Tumblin’: Nicholas Scarpinato
It’s easy to insincerely communicate with an image, and it’s even easier to hide behind an image’s staging to avoid communicating altogether. Nicholas Scarpinato’s work is a great example of someone whose sincerity and skill overcome that kind of slippery jadedness.
Scarpinato’s photography is truly experimental, in that it maintains a constant sense of evolution and recombination. Clearly influenced by his forays into drawing and sculpture, Nick’s photography ranges from compositionally subtle (even vulnerable) portraiture to surreal, even fantastical orchestrations. On break for the summer, Nick spoke with us about inspiration, developing a style, and monochrome dream projects.
How did you become interested in film and photography, and especially in taking it on as a potential career?
I’ve always been interested in art, ever since I was young. Last year, however, I got into photography and instantly fell in love with it. After learning more about photography I discovered Tumblr and Flickr, which helped manifest my creativity and gave me a platform to show off my work. And as I got more followers, it put pressure on me to create better work.
Tell us a bit about your program at Virginia Commonwealth University, and what brought you there.
I chose to attend VCU because they are the number one public art school in the United States. I wanted to be challenged and pushed creatively and thought it was the right school for me. My first year in the art program, I was exposed to sculpture, drawing, film, and painting. Each medium affected me differently and gave me a broader perspective of art and what I can do with it. I was privileged enough to learn from my professors, who are famous illustrators and sculptors. They have helped me out more then I could have imagined.
You’ve shot a highly diverse body of work so far, but to what styles or methods have you developed the strongest attachment? And in what style of film are you most interested in working?
Out of all my experimentation with photography I’ve grown to favor a mixed media approach when creating my images. I apply different layers of paint, which gives my photos a painterly and nostalgic look.
You mention planning a large(r) photographic project for this summer. Care to tell us anything about it?
I will be starting a 365 photo challenge on my tumblr. I will be posting a new photo everyday for a year. So expect that to start shortly!
What are some other blogs or artists on Tumblr you find inspiring?
One inspiring blog that I follow is Lissy Elle’s Photo Blog. Lissy posts surreal and creative photography that motivates me to grow as a photographer.
Though I imagine it’s nearly impossible to answer this with any certainty after only 1 year, what do you hope to do after completing VCU’s Film program?
I hope to be a production designer on films and hopefully become a director.
Dream project: unlimited funding, no spatial or travel constraints, and anyone dead or alive will collaborate (if so desired). What do you do?
I would love to paint an entire forest white and photograph giant white sailboats hanging out of the trees. I would also love to collaborate with the fashion photographer Tim Walker for this project.
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