“I want my work to make people smile, laugh and think.”
– Tad DeSanto
Tad DeSanto creates amusing yet pointed images that can be seen as part of a tradition stretching back to English poet and illustrator Edward Lear, who may be the first artist who embraced the descriptive “nonsense.” Of course, that strain of facetiousness came to distinguish the work of satirists in the years since, and a connection between DeSanto’s work and political cartoonists is not that much of a stretch.
“I Could Agree With You But Then We Would Both Be Wrong,” is perhaps the most clear example provided here, an overt commentary on the painful and seemingly irrevocable division in social discourse in recent years. The commentary itself may suggest a position on the part of the artist, but his opposing figures are given equal weight. The black & white shirt worn by one character might represent intractability, an inability to consider the grey middle ground, while the red and pink print shirt on his nemesis could be read as the opposite, an ability to consider a variety of perspectives; the ambiguity invites the viewer to finish the debate to their own satisfaction.
“Making something from nothing is magical,” explains DeSanto. “When the image I’ve created touches another person’s heart I feel a special connection that is beyond words. I know what I do is not for everybody and that’s fine with me. I do it because it takes me to another place, a place where thoughts, feelings and memories collide. I want my work to make people smile, laugh and think.”
DeSanto is a self-taught artist who has been showing work since 2005. His work has been exhibited at the Kentucky Folk Art Center, Museum of Art and Craft, New York City Outsider Art Fair, Craft(s) Gallery & Mercantile, Galerie Hertz, Swanson Contemporary, the Arts Company (Nashville, TN), the Good Folk Fest and other venues. DeSanto’s work can be found in several notable personal collections, including Jacque Parsley, Larae Bunn, Julius Friedman, Henry Heuser, Dr. Lawrence Weis, Congressman John Yarmuth, and the University of Kentucky.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: BA, Education, University Of Kentucky, 1970
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.
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