Art & Design


Moments by Dominic Taranto

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Coinciding with this month’s Melbourne International Film Festival, Kensington Artist Dominic Taranto brings us his newest exhibition, Moments. I had the privilege of having an advanced viewing of the exhibition, and a chat with the humble and hard-working artist behind it.

QV’s No Vacancy Gallery is the perfect venue for the series of cinematic snippets of films that wove into Taranto’s adolescence and how the impact of these shaped who he is as a person and artist. Taranto and I discussed how that time of one’s life is so important: ‘you are a sponge and starting to learn about who you are as a lover, as a creative, as a friend.’ The paintings capture so much detail in specific moments in films from the 1960s to the 2000s that had such a lasting effect on Taranto. ‘Some of them aren’t the show stealing moments of the film … that’s fine … though every time I go back to watch them they dredge back the same emotion … the moments in each film are such a personal experience to me and everyone has their own moments when they see things that had an effect on them.’ Through zooming in on the little things and being invited to see these personal moments, we are welcomed to reflect on our own films, books, and music that shaped us – he wants people to walk away and ask themselves what has made them who they are.

With moments from films by Hitchcock, James Cameron, American Beauty, Holding the Man, Hero and RENT, the themes of the pieces are mainly love, horror, peace, and Asian films that have such wonderful emphasis on composition and colour. The paintings are on wooden frames in the size the film was shot in. The wood gives it a more organic feel and some works are slightly grainy, which I think is especially appropriate for film. The process of creating this exhibition was intense, Taranto made a list of about 35 films and 7 novels, reread and re-watched them all multiple times to make sure he was able to fully connect with how they made him feel when he first saw them. He then made mock ups in his home studio, all through the Melbourne winter. We commented on how cities where winters are long and dark like Melbourne are often cities where there is also some rich culture. All that time brooding by the fire or creating in the cold can have its benefits. Taranto set the date for the exhibition before beginning the work – working with a true end goal in mind, at the same time as working fulltime as an artist mentor at Redbubble.

I asked him what were the hardest things about putting this work together and working as an independent visual artist. ‘On the technical side it would be having confidence in trusting your own skills and vision and seeing it through.’ He then pointed out that on the personal professional side, Melbourne is full of opportunities and artists to the point of saturation that it’s difficult to stand out or be caught up and distracted by what other people are doing. This is combatted by having people see him through the process, cheering him on, taking to places that inspire him like retreating to a friend’s art space in Collingwood for 2 weeks of strolling the CBD’s laneways.

A few things about this exhibition have me really excited. It’s accessible  there is no hoity-toity artist speak – and there are images we would recognise and the stories about why Taranto created those are very relatable. This exhibition is a great example to any creatives out there to just start with what inspires you; not to worry about originality or changing the world. Most of all, we get a very special look into someone’s view of what has shaped who they are, which is a very intimate thing. Taranto has expressed some really provoking emotions across a broad spectrum in this exhibition – put it on the list for your lunch break or Saturday afternoon CBD stroll.

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