Beacon Gallery has the unique opportunity to meet and work with a range of artists, partners and members of the wider art community. Beacon Gallery Connections allows us to take a closer look at their personal journey, and get a better understanding of their relationship to art.

Beacon Gallery Connections: Domenic Esposito

Domenic Esposito works on a large metal spoon as part of the Opioid Spoon Project. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Massachusetts-based artist Domenic Esposito got his start in the corporate finance world before leaving to pursue his passion for art.  

Having trained at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Stonybrook Fine Arts, Artist Asylum, and Prospect Hill Forge, Esposito brings a combination of professional education and lived experience to his works which seek to elicit emotional connections between viewers and the art they gaze upon.

Esposito works with a variety of media though he considers himself to be a sculptor first and foremost.  He finds joy in the process of creating his works, valuing more traditional methods for the sense of connection they give him with his works.

“I employ older sculpting methods such as blacksmithing, ironworking, and sand casting, while utilizing CAD software to deliberate, draft, build and eventually communicate with the foundry. The experience of using heat, pressure, or even a simple hammer to coax metal into shape, derives a sense of pleasure and accomplishment that is immeasurable… In this transition from contemplation, subliminal inquiry and physical manifestation, is what motivates me to keep going”

– Domenic Esposito

Despite his use of historical techniques, the works themselves are anything but traditional.  Instead, Esposito pushes the boundaries of painting versus sculpture, creating works in which bronze figures often emerge from the painted panel out into the viewer’s own space.

Esposito, Feeling Verdigris, 40″ X 30″ X 12″, Mixed Media, 2021. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Inspiring his art is his passion for activism and increasing awareness about the opioid epidemic.  Esposito explains:

“I seek to be a voice for those that don’t have a voice. Too caught up in a struggle to survive…or barely surviving. As an artist and social activist, my work reflects the forces that haunt our society, our community, our families and loved ones. This struggle, that can be felt and experienced by all, is what fuels me. Driving me, enraging me, compelling me to bring to life the pain and rawness of addiction, mental illness, isolation, despair, social injustice…and importantly, hope and faith in our shared future.”

– Domenic Esposito

His activism drove him to found the Opioid Spoon Project, a non profit organization which strives to bring attention and legal support to the opioid crisis in the United States.  In 2018, the project gained national attention when Esposito placed giant, eight hundred pound steel spoons in front of major pharmaceutical companies’ headquarters.

Currently, Esposito’s works are on display at Beacon Gallery’s A Delicate Balance, showing June 3, 2022 – July 17, 2022.  The show explores the ways in which our external facades often mask our true internal emotional states.  A Delicate Balance meshes perfectly with the themes of shared humanity and compassion in Esposito’s art.

Esposito, Reticent, 30″ X 22″, Mixed Media on Paper, 2021. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Beacon Gallery recently interviewed Domenic Esposito about his path and motivations as an artist as well as how it has guided him to where he is today.  The conversation follows: 

How did you get started in your career?

I remember the first time I felt the heat of a welding torch. The fire in my face. The ability to watch something so strong melt away and become anew. The intensity of it. Bright sparks melting metal into a thick, molten lava. Explosive, creative energy that I was at the center of. The experimentation. The discovery. The voice inside that happily yelled, “Look what I can do!” This is what I thrive on. 

At first, it was just one metalworking class. Then I tried a design class, a sketching class, a week-long residency. It became an obsession. I started taking classes nonstop – all over Boston, and from any school that had something that sparked my interest. At home, I started using my garage as a creative studio, making things one may consider art. Many people in the classes were making practical things, like tables and chairs. In contrast, my first two projects were a steel replica of one of my motorcycles, and a pair of bamboo gates for my backyard zen garden. I wasn’t sure where I was headed yet. But there was an undeniable passion that I knew I had to follow. 

What is the hardest obstacle you’ve had to overcome in your career?

For me, the hardest obstacle is rejection.  In the art world it is very common to face rejection over and over.  Creating art is extremely personal and it’s difficult to face rejection without feeling hurt.  I have come to realize that art is totally subjective and what may be appealing to one person, may not be to another, and that’s absolutely fine.

What are near-term (and longer-term) plans for the future of your initiative?

I plan to continue using my art as a voice for those communities that have been overlooked.  I want to keep exploring other social injustices through my artwork.  I have always felt passionate about helping others and bringing empathy to human struggles.

Who or what inspires you in your work as an artist?

The inspiration for much of my work is very personal.  Often, it has been my younger brother Danny, who has been struggling with substance use disorder for many years.  Other times it has been all those affected by the opioid crisis and the different battles each person faces every day just to survive.

What impact do you hope or want to make on the public (consumers, art community, your community), and/or society in general?

My single biggest hope is for my artwork to successfully communicate empathy. That is, creating awareness and compassion for people suffering from a substance abuse disorder (SUD), as well as people dealing with a loved one with an SUD, and the unfortunate stigma that exists. Importantly, this struggle often includes mental health issues and the lack of empathy that we as a society need to recognize and correct.

 Can you share an important misstep you made in your career, and the outcome? What lesson did you learn that may help others, and what advice would you give your younger self?

Early on in my art career I didn’t think of my art as a business.  It’s very easy to get caught up in the thrill of participating at galleries and art fairs without considering the commitment you’re making in terms of time, energy and expenses. As a former business professional, my advice to artists would be to think of every opportunity as a potential step in your career path as a professional artist, and how you can make decisions that will help you sustain this path, especially if you want to make a living from it. 

Can you share something about yourself that others might be surprised to learn?

I really love to cook and one of my passions is making homemade pizza in my wood burning oven.

Many thanks to Domenic for taking the time to share with us.  To keep up with Domenic Esposito and his creations, visit his website and follow him on Instagram @domenic_esposito_metal.

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