"WHEN AN ARTIST DISCOVERS THEIR VOICE, THEY DISCOVER THEIR ROLE IN SOCIETY."
Mia DelCasino is a fine art photographer specializing in large format, contemporary, minimalist photographs. She was born on Long Island, New York in 1967 and grew up in picturesque Bucks County Pennsylvania. From a young age she loved the entire creative process and experimented with drawing, painting, sculpting figurines with clay, playing piano, creating her own clothes on her mother’s sewing machine, and crafting skateboard decks in her father’s woodworking shop. She loved watching her father shoot photographs on family vacations and was fascinated with not only the imagery, but the mechanics and technical aspects of the camera itself. Her interest in art never waned and was inspired by frequent adventures to New York City, which was only a short train ride away. She embraced the urban landscape of the city, shooting photographs, listening to live music from alternative bands and exploring art galleries and museums. DelCasino earned her degree in art/media communications and has worked as a professional artist for over 20 years, combining her visual aesthetic and technical skills in her work as a fine-art photographer and 3D environment artist in the video game industry.
DelCasino’s work can be found in private and corporate collections including The Gersh Agency, Los Angeles, Barclay’s Headquarters, Park Avenue, NYC. and Bridge Bank, San Francisco. Along with solo and group shows, her work was featured on the television sets of "Brothers and Sisters" and “What about Brian” for ABC network and “Justice” for FOX network. DelCasino has received five nominations for the International Color Awards and has won the honor of distinction twice. She frequently collaborates with interior designers and their clients, consulting on style, framing, installation and also does commissioned work.
DelCasino’s work captures stillness and calmness to perfection. Staring at her photographs gives you that feeling of immense freedom in the purest way possible. You feel like you can literally just walk into such an image and get lost in the most abundant and fulfilling world. The peace, the tranquility, the immense feeling of wanting to start over is really conveyed by her photographs and you can’t help but conquer your fears, your doubts, your unfulfilled desires. DelCasino’s work offers you a pass to rethink, rejoice, and actually to live.
Q. What role does the artist have in society?
A. I believe artists have various roles in society. When an artist discovers their voice, they discover their role in society. An artist's work is like a prism that invites people to see things in a whole new way. Artists can open people’s hearts and minds to a new understanding of the world we live in. They tell a story. They evoke emotion. Whether that emotion is calm, angry, sad or elated… their work ultimately makes people “feel”.
Q. How and when did you first become seriously interested in photography. Tell us about your beginnings, how were your first steps in the photography world?
A. I was constantly drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. I made figurines with river stones, painted them and gave them as gifts when I was a young child. I first became seriously interested in photography when my parents gave me my first camera. It was a Minolta X700 and I carried it everywhere. It's hard to find a photo of me without the camera slung around my neck or focused, ready to shoot.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. Giving up a lucrative career as a 3D environment artist in the video game industry and taking a huge risk to follow my dream. I invested a lot of time and passion, and it was worth it. I love what I’m doing and thoroughly enjoy the clients I’m working with so “sacrifice” is probably not the correct word in this case.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. My style is modern minimalist. This style has evolved over the years into a communication of what I felt when I was experiencing a particular moment before I even started shooting. The purpose of this style is to communicate the tranquility and serenity that I felt in that moment, rather than simply capturing what I thought was an interesting and beautiful scene. There's a wabi-sabi aspect to it, in that I pare the image to its bare essentials while embracing both the beauty and imperfection.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. Mark Rothko, Agnes Martin, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Andreas Gursky to name a few but, I can be inspired by anything; a line in a book, lyrics of a song, a melody, an Instagram post, a great movie, a stunning piece of architecture or design, staring out at the ocean, a chat over coffee with an old friend. It’s a beautiful surprise that triggers other thoughts and ideas that ultimately influence my work.
Q. What does your photography aim to say?
A. The intention of my work is to create pause… a moment of stillness in the hectic pace of everyday life. My work is quiet, introspective and represents solace, tranquility and freedom. Each image is a meditation in which I can “hear” silence. It is a hyper-focus on a moment that made me stop… a visual that captured me, held me for a moment and then gently let me go. The work is intended to relieve tension and create breathing space. Elimination of visual distractions in each image leaves a respite for the viewer to let go, find clarity or simply just surrender. I feel that a deep breath, a moment of silence and feelings of pure serenity are rare in life. In my work, I hope to give viewers that special gift.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. No, I don’t find it lonely at all. I enjoy the solitude when I am working but I also get to work with so many amazing clients and talented interior designers, printers, framers and artists of every stripe. My favorite part is experiencing the client’s reaction when the piece is finally unveiled in their space.
Q. Apart from photography, what do you love doing?
A. I love making beautiful memories with the people most important to me whether it’s traveling together, sharing a meal or just talking over a cup of coffee. I love how music is a huge influence and motivator for me in work and in everyday life. I enjoy reading books, journaling, movies, exercise and I absolutely love to snow ski.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. Art is a unique communication both in its intention and in the interpretation of it. It’s the original and authentic voice of an individual that should be honored as such.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. Success means feeling confident in my voice and in my work and making my way in the world on my own terms and creating art that people not only "see" but “feel”.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. I have been told to do what I love, believe in myself and listen to my heart. Sometimes it’s difficult to keep that focus on a daily basis, but I keep those three things in mind as I move through my life and career.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. Open your eyes and heart and observe everything and everyone without judgement. Don’t let anyone tell you how to “be” or how to think. This is the best way to truly know yourself and be able to create freely, honestly and uninhibited.
Q. What’s something about yourself or your life that might surprise others to learn?
A. I was a senior 3D environment artist for several video game companies over the course of my career. I loved creating wild fantasy worlds and the best part was that after I created that world, I was able to enter it and experience it all around me as I walked through it.