"THERE'S SOMETHING THAT COMES OVER YOU AFTER CREATING SOMETHING. IT'S PRETTY EUPHORIC, AND THAT'S WHAT INSPIRED ME TO DO MORE."
Vincent Giarrano is a fine art painter, born in Buffalo, New York. Vincent started drawing at an early age. His parents encouraged his artistic pursuits. He received a BFA from The State University of New York at Buffalo and an MFA from Syracuse University. After college, he moved to New York City and worked as an illustrator. He began painting in 2000 and is largely self-taught.
Vincent Giarrano was the finalist in The Artist’s Magazine 25th Annual Competition, 2008 and received rich accolades from Greenwich Arts Council, Greenwich, CT, Faces of Winter, 2008, Salon International, Greenhouse Gallery, San Antonio, TX, 2007. In 2013 he had paintings in two of the best museum shows; The Outwin Boochever Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC, and the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery in London, UK. He exhibits regularly with galleries and museums across the United States and occasionally overseas, among many others. In his career as an illustrator, Vincent Giarrano worked as a comic artist with such reputed publishers as DC Comics and Marvel Comics.
Vincent Giarrano’s art is able to bring you in and lets you feel what there is and what there isn’t. You are simply drawn into a moment and could almost breathe the entire scene. There is a certain liveliness and raw realness to his scenes that gives you a full scope of what occurred. What may be in any mundane day, he transforms to a moment full of stories, full of emotions, dreams and demons. He takes you to the core of an instance and sometimes you are hesitant to leave.
Q. What role does the artist have in society?
A. That depends on the individual. For me it’s partly like being a journalist; documenting life, but also sharing what I find beautiful or interesting about life now. The artist Robert Henri talked about artists being journalistic, and that really resonated with me. The Ashcan School movement in painting that Henri started is also one of my favorite periods in art history.
Q. What’s your best childhood memory?
A. I remember some of my first drawing experiences when I was around 6 or 7, the thrill of rendering something, and achieving what I wanted. It was something that really stimulated my mind and made me want more.
Q. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A. For a short time, I dreamt of being an ice hockey player but it was mostly to be an artist.
Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. I remember drawing some Disney characters, Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse. It surprised me that I was able to create drawings that were just like them.
Q. How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?
A. My interest grew steadily through high school. One of my best experiences was taking my first life drawing class. While a junior in high school I’d broken my leg skiing, and my father enrolled me in figure drawing at the Albright Knox Museum in Buffalo.
Q. Tell us about your particular style and how you came to it?
A. Though I did go to school for fine art, it largely wasn’t for painting. When I started painting on my own, I went through a process of finding the qualities that I desired. Through trial and error, and studying artists like John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn, I put together the look I wanted. Writing was a big part of that process. I used writing to figure things out, and advance in an organized and focused way.
Q. What does your art aim to express?
A. I find contemporary life both interesting and beautiful. I want to capture what the experiences in life really feel like. I’m also drawn to the qualities of life in New York City. There’s an energy and intensity there that I find very inspiring.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. Some of my favorite artists are; John Singer Sargent, Anders Zorn, Edward Hopper, George Bellow, Winslow Homer, Toulouse Lautrec, Manet, Degas, Gustave Courbet, Andrew Wyeth. I’m also inspired by contemporary artists. I think we’re living in an exciting time for realist art.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. I’ve found that having a mixture of things going on in my life keeps me engaged and the creativity flowing. I love the focus of painting on my own, but it’s also great to go figure draw with friends or work with people in New York City or learn from a fellow artist or teach a workshop. I have a whole list of things like that, and it works great for me.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. Skill and beauty are qualities I value. I identify most with the Social Realism movements in art history; the Ashcan School and the French Realism in the mid-19th century. I feel art should also relate to the time we’re living in. I also feel that art is very separate. I appreciate other genre but it’s like different worlds.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. Success for me is doing this thing I love. Creating art feels like the reason I’m here.
Q. What are the biggest things you've learned in life thus far?
A. You should fight to do what you love, because it’s totally worth it.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?
A. What you see is just a guide, change whatever you need to make the painting work. He didn’t so much say it, but it’s what I learned from studying with Jeremy Lipking.
Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. Use writing to figure things out. It’s been one of the most helpful devices for me. Just write in a functional way to learn and develop in a purposeful way. If you want to get somewhere, it makes things happen.
Q. How would you like to be identified and remembered?
A. As an artist who was skilled, sincere and passionate in his work.