Toni-Lee Sangastiano (Associate Professor, Graphic Design & Digital Media) just returned from an amazing one-year sabbatical living in Italy and attending the Angel Academy of Art, a classical realist atelier in Florence, as a full-time student. As many CCM programs have adopted studio models, her immersion into a studio model was a great way to observe the Angel Academy studio methods, learn the drawing methods of the masters, gain a fresh perspective as a student and increase her own skill level. The influence of these methods is striking and clearly seen in all of the work she created during sabbatical.
Outside of the Angel Academy, Toni-Lee’s documentation of Italian circuses informed a new series of paintings, one among many different series of work that she created during her sabbatical. Additionally, Toni-Lee also began a Ph. D at the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts (IDSVA), studying philosophy, aesthetics and art theory. The intertextual readings at IDSVA lead to her discovery of Bakhtin and his theory of the carnivalesque, a perfect connection to Toni-Lee’s long running interest in sideshow and as one of the top sideshow banner artists in the United States. Through IDSVA, she interacted and lived with some of the world’s top artists, scholars and curators as faculty at topological research sites such as Spanocchia Castle in Italy, Berlin, Paris and Istanbul. As the perfect compliment to her classical art studies at the Angel Academy, Toni-Lee truly lived art and graphic design history through these additional experiences by gaining a deeper understanding of the aesthetic and philosophical theories underlying each period from classical art, modernism, postmodernism and beyond.
Classes and workshops in bookbinding, Florentine and Turkish paper marbling, and anatomy as well as experimentation with digital sketching and publishing, resulted in a wide variety of artistic expression. Every moment was an opportunity to expand yet it was important for her to remain connected with her community in the U.S. and to maintain her professional practice as an artist. She shared her journey through blogging, social media, artist talks abroad, international and national exhibitions and public recognition of her work by the Washington Post. In a review of the ‘Amazing Marvels’ exhibition at the Off-Rhode Gallery in Washington D.C., Mark Jenkins said, “Among the deftest painters is Toni-Lee Sangastiano, who contributes before-and-after views of a hapless fire-eater.”
With the convenience of her geographical location, she visited all of the study abroad sites and providers in Florence with Study Abroad Director, Noah Goldblatt, and she spent some time with graphic design students and alum in Dublin at the Offset graphic design conference and with her colleagues in Dublin.
As the fall 2014 semester begins, Toni-Lee is very eager to share her sabbatical adventures, learning experiences and art with her students and colleagues. Clearly driven and passionate about her work, it will be exciting to see how she applies her newfound knowledge and experiences in the classroom.
See the Largest Collection of Hand Crafted Harmonica Cases in the World. SEABA Gallery, Burlington, VT.
Insta-Artist. Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center, Dowell, MD. Juror: Ryan Hill, Director of Digital Learning Programs, at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden
Visual AIDS Postcards from the Edge Benefit, Luhring Augustine Gallery, NYC
Amazing Marvels. Off Rhode Gallery, Washington D.C. (Sangastiano’s “Bally No. 2” was selected for the exhibition invite)
Angel Academy of Art Student Exhibition. Florence, Italy
Guest Artist, Studio Exhibition at Richmond, the American International University of London, Florence, Italy
Link to Washington Post Article