Julien Tomasello MFA, MAT
Age of Consent, 2015
Collage on canvas frames (acrylic, paper, fabric, safety pins, thread, rhinestones)
9 x 36.5"
The Secrets of Summer
Last Dance, 2017
Collage on canvas frames (acrylic, paper, fabric, thread, Swarovski Crystals, rhinestones, sequins)
18 x 72"
Cruel Summer: Central Park, NYC, 1992, 2018
Collage on paper (felt, fabric, thread, paper, color photocopy)
6 x 4"
Created for and donated to: Visual AIDS 20th Annual Postcards from the Edge benefit exhibition
The Secrets of Summer is an ongoing series of collage-on-panel works. Each work possesses a narrative of ‘autobiographical fiction’. These narratives blend actual events, dreams, and desires I experienced as an LGBT youth and young adult, during the 1980’s and 1990’s, with threads of fictions influenced through the books, music, films, television, and art I absorbed during this time. Escapism was a panacea to the isolation, and fear I felt during my youth. The world around me seemed steeped in conformity, homophobia, and later, darkness as AIDS began its ravage of the LGBT community I hoped to join, and made the expression of love seem toxic.
My series, The Secrets of Summer, is named after a short story from the 1994 book, The Informers, by one of my literary icons, American-author, Bret Easton Elis. Elis’ short-story chronicles a brief period in the lives of a group of savage and seductive vampires existing in modern-day Los Angeles. Much like my own sexuality and gender-identity as a youth, the vampires’ true nature exists in secrecy. While I hid my truth via obsequiousness, Elis’ vampires hide theirs behind mirrored sunglasses, beauty, and aloofness as they travel in chic sports cars under the city’s glaring sun.
Collage is the medium of choice for my series. Collage was one of the first art practices I fell in love with as a child artist. I now, as I did then, use the hues, patterns, and textures of papers, fabrics, beads, and bangles to communicate the world as I envision it. There is intimacy and escape in the meticulousness, obsessiveness, and repetitiveness of my collage method.