Student Apprentices Get Hands-on with Visiting Artist

Published: Mar 21, 2013
David Diaz ’13 said everything in fine arts is a learning process, and STUDIO-f is no different.
David Diaz ’13 said everything in fine arts is a learning process, and STUDIO-f is no different.
William Villalongo, left, enlists the help of adjunct instructor John Caputo. Villalongo said creating monoprints this complex would be impossible without additional help.
William Villalongo, left, enlists the help of adjunct instructor John Caputo. Villalongo said creating monoprints this complex would be impossible without additional help.
Villalongo specializes in a kind of creative historical reconstitution focused on generating new associations between art, sociocultural experience and existential concerns.
Villalongo specializes in a kind of creative historical reconstitution focused on generating new associations between art, sociocultural experience and existential concerns.
David Diaz ’13, right, works with master printer for STUDIO-f and gallery preparator Carl Cowden on some of Villalongo’s monoprints.
David Diaz ’13, right, works with master printer for STUDIO-f and gallery preparator Carl Cowden on some of Villalongo’s monoprints.

One can’t walk into Bailey Art Studios’ STUDIO-f without being put to work. Cutting out felt afros, assembling paper doll-like clothes, painting in backdrops and patterns at artist William Villalongo’s direction.

The Brooklyn-based artist has come to UT for a two-week residency at STUDIO-f, a visiting artist program that has included notables like Katherine Porter, Larry Poons, Ed Paschke and Robert Rahway Zakanitch. The idea is to introduce national and international artists to the Tampa Bay community and give students and art enthusiasts an opportunity to meet these artists and see them working in the studio, said gallery director Dorothy Cowden.

Villalongo specializes in a kind of creative historical reconstitution focused on generating new associations between art, sociocultural experience and existential concerns. During his gallery talk March 19, he called himself a storyteller binding art and culture. Many of his paintings depict females as the focus.

“I’ve always be interested in a matriarchal society and telling these stories, because it holds an alternative way of thinking that excites me,” said Villalongo, who grew up in a matriarchal family with three sisters.

He admits to not using much technology in his work except a scanner. Starting with pencil drawings, he applies charcoal to transfer them to panels for painting. He said the process is similar to that of printmaking, which starts with an image transferred to a screen then layered to make the final designs.

“It’s why I’m having so much fun this week, because my process is so connected to printmaking,” he said.

Not quite a morning person, Villalongo has spent late mornings through to 10 or 11 at night in STUDIO-f, working with a team of people on what will be 12 versions each of two different monoprints.

“They’ve told me the possibilities, so I run with it,” Villalongo said. “It’d be impossible to do prints this complex by myself.”

He’s enlisted the help of several students, like Claire Lipton ’16, Amanda Mancuso ’13 and David Diaz ’13.

“It’s been amazing,” said Diaz, a fine arts major with concentrations in printmaking and sculpture. “It’s incredible to get to know someone so successful in their career and yet so down to earth. “

Diaz, of Colombia, said everything in fine arts is a learning process, and STUDIO-f is no different.

“There are so many little things you tweak when you’re in the process, things that you can’t find in a text book, both technically and conceptually,” Diaz said. “This really is an amazing opportunity.”

An exhibition of paintings by Villalongo will be on view March 1-29, and his completed monoprints will be on view from March 11-22, all in the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery. The STUDIO-f open studio and gallery reception will be March 22 at 6 p.m. with an opportunity to meet the artist.