Cleveland Artist Frank Oriti, A Former Steelworker, Profiled in New York Times

A selection of Oritis paintings from his website (click to go to site)
  • A selection of Oriti's paintings from his website (click to go to site)

Frank Oriti no longer works at Cleveland's American Tank and Fabricating. He's a successful artist now, but he is still connected to his former life as a steelworker and upbringing in Parma. The New York Times just wrote about Oriti, 29, who has his work featured in a Sag Harbor, NY, art gallery this summer:

“Homeland,” at the Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery in Sag Harbor, N.Y., is exhibiting the work of Frank Oriti, who paints detailed portraits of blue-collar protagonists, mostly relatives and friends from Parma, the Cleveland suburb where he was born and raised, and fellow steelworkers from the mill where he and his brother, a former Marine, labored. The paintings depict 20-somethings, mostly men, dressed casually in T-shirts and baseball caps, gazing out impassively, or with an edge of aggression. Mr. Oriti repeats motifs of the suburban homes like the ones his subjects grew up in, in gray-toned backgrounds, then paints over them in messy white acrylic. In many cases the subjects have returned not just to Cleveland but to their childhood houses. It is an unsettled homecoming, resignation etched on young faces.

The story features a Q&A section with Oriti, where he talks about his old job and what it's like being an artist in Cleveland. Go read it.

Scene has written about some of Oriti's exhibits, most recently in 2012 at the Bonfoey Gallery: "Cleveland painter Frank Oriti examines the rugged power and solemn mien of America's young, blue-collar work force. In the process, he paints a provocative picture of a generation's dashed hopes when facing a crippled economy."

Here's a link to Oriti's website if you want to know more about him. Here's 17 minute with Fine Art Magazine from three days ago:

(Thanks to the Rust Wire twitter account for posting the New York Times link)

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Doug Brown

Doug Brown is a staff writer at Scene with a passion for public records laws and investigative reporting. A native of Ann Arbor, Mich., he has an M.A. in journalism from the Kent State University School of Journalism and Mass Communication and a B.A. in political science from Hiram College. Prior to joining Scene,...
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