By Monica Morones
When I first met multi-media artist Aly Michael Ferrante at a Venus Art Gallery Show in Palm Desert, I was blown away not only by her skill as an artist but her personality was enthusiastic! You could tell instantly with one look that she was an artist. Eccentric, personable but with a bit of moxie, she captured my interest and had me gazing at her art with a curious eye. Her style is a little bit of pop art mixed media with a rebellious modern twist. We had a fun photoshoot at her house, which is covered wall to wall with her art, and I got to see firsthand how dedicated Aly is about her art.
MM: Where are you from?
AF: I am an Italian American from Syracuse, New York. I moved here six years ago on Nov 1, 2008. My decision to come here was quite sporadic. Post graduating college in Baltimore, Maryland, I returned to Syracuse and decided I didn’t want to stay in the same town as all the kids I went to school with. California seemed appropriate since it was very far from home and I have a subdivision of family here all originally from Syracuse.
MM: When did you start painting and making art?
AF: I have been drawing since I can remember. My mom enrolled me in art classes at Syracuse University at a pre-k level which I continued all though grade school. I used to “smoke” my crayons in Kindergarten. That, in retrospect, is early proof of my insane ways.
MM: What is your medium of choice?
AF: Despite graduating art school with a degree in sculpture, I mostly paint in acrylic and cannot resist random objects, commonly considered multimedia. My commonly used items include: stickers, stamps, spray paint, sharpie, white out, and glitter.
MM: Where did you go to art school?
AF: I received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in 2008 from The Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore “Charm City” Maryland, which I attended for 4 years. Art school for me was complicated. I appreciate and resent the “teaching” I received, mostly because art is very subjective. Subjective because art is perceived personally by each viewer and grades are solely depended on by the opinion of the said teacher. Structure learned through art education is 50/50 for me. It was good and bad for me. Art school is colorful, but black and white. It is constructive and destructive. What I took with me from my experience was certain technical aspects of the aesthetics of art, mainly to please your viewer. For me, composition applied to the canvas. But that itself is subjective, more strife lays in its opposite. In an art school setting, ‘teaching’ to me was mostly only beneficial in retrospect- and depends highly on what you take with you to apply to your own work, in the long haul- grading is not right or wrong, so your teachers can’t really teach much. More time is wasted on the back and forth critique of ‘what is art’ and ‘what did you mean by making this art’ then appreciating art in itself- or just letting art ‘be’- and not worrying about defending every line you laid down on that piece of paper. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a good conversation debating art but, with teachers (and I can’t blame them but its irritating to me,) It’s more of their personal paths and their own ego that judges the final product you displayed in response to the assignment.
MM: What would you describe as your style?
AF: I’d say its roots are in pop art. I’d consider it as funky, punky, loud, and mildy controlled chaos. If my art doesn’t end up glowing in the dark, I can’t even see it. I appreciate blinding colors while balancing it with an “eye-relieving” composition.
MM: Who are/is your favorite artist?
AF: My favorite artist to date is NYC based, Jason Mercier. I have been following his art since he made an incredible portrait of Amanda Bynes (during her insane stage) out of nothing but sour patch kids. He is an inspiration to me as we tend to use pop culture icons as the focus of our work-and his attention to detail is incredible. He makes art out of mostly candy, bacon and trash. He even goes as far as having celebrities send their trash to him, which he uses to create their portrait. His series “Bacon Bad” is a good balance of our times, displayed with America’s love trend of bacon and the Breaking Bad AMC series- a pop culture meal in itself.
MM: Where have you shown your work?
AF: I have a couple paintings in S’mart Gallery in Old Town La Quinta. My art has also been auctioned off for charity at The Women Heart Association in the desert. I have had tents set up at events to show my art one of them being The Festival of Opera and Arts. Last November, I had been featured on Angela Romeo’s website for her art show Colliding Worlds which is a Palm Springs based show- after being a guest on her radio show. I have had 3 solo art displays in a boutique on El Paseo for El Paseo Art Walk. I also have art on display at the small, but promising business ‘Olive A Sudden’ in both the Palm Desert and Palm Springs locations. I painted a large mural for the College of the Desert Golf Course a few years back. I’ve also shown at Venus Gallery and Art Studio in Palm Desert.
MM: What do you think of the Art Scene in the Coachella Valley?
AF: I am very impressed with the art scene in the desert. My father has played lead guitar for his own bands since the 60’s, so I am a huge supporter for local music and I believe this desert’s local music scene is killing it. Also, as far as 2D and 3D art- I have been privileged to meet very talented fellow artists and photographers here as well. It seems like the artists and musicians that I have met here are very kind and supportive (& impressed with/) one another. I am happy to be a part of it, and would like to see more art meets music events. Oh, and not to forget to mention all the talented manicurists, hairstylists and fashionistas I have met here as well that are very artistic. I have a good friend who makes jewelry here and has sold publicly and privately. Also, my personal mentor who supports and guides me in the arts is a wonderful ‘food artist’ Nina Cucina who just got a show on The Food Network “Wild & Spicy with Nina Cucina.” All local art in so many forms inspires me to work hard for the entertainment of the local and wider public.
MM: What do you think would help improve it?
AF: Coming together in group events that are affordable to the public, as well as to the artist to display our work.
MM: What are your goals for your artistic career?
AF: My goals art wise are based mostly around having more time to create. Although I love my job and my boss is like family to me, I’d like to get to a point as soon as possible where I could make art my main focus, job and squeeze. I crave the opportunity to have more time to dedicate to my art, and with more free time it would be easier for me to do things to better myself with art like attending figure drawing classes again- and scouting out more potential places to show my art, including collaborations with many, if not all forms of creative expression. In other words, personally, make it my job. Also, I have some ideas for some new installations: A series of paintings that glow under a backlight and have a 3d effect with 3d glasses. Something I work on for fun but would love to pull together for a killer display of a more multifaceted way to view and appreciate art.