has a unique style of work that combines writing with collage and painting. She reported her best sales ever!

Although he did not have a booth, our friend and artist, Kyle Hallam, came to hang out with us for the day.

Robert Villamagna and Kyle Hallam.

Although he did not have a booth this year, our friend and artist, Kyle Hallam, came to hang out with us for the day. It is always a pleasure to hang out with Kyle, talking art and life.

Artists Victoria Lavorini, Seth Miller, and Lambros "Clay Ninja" Thsulares."

Artists Victoria Lavorini, Seth Miller, and Lambros “Clay Ninja” Tsuhlares.” Lambros mugs make beer taste better!

Two of my former West Liberty University students had a booth at the Artist Market: Victoria Lavorini and Seth Miller. Victoria was presented with the Fine Arts Best of Show Award at the Artist Dinner on Saturday evening. Victoria also reported strong sales of her work.

"Cigarette Head", by Robert Villamagna, made using a sign from a vintage cigarette sign, along with repurposed metal product containers.

“Cigarette Head”, made of a sign from a vintage cigarette sign, along with repurposed metal product containers.

Lambros was ready a table full of beer mugs!

Lambros was ready a table full of beer mugs!

Artists Cecy Rose and Alan Fitzpatrick k

Artists Cecy Rose and Alan Fitzpatrick k

Artist Market Director Rick Morgan (right) and his trusty sidekick, Brad Johnson.

Artist Market Director Rick Morgan (right) and his trusty sidekick, Brad Johnson.

 Josh Verhovic sets up his work in the WLU studnet booth.

Josh Verhovec sets up his work in the WLU student booth.

Each year, WLU has a double booth for art students who want to sell their work at the Artist Market. There is no fee for art students to participate, and the students get a first hand experience of selling their work.

WLU student Emma Romanalski with some of her pots.

WLU student Emma Romanowski with some of her pots.

Potter Lambros Tsuhlares and sculptor Eric Price waiting for the money to roll in.

Potter Lambros Tsuhlares and sculptor Eric Price waiting for the money to roll in.

Robert Villamagna and former WLU student Bill Kuzma, along with his girlfriend whose name I forgot! Sorry!

Robert Villamagna and former WLU student Bill Kuzma, along with his girlfriend whose name I forgot! Sorry!

Family and friends at the Artist Market, including grand daughters Sophia and Grace, my son Shawn, and my wife Chris.

Family and friends at the Artist Market, including grand daughters Sophia and Grace, my son Shawn, and my wife Chris.

Chris and I enjoying a good a laugh at the Artist Market.

Chris and I enjoying a good a laugh at the Artist Market.

28
Sep
13

The Tagliavini Project

Last spring, while doing some internet research, I stumbled upon the work of artist Christian Tagliavini. Tagliavini is a Swiss-Italian, born in 1971, educated in Italy and Switzerland, where he lives and works as a graphic designer and a photographer. This combination provides him with the ability to create and  produce images that blend fine arts, design, and excellent craftsmanship. Through his photographs, Christian Tagliavini tells beautiful stories that are this mix of the real, and the surreal. I was so excited by his work, that I decided to create a “Tagliavini” project for my Design II. at West Liberty University. This class is a 3D design class and is made up almost entirely of freshmen students.

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Two images by Christian Tagliavani.

I began by introducing my students to Tagliavini’s work through images, a Youtube video, and a short biography.  The students were impressed with what they saw, and excited to see what they could create.  We discussed Tagliavini’s images, and afterwards I gave the students part one of the assignment. Each student was instructed to come to the next class meeting with his or her idea for a cardboard “outfit”. All proposals were to be accompanied by sketches.

We had two sections of Design I., each with 12 to 14 students. Each of the students presented their idea, and then pinned their proposal sketches on the wall. After all proposals were presented, each of the students voted for their favorite. The seven proposals that received the most votes were created by a student team. The student whose design was chosen became a team leader, and each team consisted of three or four students.

Whenever possible, I try to get my students to use repurposed materials that otherwise might go to the landfill. All the “clothing” in our project was made from repurposed cardboard shipping boxes, adhesive, gesso, and acrylic paint. One of the outfits did have a non-cardboard element: a veil.

Once the projects were completed, Wheeling photographer Neal Warren worked with the students and created the images that brought our project to life. Neal also teaches photography here at West Liberty University.

The photos below will give you an idea how our project turned out. I believe that students, as well as myself, learned so much from this experience. In turn, we gained even a greater respect for the work of artist Christian Tagliavini.

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Neal works with the students setting up the photographs.

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Neal Warren hard at work making out project look great!

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Yes, I got a chance to be Iron Man for a moment!

My thanks to Neal Warren for shooting our project, to my students who worked hard to turn an idea into reality, and to artist Christian Tagliavini for being the inspiration behind our learning experience.

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28
Apr
13

Clothesline

I was on my way to the post office this afternoon when something caught my eye that I had not seen in a long time: a clothesline. With real clothes hanging from it. With clothespins. You are probably thinking why am I making such a big deal about it. I guess it’s just at that moment I was transported back to my childhood, picturing my mom hanging our clothes out to dry. Even when we finally got an automatic dryer, my mom would still hang clothes if the weather was cooperating.She said it just made the clothes smell fresher.

Back then there were a lot of moms hanging clothes in the backyards of our street. Lots of conversations took place over and under those clotheslines. “Hey Irene!” Mrs. Bonatatti yelled from her yard one morning, “Guess what I found in my basement this morning!” “What’s that?” my mom hollered back as she reached into the clothespin bag. “A snake! A big ‘ol black snake! I killed it with a hoe!” Unbeknownst to my mom, that was my black snake which I had just released the day before in the vacant field next to the Bonatatti house. The snake was living in a cage in our basement, and had recently bitten me on the toe. I figured if he was getting that high tempered that it be best that I let him go. I felt bad that he died such a horrible death, but I sure didn’t lead on that I knew anything about it.

When I cought a glimpse of the clothesline today, I parked my truck and walked about a block with my camera. Just as I was about to take my photo, a man walked into the yard carrying a gasoline can. I know he saw me, so I yelled out,”Excuse me sir!” He just looked at me. “Sir.” I said again, hoping to get a response. I got a low kind of…well….grunt. “Sir, I just want to take a photo of your clothesline.” “It’s not mine! he yells, somewhat irritated that I am even bothering him, “It’s her’s, downstairs!” as he points to a door to a lower-level apartment.

“Well I just want to take a picture of it, you know”….(and here is where my brain goes to mush)…”to show my kids. You don’t see clothes hanging out to dry anymore.” Now my “kids” are all adults and I am sure that my photo of a clothesline is not going to impress them, but that is all I could come up with! “I’ll just go ahead and take it then,” I said. He makes a quick motion towards that basement door with his free hand. Now I read a book years ago called “Body Language”, and what I read from his body language was this: Just take your damn photo and leave me the hell alone. I did, and I apologized for my interruption. (He had one of those kind of faces that keeps one apologizing a lot.) “‘At’s allright”, he grumbled.

ANd one more thing. I thought that line full of clothes would make an excellent subject for a watercolor painting. I’ll put that on my to-do list.

18
Sep
12

Growing Up in Black and White

Postcard image showing Robert Peterson and myself.

    The Wheeling Artisan Center in Wheeling, WV recently opened the exhibition Growing up in Black and White, featuring artists Robert Peterson and myself, Robert Villamagna. The exhibit, which is in the 3rd Floor Loft Gallery and runs through October 26, 2012. Here is some of the news release for this exhibit:

Robert P. Peterson Sr. was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but grew up in Wheeling. Peterson graduated from Wheeling High School in 1967. He attended a number of colleges and universities, finally graduating from West Liberty University in 2012 with a RBA degree.

Peterson worked for Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel and Severstal for 40 years as a production manager. “I started out as a custodian while attending school. Worked my way up through the ranks from custodian, production control turn foreman, slab yard production turn foreman, general turn foreman, and production superintendent,” said Peterson, who retired in 2009.

“Art was always a passion of mine ever since I was a kid. Oil painting was my love, and when I went back to West Liberty my eyes were opened up to other possibilities and media,” said Peterson. “Some of my favorite topics, relevant to painting, are old buildings of Wheeling and outdoor scenery. Most of my paintings are done on canvas in oil or acrylic.”

“I am excited about this exhibition,” Peterson stated, “because it is outside of what I normally work with, giving me a chance to express how I grew up as an African American, verses the outlook view of the white American in the same time period.”

Robert Villamagna was born in Oakland, California and grew up in Toronto, Ohio. “As a kid, television artist Jon Gnagy and the Saturday Evening Post covers of Norman Rockwell had a big impact on me,” says Villamagna. Villamagna graduated from Toronto High School in 1966. He worked as a map draftsman before going going into the US Air Force where worked as an illustrator for four years. Villamagna worked at Weirton Steel Company for 13 years. It was during that period that he started college, receiving a BS from Franciscan University and an MAT from Wright State University. Villamagna worked as an art therapist for the US Air Force Medical Center, The State of Maryliand, and Fox Run Hospital in St. Clairsville, OH. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Art at West Liberty University, and has lived in Wheeling since 1995.

“The idea for this exhibit came about last spring,” said Villamagna. “Robert (Peterson) was taking a painting class, and one day the two of us were having this discussion about growing up. That lead to more talking about how racial issues of the time intertwined with our childhood.”

“I look at this exhibition as a visual diary of two kids growing up in the Ohio Valley in the 1950’s, “ says Villamagna. “Obviously, those pre-Civil Rights years were dramatically different for two kids of different skin color,  and yet some of our childhood experiences are very similar, experiences that were not limited to one particular race.”

Her are my 12 pieces from the exhibition. They are oil pen and acrylics on cradled panel. Thanks for your interest.  (I will post some of Robert Peterson’s works in the near future.)

Memorial Park Swimming Pool, Toronto, Ohio

The Colored Day Newspaper

Distributing our paper

At the Kennywood Park swimming pool, Pittsburgh, PA

At the Weir Cove Post Office, Weirton, WV

Stopping at Jeddo

No Snow Sledding

A Surprise in the Newspaper

Collecting Papers

At the Paper Mill, Toronto, OH

The War Souvenir

Soul or Righteous?