FROTTAGE (art): A technique in the visual arts of obtaining textural effects or images by rubbing lead, chalk, charcoal, etc., over a paper or canvas laid on a textured or raised surface.
My current project in Pittsburgh PA uses the process of frottage (art) to create a rubbing of a manhole with oil pastels on canvas. This new and interesting idea has turned into something visually rewarding and historically interesting. It’s not only inspiring for myself but also for anyone who chances to pass by as I create the rubbing. In fact, while I am on the street creating the work, I’m not only a visual artist but a street performer as well. The final piece is a colorful, graphically interesting manhole cover rubbing on canvas. The art forever preserves a tiny piece of history that otherwise goes unnoticed.
My initial inspiration came from riding my bike to Pittsburgh for work everyday. I would see manholes with interesting textures and original art that not many people stop to take notice of. These textures and graphics are what inspires my work. The Pittsburgh area has an endless supply of beautiful manholes due to the thriving steel mill industry starting in 1875 with Andrew Carnegie.
I was born in Wilkinsburg, PA and lived in various locations. I ended up in Pittsburgh pursuing a degree at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. After graduating I worked as an airbrush artist at several studios until I started my own commercial art business. Alongside my creative wife, Bonnie, we turned the business into an award-winning digital photo illustration studio.
I’ve always had a passion for many different types of art. Different media such as watercolor, wood, glass, sculpting and photography have always inspired me. One thing that has interested me are the natural and man made colors and textures of the streets. This is what I’m trying to accomplish in my latest body of work, Manhole Cover Art. I hope to push this style of art as far as it goes and hopefully it will push me to find new inspiration and creativity in the world. Luckily I have unconditional support from my equally creative family.