Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Meat: Dominic Episcopo

Raw art has never been more literal. Dominic Episcopo's new photo book "Meat America" is a visual feast.

Meat: Dominic Episcopo

What first inspired you to do this clever project?

Well, I have always loved meat and was thrilled to be able to finally work with it as my medium. Its a medium that has not been truly realized as an art form. It started with thinking that it looks like geography, the marbling feels like a map. And the idea of meat speaks to so many topics and issues.

Meat America photos have been making the rounds on art blogs for the past couple of years. Why did you decide to do a book after so long? 

Well, the big reception online made me realize that maybe I should do a book, that people really reacted to the images.

How thrilled/surprised were you when you achieved your kickstarter goal?

I personally was a bit freaked out by the public funding thing. All and all it was a great experience, but I'm a fairly private person, I don't live my life through posts on Facebook, so to be so "out there" with the funding and to succeed or fail so publicly was un-nerving for me. But as always, I am impressed or even blown away by peoples generosity and the outpouring of support. Kickstarter really kickstarted an internet buzz that has been great. We went viral and really reached so many people. Without a big company behind you it was really the best way out of the box.


Are most of your photos shot locally? in your apartment? At a butcher shop? In a photo studio?

All the images were made in my Fishtown studio

 

Did Philadelphia have any influence on this project? Were you born and raised or just currently working here?

Yes I have a few philadelphia images. Love & Death is a Philadelphia breakfast complete with Tastytkakes and soft pretzel and the scrapple Liberty Bell, need I say more.

 

What's your background as an artist? Education? Influence? Body of Work?

I was always the guy with the camera in high school. I went to University of the Arts in Philadelphia and received my BFA in fine arts. As a young photographer I loved polaroids, old school instant. I worked in SX-70, 4X5 pos/neg and captiva for many years before my dance with meat.

My Photo heros are Irving Penn and Weegee, two great NYC photographers. I love Irving Penn for his straight forward studies, the way he renders his subject. No tricks, here it is, but at the same time its gracefulness is magical. Weegee on the other hand also has a bluntness to his to his work, but his images have a sense of humor.

 

How many Meat America photographs have you shot for the series? 

About 80.

 

Have you ever had a meat photo shoot go horribly wrong?

My Michael Jackson is made of calf's liver. It's really gross. It smells terrible. I'm not squeamish but I had to throw it out and start over a second day.

 

Did you shape, cut and form the meat yourself? Preferred meat to work with? Most fun/favorite photo you took?

I do mostly mold the meat with my hands, I do make cuts but not as many as you may think. I chose the meat based on what I'm making an image about. I really like the rib eye, all my portraits are rib eyes. It’s my favorite meat to work with.

 

From what I understand, your book is near completion. When can people expect the official public release?

The book is done. I have started filling the Kickstarter pledges. We will be featured on Fab.com in March, and you can buy it at meatamerica.com

 

What do you say to those who may be a little sensitive to your liberal use of meat?

Ha, well put, I appreciate that it may not be for everyone.

 

Do you want to give any credit or thanks to anyone who worked with you on the project?

Everyone involved has been so generous and awesome. David Taffet , the publisher and Jordan Goldenberg , the designer have both been pivotal in the execution of this book.

 

What's projects can we expect from you in the future?

Not sure yet

 

When is your Fab.com sale? Will you be selling prints of Meat America? Anything else?

We hope to sell poster/ prints as well

 

Gabrielle Bonghi Philly.com
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Art Attack is a partnership with Drexel University and is supported by a grant from the Knight/NEA Community Arts Journalism Challenge, administered by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

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