Gods of Change: A Two-Person Gallery from Alen Lai & Emanuele Pavarotti
Here at Blue Sky, our crewmembers are so passionate about art, that when it's time to go home, they continue personal artistic projects. Which is why the studio created 'The Blue Sky Gallery', where every few months, artists display personal projects that tie into specific themes.
This month's theme is "Gods of Change", a theme that Recruiter & Talent Development Associate, Mindy, envisioned when approached by Effects Senior Technical Director, Alen Lai. She immediately thought Alen's art would juxtapose beautifully with Animator Emanuele Pavarotti's art, which exposes modern interpretations of the Greek and Roman myths. Mindy explains:
"Last summer Alen approached me with his beautiful paintings and sketches of the construction of the Tappan Zee Bridge in NY and asked if we had any openings to show in the gallery. The gallery committee thought a duo artist show would be really interesting and I immediately thought of Emanuele's work since I follow him on Instagram. I liked the idea of Alen's hard man-made construction images next to Emanuele's ethereal mythological gods. Calling the show 'The Gods of Change' seemed like a natural fit and we quickly all agreed on it."
We sat down with Emanuele and Alen to talk inspiration, challenges and how on Earth they managed to "find the time" with a busy work schedule.
What was the inspiration behind your project?
E: My paintings are a modern reinterpretation of the Greek and Roman myths. Dreamlike scenes inhabited by nymphs, gods and heroes, show aspects of the human condition already present thousands of years ago in the birthplace of western culture.
A: It started out simply as my desire to capture the beauty of the bridge I drove past every day. I was trying to paint different aspects, different angles, different weather, and different lighting. As I paint more and more of the bridge, I found myself drawn to the fascinating construction machinery and different types of cranes used to build the bridge. I became obsessed with all these details that I've never seen before.
What was the most challenging part of creating this project? How did you overcome it?
E: Getting the look I wanted, with a lot of hard edges and gradients, it was a real challenge. I considered using airbrush, but then settled for a more traditional approach because I didn't want to lose the subtle imperfections that come with brushwork. I painted the first works in acrylic but the fast drying time and slight color shift were a problem in order to get the gradients nice and smooth. I then switched to oil colors and the longer drying time was exactly what I needed to get the color blending right.
A: I have always painted Plein Air, until this project. In the beginning, I was trying to find good angles from the shore to paint on site. It didn't take long for me to realize that the best angle was when I was on the bridge, up and close to the dramatic towers. But there is no way to stop in the middle of the traffic, not to mention in rush hour. So I blindly took photos with one hand while driving. Then I created my own composition and used all the blurry, odd-angle, under-exposed photos as reference to re-construct the picture I wanted. Most of the color and lighting decision was relied on memory or impression.
What advise do you have for artists who want to create their own projects on the side, but "can't seem to find the time"?
E: Set a routine and stick to it. Even with just 30 minutes everyday you can get a lot done. Avoid spending too much time with distractions like TV, social media, etc... I know it's hard but once you get into the habit you'll start craving your personal practice more than your favorite TV show, with the benefit that you're actually getting something done!
A: Commit to it. Make the time and put it into your daily schedule. I talked to Mindy before I finished all the paintings. The gallery open deadline helped propel me to finish. I had to be patient: small steps and keep going. You probably need to find what works for you. For me, I often had to put my daughter to sleep, and then got up again to paint for couple hours late at night.
"Gods of Change" will be showcased in The Blue Sky Gallery until April. Great work Emanuele and Alen!
For more photos of the Gallery Opening visit our Instagram @BlueSkyStudios
*Please note the gallery is only open to Blue Sky Studios employees