Art Profile: Dylan Vitone

July 13, 2009

This week we are highlighting Pittsburgh Filmmakers Adjunct Professor Dylan Vitone, an exceptional photographer who has shown work all over the country, and is about to show some work in the upcoming Cultural Trust Gallery Crawl on Friday, July 17th.

Dylan grew up in Austin, Texas, a world away from Pittsburgh. He took a photo class at Saint Edwards University in photography, and it was pretty much love at first sight. From there he went on to Boston, where he used photography to document inner city life from many different angles. He creates incredible black and white panoramic photographs that are rich with activity and interesting composition. No matter how long you look at them, you keep on discovering new things. Their size and scope make you feel as if you’re at the very street corner in the photo. The people in his photographs look placed, perhaps because they are looking at the camera so directly, but somehow they also look candid. Dylan said he achieves this by just telling his subjects to look at him, but not to smile. He doesn’t place people.
We owe Dylan’s presence in Pittsburgh to his wife. In a true example of marital compromise, they made a deal that she would go where he wanted to study for two years, and then…he was at her mercy for two. So he picked Boston, and then she picked Pittsburgh, which Dylan was not initially that excited about. But after being here for a few years he has come to appreciate the decision. When we asked him if he thought Pittsburgh was a good place to live and work as an artist he first responded with, “It’s a very good community, and what really matters is your ability to pay the bills.” He is referring to the low cost of living here, which means that as an artist you don’t need to spend as much time in your place of work, which frees you up to work on your art. Even though he does express mad love for his places of work, as a professor at both Carnegie Mellon University and Filmmakers, he says he sincerely loves “the energy in the classroom.”
So whats coming next for Dylan? Right now he plans to remain in Pittsburgh. He is being touted as the emerging artist of the year at the Center for the Arts in the fall, where he’ll show work he did in Miami. He’s also getting a Heinz Endowment grant to document downtown Pittsburgh over a two year period. He’s entering his second year of that project now. Stay tuned for upcoming showings and for now come get a sample of his work at 937 Liberty Avenue during the Cultural District Gallery Crawl on Friday, July 17th from 5:30 to 9:00pm . Did we mention that the gallery crawl is FREE?

Can’t make it to the gallery crawl next Friday? Check out Dylan’s work online: http://www.dylanvitone.com/


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