Today our journey takes us into the studios of Josh Wilichowski and Vincenzio Donatelle.
Men have come to understand through tradition, the media, our families, and our peers, that a man must maintain a rough-hewn, stoic façade to overcompensate for even the most basic feelings. Many males choose to bolster their identity by submitting to the stereotype, surrounding themselves with the trappings of masculinity. In this case, by utilizing these trappings in conjunction with coping tools like posturing, blending in, and physical redirection, they are allowed a loophole in which to express themselves and their hidden emotions.
The resulting manifestations of these actions become markers, each functioning as a personal vehicle. They carry with them such things as reminiscence, emotional exploration and identity. Like a pedigree, these attributes can be traced and recorded, and allows a view of each totemic relationship. In my work, I create allegories of these accessories and the accompanying masculine redirections through the investigation of transferal, the documentation of emotional pathways, and the use of the actual objects.
The object I am currently examining is the pickup truck. The truck is designed to pull and carry immense loads, as well as be a hard-working and dependable partner for its operator. However, it also readily accepts the added burden of transporting more delicate emotional payloads such as intimacy, pride, and self-doubt. My current body of work is the study of trucks and my attempt to further understand not only the machine, but also the stigma of being a man.
Joshua Wilichowski (b Wausau, WI, 1975) received his Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. A multi-media artist, his work investigates both the relationship we form with and the importance placed on inanimate objects. His work has been exhibited at venues nationwide, including RocksBox Contemporary Art in Portland, OR, the P3 Gallery in Las Vegas, NV, as well as numerous colleges and art centers. He currently lives and works in North St Paul, MN.
I use the repetitive images, textures and language of my work to produce semi-narrative compositions in the forms of paintings, collages and prints. I often employ structural elements to activate the space within the gallery thus forming an important middle ground in between the content within the frame and the viewer.
I observe the intersections of the individual, the social and their pathways producing serendipity, the rational versus the nonsensical as well as the way that the natural world collides with the artificial one to construct the human environment. I am particularly interested in the way stimulatory noise produced by this contemporary environment cohesively flows and recedes to produce concrete experience along side ambiguity.
I grew up in a family that was both supportive and demanding, which is kind of necessary when your family runs a restaurant and catering business together. When you grow up in that kind of environment you learn about working hard and constantly at pretty young age, of course you also learn the benefits of being your own boss too. None the less, everyone in my family is creatively minded, my mom was actually a sculptor, and my dad a painter. I saw my sister, fight her way into an Italian medical school which, may have taken a level of creativity that I cannot comprehend. I saw my brother grow into an incredibly intellectual artist, attending MCAD and just recently graduating from SVA in NYC. But from a young age we were always, almost repetitively were told this beautiful piece of nihilistic optimism: “You need to work hard at whatever you do, and find comfort in that, because when you do throw yourself into it, perhaps, no one will notice or care, in fact others may try to beat it out of you, the world will try and snap you out of it. But, if you don’t make the effort in the first place, without a doubt, nothing will happen.”
I recently graduated from MSU, Mankato and moved up to Minneapolis to live with my girlfriend, Julia, our Flemish giant and seven of our best friends. Since moving up I’ve had to struggle with making money in between making art and playing music in order to sustain myself and my life. Sometimes money, or lack there of, is more frustrating than anything else, because it can totally stifle or completely halt the creative process. For example, I needed to pay studio fees in May that resulted in me not being able to afford anything to print with or on. You learn to figure it out though, especially because there isn’t much of an option, except for maybe getting a service industry job. That all being said, I take pride in what I do, despite the hardships that come naturally. Though, frustrating as it can be, I think those moments force one to step back, examine, revise and tweak the theory or concept behind the work which, I believe can be just as relevant as producing work in the first place.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.