Name: Dustin Gramando
Hometown: Jefferson Twp, NJ
Current town: Rockaway Twp, NJ
Job description: Sculptor, Multidisciplinary Artist, Entertainment Lighting and Rigging
Bio: Born in 1986 in Staten Island New York. Graduated from Montclair State University in May 2012 with a Bachelors in Fine Art concentration in sculpture.
To explain my work I would first have to give a brief description of the style of my work. I work in multiple disciplines yet all of my work is cartoon inspired. I have always had a love for cartoons like most kids I watched them religiously, being a child at heart I really never lost my love for these imaginative worlds. I find something addictive about a realm where the laws of our world don’t exist, a place where you can fall off of a cliff make a large hole in the ground and walk away. This style has always made itself present in my work but it wasn’t until I pushed it as far as I could that the work really started coming to life. I don’t think art has to be serious, that is the reason that I wanted to make work that falls into this animated world of the cartoons that inspire me. It’s at the same time a stance against the idea that art has to be something profound.
The series itself is called the Techline series which is an ongoing series that I started over a year ago. The idea behind the work is to take every day technology and create a timeline for it showing how we’ve developed the technology we have today. The idea came to me as I started getting older I watched as people my age began to rely more and more on modern day technology. It always made me think back to when I was a kid growing up in the early 90’s when technology was nothing like what we have today. Thinking of older technology always reminds me of my childhood and always brings a certain nostalgia along with it. In the beginning of the series I was working with sculpture specifically creating work in pairs creating a timeline from my youth compared to today. Since then the series has developed into timelines made in the form of paintings and prints along with sculpture that take it beyond my younger years, back to the beginning of these technologies through modern day.
What’s your art background / when did you begin really focusing on art?
I would love to say I was always creative as a child and I loved to color and paint as a kid, but it wasn’t until I was 21 and had experienced several disciplines during my associate’s degree that I found art as a major. At first I hated art, the other students had more experience, and I found myself less refined when it came to drawing and painting due to my late arrival in the field. I almost changed my major again and walked away from art entirely, but my professors at the time thought my weird cartoon style could really have some strength to it. That was the real turning point as I adopted this style and was first able to truly utilize it in my first sculpture class. I immediately fell in love with working in a 3-D space and found comfort in my style. I seemed to be able to think more clearly in three dimensions and as I took more sculpture classes I realized there was a correlation with my ability in three dimensional art and my childhood love of legos. Lego’s allowed me to unleash my creative side and build anything I could imagine.
What’s been happening in your life/ what’s next for you?
Once the Techline Series is finished my next body of work is going to be “What’s Next”. This series is going to build off my current works and add to it by bringing modern day technology through to the next big breakthrough. This will allow me to bring in imagination and creativity to show off how ridiculous technology could become and how it would continue to infiltrate our everyday lives. The inspiration for the next series comes from the 1950’s cartoon the house of tomorrow where they explore the future of everyday technology, and took it to the extreme even though the televisions and kitchens of the future where nonsense. That is why I’m going to create technology of the future that may be silly and impractical, but build off our cultures idea that new is always better. That will guide the major premises of the series that we are always ready to throw away perfectly good technology for something unproven for no other reason than its shinny and new.
Describe your current state of mind / what’s inspiring you?
My current state of mind has been work, work, work to make as much art as I can and build my portfolio. I find that I am continually inspired by everyday interactions and observations and that relationship between these events and cartoons continue to influence my style. The big thing that keeps me going is the support from those that inspire me such as my friends and fellow artists.
Any exhibits coming up/ past exhibits you’d like to mention?
I have work in a show right now at the Limner Gallery in Hudson New York, the show began April 4th and will be up until April 28th.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face as an artist?
I think the biggest challenge as a young emerging artist is getting your work out there for people to see. It is a lot more work trying to make a name for yourself than making the work itself. It also goes back to the old saying that it takes money to make money which tends to prove difficult for a younger artist as there is tends to be more going out than coming in, while trying to develop a body of work.
Has the meaning of your work changed over time?
My work has changed a lot over the last year the Techline series started as a body of work in which I was against the takeover of modern technology, but as I kept creating new and more complex pieces the series began to take on a different light. I don’t think modern technology is a bad thing, but it is always good to know how we got here and how these things are taken for granted every day, and what it took to get here.
What is your ideal job?
I think most people who go to school to study art want to make a living off of their work and I cannot say I am any different. But, in the time I worked as a studio assistant during my associates and bachelors degrees, I learned it was more than just about the art, there was something more. I learned that I truly loved the journey as well. I love the college atmosphere and helping students become better artists. So I think one day I would like to teach on the college level, it is something that I found I really enjoy. I’ll never give up making my own art work, but when it comes to putting food on the table teaching would be something I believe I could really enjoy.
There are several artists that truly inspire me including Red Grooms and Takashi Murakami as they were able to take a cartoon style and create an artistic career out of it. It keeps me pushing the edge as an artist and keeps me testing the boundary of my work. But, the biggest inspiration tends to come from my fellows artists, I have developed a personal relationship with several of them including Haylee Anne, Erin Doyle, and Max Chamberlain they tend to push me to be better and challenge myself. We all look out for each other like a family, we are always there to help with critiques and to bounce ideas around and that is what influences me most of all.
Your website: Dustingramandoart.com