For some time now, Tony has been exploring the visual possibilities of altered books. Choosing vintage and antiquarian texts, he carefully cuts through one page at a time to reveal existing images in a three dimensional collage. The results allow the contents and imagery of long outdated material to be viewed in a manner that is both exciting and thought provoking.
Tony is currently represented by Jonathan Ferrara Gallery in New Orleans and Seager/Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, California.
My decades long career in contemporary jazz directly informs my work as a visual artist. Music, for me, has always had a visual component, with the diverse elements of music suggesting colors, shapes and textures. The juxtaposition of abstract shapes which come together as I work on a book, is very much how I perceive the interplay of melody, harmony and rhythm.
Improvisation is also key to my approach in both genres. Within a jazz ensemble, each player is responsible for an individual part which must support and inspire the other musicians. In the heat of the moment, unexpected phrases or motivic ideas can affect surprising new directions for the collective ensemble. Similarly, the tension and harmony which naturally occurs as I uncover each new image unfailingly impacts the whole and often shifts the form and concept of the emerging composition.
Cutting through each book page by page to expose selected subject matter is primarily a subtractive process. However, I often choose to reserve certain images for later use. This too is comparable to the open-ended conversation on the bandstand, and provides me with greater control over the development of each piece.
I prefer working with vintage books and encyclopedias. The eclectic photos and illustrations represent material that is long out of date, yet offer a fascinating window into our past. Ultimately, I hope to provide a perspective on the transitory nature of what earlier generations understood to be factual, and offer insight into the way ever evolving media has shaped contemporary perspectives.