|Artist, Tony Lordi|
In 2005 I moved with my husband to Sussex County, a place where we knew no one, had no roots. I had just started my business as an artist and immediately got myself involved in the county's fledgling art scene. After becoming a member and getting involved in the Sussex County Arts & Heritage Council, the director of the council then, Linda Hirsch, introduced me to Tony Lordi. He was this artist and gallery owner in Lafayette. She thought he might be able to use my help to gallery sit.
We met, he signed me up to sit, and I was indoctrinated into the world of Tony Lordi. I was excited at the prospect, even more so after learning that one of his well-known "Empires" was featured in my college art history text, "Varieties of Visual Experience". But, I was intimidated, too. Tony was smart, had what seemed more energy at his age than I've ever seemed to possess. He lived, breathed, and loved art and music. But he loved life, too.
I sat at Art at the Mill, learned about running a gallery, and got to know Tony. He was hands-on, always stopping in to say hello, chat, and was always inquiring about my artwork. I eventually showed him some of my stuff, and he loved it. Within no time I was exhibiting my artwork at the gallery. I attribute Tony with being the one who really jump-started my exhibition career. He encouraged me, supported me, and made me want to make work. Tony in the past even offered to drive my entries into NYC for an annual show at NYU that he encouraged me to participate in (I got acceptances 2 of the 3 years I entered).
|Chrome Boy with Big Ears, this was part of the promo materials from Kitchen Kitsch, a joint show between Tony and Me in 2008 at TraillWorks. When I saw the Chrome Boy, I thought there was a fun likeness to Tony an used it as a portrait of him to represent his work for the show. Tony thought it was great, and encouraged me to use it.|
When I eventually made the decision to rent my own studio, he was gung-ho for it. I enjoyed his almost-weekly visits, chats, and criticism at my new place. I began inviting a few artists to exhibit with me on occasion and I had the honor of showing his work beside mine in 2008 for a Tour of Art in Newton. His agreement to do the show with me was flattering and cemented for me that he viewed me as an equal. We titled the show Kitchen Kitsch; featuring my Appliance Portraits and his Vintage Chrome Appliance sculptures. Our work together drew so much attention to the gallery!
|Installation of Vintage Chrome Appliances at TraillWorks in 2008, all sculptures © Tony Lordi|
|Steam Heat, vintage irons and ironing board, © Tony Lordi|
My last, fondest memory of Tony is when I relocated my studio earlier this year. I was still getting my new place ready and he stopped by for a visit, while driving his red Empire around town to take pictures for a book project he was working on. I jumped on the opportunity, learning from Tony, and invited him to bring it in and take pictures of it at TraillWorks. We had an impromptu studio shoot, Ringo on hand and in photos. He was so full of life, excitement. I don't recall what we talked about but I will cherish that day as it was one of the last great memories of Tony; breezing in and out with his art.
|Red Empire, ©2010 Tony Lordi|