Ross Iannatti was born in Chesapeake, VA in 1988 and currently lives and works in Germantown, NY. Iannatti received his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA and is currently pursuing his MFA at the Milton-Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College in Annendale-on-Hudson, NY. Iannatti’s most recent solo exhibitions include: Ellis King, Dublin, Ireland (2016), Retrospective Gallery, Hudson, NY (2015), Croy Nielsen, Berlin (2013). Most recent group exhibitions include: ‘Registry’, Ribordy Contemporary, Geneva, CH (2015), ‘New York Painting’, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, DE (2015) (catalog), Kunstverein Wiesen, Schloss Wiesen, DE (2014), Kate Werble Gallery, NYC (2014), Roberts & Tilton, Los Angeles (2014), Cherry & Martin, Los Angles (2014), James Fuentes, NYC (2013), Higher Pictures, NYC (2014). His work is part of many public and private collections. Iannatti has been most recently nominated for a Rema Hort Mann Grant.
Ross Iannatti is represented by Ribordy Contemporary in Geneva, Switzerland and Ellis King in Dublin, Ireland.
What have you been up to since graduating from VCU?
The summer after graduating from VCU I began pursuing my MFA in sculpture at Bard College. The MFA program at Bard is a low residency program, and follows a different academic structure. This means that you only meet for the program in the summer for three consecutive summers and the rest of the time you work independently. After my first summer at Bard, I moved from Richmond to the Hudson Valley, where I still live I work out of my studio in the small town of Germantown, NY, full time. Other than school and the studio I’ve been exhibiting my work and traveling quite extensively.
What advice would you give a current VCU Sculpture student?
Just keep doing what makes you happy, if what your doing doesn’t, then stop and do something else.
How did VCU prepare you for your current situation?
I think VCU prepared me incredibly well for my current situation in that I learned how to simply find my own answers to whatever problems my work presented me with. While VCU has incomparable facilities and faculty, it was the independence that the program instilled in me along with the modesty and unbelievable work ethic of my peers to make the most out of what you have at hand.
How do you define success?
Hmm, I think success can be subjective. I feel people often assume being a successful artist comes at the hands of shows, collectors, who sells the most and who’s with what gallery. I think if this is your measure of success and you go looking for it, you’ll be disappointed when you don’t find it at the end of that path. Perhaps if you look to where you began, before you became aware of the superficialities that surround the art world, you might find something more rewarding. If you’re reading this chances are you are interested in sculpture or art making of some kind. I think if you’re lucky enough, that your path has lead you here, to making art and surrounding yourself with it then you perhaps shouldn’t worry too much about success.
Why did you decide to study sculpture?
Haha, this was a weird decision actually! I was previously enrolled in the painting department at MICA. I dropped out after my first year there and was really just bummed out with art in general. I moved to Richmond, lived in a punk house for a bit and just tried to remove myself from making art and the world as much as possible. I really dropped out of a lot more than school during that period. I’m really thankful to have met James Shaeffer during that time. James introduced me to Conor Backman and Edward Shenk with whom I opened REFERENCE Art Gallery. Through Edward, James and Conor I became re-interested in making art. For a year or so I was sneaking into the school, using the shops and studios as well as meeting faculty and students. I think most people thought I was in enrolled at the time, haha! I applied to the program repeatedly and got denied. Luckily, James introduced me to Amy Hauft who talked with me for a bit in her office and admitted me to the program. I still feel like I owe my experience there, among many others, to Amy!
Is there a question we should ask you, but didn’t?
No questions. I’d just like to thank all of the VCU faculty, staff and my friends in Richmond and afar, especially Amy Hauft and Corin Hewitt.