I grew up in a small state, (the smallest) Rhode Island. When I was a child I had many ear infections and my mom would drive me to the East Side of Providence, for what seemed like weekly visits to the pediatrician. We would drive up College Hill past RISD and their famous lawn, and I remember always seeing the typical 90’s punk “Art School” kids with purple dreads and chains carrying their drawing boards and utility boxes. I always knew them as the “RISD Kids.” At around age six, I started taking classes at RISD. I did this until I graduated from high school, meeting many like-minded young artists with whom I still have strong bonds. My passion to become one of those art students and make art and design my career began then. I went to Parsons at the New School, here in New York City, to focus on my design career, and I like to think that choice has shaped how I approach all of my artistic endeavors.
When I moved to New York ten years ago, I majored in graphic design and began a career in creative marketing and art direction. After college graduation in 2007, on the cusp of the economic recession, I worked for a magazine making designs for marketing programs. I moved on to a swiftly growing youth media colossus that was artistically minded. Amongst all of this, I still felt a pull to get back to my roots, to build upon my passion for art and design.
During these ten years in New York City I have met many extremely talented people, and continued to make my own art. After years of planning and building upon my experiences in marketing and advertising, in 2012 I launched Ballast Projects. I began working with my network of friends and looked to the emerging artists I respected, those who I believe to be the next, new generation of remarkable artists. One of my passions is painting, and so that was the area of art on which I focused. I feel it is one of the most humanistic of art forms and one that people seem to relate most to on a personal level.
Ballast Projects is not a space, not just a gallery, but a curatorial initiative amongst a growing group of young, contemporary artists and supporters who believe in the necessity of showcasing the new generation of artists who are breaking boundaries, both large and small. Ballast Projects is what keeps me working every free hour, constantly making sure it continues to grow, show after show. The programming has been able to expand incredibly fast as these talented artists and peers come out and voice their excitement for the new platform that Ballast Projects provides. My goal is to build a bridge with emerging artists who take themselves and their work seriously, with new and established collectors and institutions that are open to seeing a new generation mold the art world into what it will become in the twenty-first century.
My most recent show was with the SPRING/BREAK Art Show this March at a former Catholic school on Mott Street in Soho. It was a pleasure to curate a show in a venue with so much character, especially given the location. Knowing that it was an empty building in one of the high rent areas of the city that was to allow curators to show fine art really made me smile. I appreciated what a rarity it was. A large majority of the work that was shown throughout the fair was video art, installation based sculptures, and interactive pieces. I felt that the theme of New Mysticism was perfect to showcase the ritualistic nature of paintings and sculptures. Having a history of showing young contemporary abstract work, I felt I would go this route again to illustrate to the the public that Ballast Projects’s goal is to exhibit strong paintings from this new generation of successful abstract painters. Myself and two of the artists spent a rigorous day (and night) using fifteen gallons of white paint to bring the gallery atmosphere to the school.
A few months before the show, I was on a studio visit in Bushwick, and saw these intimately wrought hand sculptures that had recognizable objects cast within them. They were colorful and raw, and I knew this would be the finishing touch to the show. I wanted to juxtapose the paintings with a figurative, humanistic element that would bring the viewers back to how the works were created. Rachel Rossin created the hand sculptures that encircled the paintings of Russell Tyler, Matthew Hassell, Chuck Webster, Matt Mignanelli and Ted Gahl.
The SPRING/BREAK SHOW has been a springboard into early summer programming for another show with the SPRING/BREAK founders and the New Museum as well as a show at Kinfolk Studios’ gallery this June. In addition I am planning an outdoor show that I will be announcing in May for the end of summer!
Ballast Projects has been established to create open programming and to showcase and embrace the emerging, intelligent, cutting-edge artists of our generation.
By. Adam Mignanelli