RIT student explores cultural media with film

Student Spotlight
Stephanie Quarto, graduate student, imaging arts

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Stephanie Quarto is a graduate student in the School of Photographic Arts and Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology. Her thesis exhibit will be on display Feb. 3–8 at the Hungerford Building, 1115 E. Main St., Rochester.

Question: Where are you from?
Answer: Lindenhurst, N.Y.

Q: Why did you decide to come to RIT?
A: After my undergraduate work, I had my first real office job, cubicle and all. It wasn’t for me. By 3 o’clock, I was clawing at the desk. Shortly after, the company downsized. They kept me, but closed our office, so I worked from home. I realized that I wasn’t going to work for this company forever and that I needed to find something to do with my life that I would love. I came to RIT because of the amazing resources. Also, I liked the fact that I could study both fine art photography and commercial photography.

Q: What is the most unusual or craziest thing you’ve ever done?
A: After my undergraduate studies, I lived in a tee-pee and lean-to just outside of Oneonta, in Treadwell, N.Y. I lived there for six months. It was amazing. I learned organic gardening and built life-sized sculptures of people out of chicken wire and paper mâché. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far.

Q: What is something not a lot of people know about you?
A: I am just the right amount of obsessive compulsive and a bit of a germaphobe.

Q: What types of things do you do around campus? What are you involved in?
A: I have spent a lot of time in the Wallace Library. There are some amazing collections and books there. Also, I love the Media Resource Center. They have a great assortment of films.

Q: What is the specific medium you use as an artist?
A: I love using every medium I can figure out. I also like to use mediums unconventionally. Early in my graduate work, I did a series with linoleum. I carved images into linoleum then scanned them and printed them. When I first started my thesis work, I experimented with painting on Plexiglass. I used this great stained glass craft paint. I actually think I will go back to this after school. The paint is this translucent plastic like liquid. In addition to photography and video, I am using appropriated images right now as a medium in itself.

Q: Where do you draw upon inspiration in terms of the creative process?
A: Luckily, I haven’t searched out inspiration too often. I am usually struck by inspiration. Sometimes I literally just get woken out of a dead sleep with an idea. But I am very influenced by reading, film and writing. Also, the people in my life inspire me.

Q: Talk about your thesis exhibit and how it will be displayed or presented.
A: The exhibit has four different types of videos and images. One set shows images taken directly from our cultural media sphere (TV, Web slide shows, commercials, etc). The second set shows images taken of everyday people. The third set is taken from a live Web cam of Time Square. The fourth set shows a video wall of 100 models moving, gesturing and constantly adjusting themselves for an anonymous viewer. There are seven video projections and three massive double-sided light boxes.

Q: Where can people see your work?
A: My thesis exhibit is only up for three days. I will be exhibiting it Feb. 3 through Feb. 6, at the Hungerford, suite E252, in Rochester. It will be publicly open on the third for the opening. Anyone wishing to view the work after that can e-mail me at stephanie.quarto@gmail.com. I will also be posting the videos on a website after the show is complete.

Q: What do you hope to do with your career beyond RIT?
A: I plan to do food photography and styling. Ideally, I would also like to continue to exhibit my work.

Complied by Kevin Fuller, who covers the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences and the Golisano Institute for Sustainability for University News.

Scott Bureau covers student affairs for University News. Contact him at sbbcom@rit.edu with “Student Spotlight” suggestions.