Nick Schietromo is a fine art photographer residing in the Boston area. His work deals with various aspects of domesticity, with one series focusing on his grandparents and another using found vernacular photography. He is a recent graduate from the New England Institute of Art and currently works as the Assistant to the Director of Gallery Kayafas in Boston, a framer at Panopticon Imaging in Rockland and an intern at the Nave Gallery in Somerville.
Recent exhibitions and publications of his work include a solo show at The Nave Annex Gallery, the Flash Forward Festival 2013: Undergraduate Photography Now, The New England Institute of Art Gallery on the Plaza, Aint-Bad Magazine and Stampsy.
In this interview Catalina Piedrahita asked Schietromo about his decision of becoming an artist, his opinion on Boston's art scene and some tips for up and coming artists. Nick also shared with us some of his favorite local shows going on at the moment.
Catalina Piedrahita: Could you share with us why and when did you decide to pursue an artistic career, and why did you choose photography as your main medium?
Nick Schietromo: Senior year of high school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after I graduated. I had a friend who had decided to get his EMT license so I figured, “Hey, I might as well do that.” While in the process of medical schooling, I had a different friend get a DSLR for Christmas that I ended up using more than he did. The more I played with it, the more fascinated I became. The endless possibilities of this hunk of technology really interested me. I started searching the Internet for different photography forums and pretty much taught myself how to use the camera properly. Constantly taking photos, uploading them to the critique portions of forums and using their suggestions to improve the way I shot.
As I completed my EMT license I knew that wasn’t what I wanted to do. I remember telling my parents I wanted to go to an art school and their reactions weren’t as bad as I was expecting. My Mimi and mother had always been artistically inclined, so it really wasn’t a big deal for them. My dad was just as supportive and took me to all of the New England art school open houses.
CP: You have been able to exhibit your work several times here in Boston. How difficult has it been finding opportunities to showcase your work? Do you have any advice for up and coming artists like you who want to apply to call for entries or get in contact with art gallerists?
NS: I feel that there are always open submissions in the greater Boston area. And the great thing about making friends within the “photo scene” is that we are constantly sending each other links to even more of them. Personally, I am finding it a little difficult to submit my Years Later series though. A lot of submissions I find push “straight photography”, which that series is definitely not. So I’ve been looking more into other types of calls for entries as well. There are also a lot of opportunities to submit curatorial proposals as well!
My advice would be to submit to as many things as possible that seem to compliment your work. The more people see your work, the better your chances are at getting published/into galleries.
As for getting in contact with gallerists, now that I work at Gallery Kayafas, I see the other side of things as well. My biggest advice is to be as polite and considerate as possible. If you can meet in person with the director, ask if they would have time to make an appointment to review your portfolio. NEVER just walk into the gallery and expect the director to stop and look at your work.
CP: What’s your opinion on the art scene in Boston? It is growing, shrinking, the same?
NS: I’ve only been really “in the scene” for about a year now, so that’s tough to say. But overall I would say its slowly growing (and in a good way). I love everything about the art scene in Boston though. Everyone is extremely supportive and respectful.
CP: What kind of artistic venues would you like to see more of here in Boston?
NS: I would love to see more venues that combined photography and other mediums as well, specifically exhibitions of mediums that compliment each other. I find it frustrating when galleries only show one medium or another, OR when they do show multiple mediums, they are separated by theme or concept.
CP: Are there any shows or exhibits going on that you would recommend seeing?
NS: Well, I have a show up right now at the Nave Gallery Annex in Somerville until the end of May. Also, Gallery Kayafas is showing (probably my favorite exhibition yet) work of Jo Sandman, Jordan Kessler and Thomas Gustainis. If you can get a chance to check out any of the Flash Forward exhibits that are up, those are all fantastic as well! (http://www.flashforwardfestival.com/exhibitions/)
Brian Kaplan also has an opening at Panopticon Imaging on May 17 that I’m SUPER excited for. I’ve been a fan of Kaplan’s since he last showed at Panopticon Gallery, so seeing his work again will be great. It’s a little ways off but I’m also really excited for the Somerville Toy Camera Festival June 5-29th. Last year was fantastic so I can only imagine how great this year will be! They are going to be showing in FIVE galleries! For more info, check out their website (http://www.somervilletoycamera.org/).