August's First Friday saw three very disparate artists showing work at Alabaster Coffee Roaster and Tea Co., 410 Pine St. Painter Aly Mitchell, digital artist and animator Christina Moliterno and pen-and-ink and comic-book artist Joseph Troxler may work with different media, but they have one thing in common: they're good at what they do.
Local artist Joshua Troxler acts as curator for Alabaster, and reached out to three diverse artists because he said any of their work would stand on its own.
"When you walk in and see Aly [Mitchell]'s large painting on the wall, you can't help but think, 'This is exactly where that painting belongs,' " he said. The painting to which he referred is undoubtedly Mitchell's piece titled simply "Ethel," a large-scale, hyper-realistic rendering of an elderly woman that faces you as you enter Alabaster.
“Ethel,” a painting by Aly Mitchell that is on display at Alabaster Coffee Roaster and Tea Co., is seen above.
"Ethel" 's subject was ready for her portrait; a string of pearls rest on her light-blue sweater, the matching earring fastened to her ear (the composition is cropped very close - most of the subject's face is visible and takes up more than half of the surface). She wears carefully-placed lipstick and a distinctive color of mascara. Mitchell painstakingly rendered the makeup, however, with the same objective hand that painted every wrinkle in Ethel's face.
"My pieces, both large and small, invite the viewer to study the work close up. All viewers can relate to the subject of flesh (which all of my pieces exhibit). [They (viewers)] immediately connect with the idea of being human," Mitchell said.
23-year-old Mitchell graduated in 2012 with a bachelors of fine arts degree and honors from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She creates "realistic paintings and surreal drawings" and will display four paintings at Alabaster for the month of August. A Montours-ville native, Mitchell said she draws inspiration in part from another local artist, Marguerite Bierman.
"[She] has greatly influenced my inspiration and self confidence. Her philosophies on art and life have really encouraged my dreams of becoming a working artist," Mitchell said. Three of the pieces on display are available for sale.
Joseph Troxler will have six pieces on display, all of which are for sale: three traditional pen-and-ink drawings, and three digital drawings created using a graphic tablet and Photoshop.
Troxler recently transferred to Lycoming College from the Art Institute of York and is majoring in fine art with a concentration in painting. His influences are varied and it shows in his work. Some of his influences include "Marcel Duchamp, Rembrandt, and Chuck Close. I like to think I pull a little bit from each artist's style and attach it to my own," he said.
The digital drawing, titled "Have you seen this boy?," uses a very childlike range of colors - mainly the primaries with hints of green - but the drawing as a whole is more melancholy than the sum of it's colorful parts. The young boy in the picture is "Adam," who will be the main character in Troxler's upcoming comic book "A Boy and His Fears," which he said will be finished in a few months.
Christina "Pepper" Moliterno also is currently studying at Lycoming College. Her major is digital communications, with focuses in digital media and filmmaking, and her minor is commercial design. She's showing eight pieces, four of which are part of a set.
"Bird, Fox, Deer, and Kyle" features the whimsical and colorful portraits of their respective animals, where "Bird" is a peacock chick and "Kyle" is an owl. Like "Kyle," there's another outlier among Moliterno's eight pieces; the elegant, almost Japanese print, titled "Songbird," is the only piece that began as a traditional drawing before being scanned and manipulated digitally.
Regardless of whether the images are still or animated, Moliterno said her dream job would be the same, "creating the same kinds of children's stories that I grew up on: sophisticated, intelligent stories that adults can watch and appreciate the underlying meaning, while kids are watching solely for the fun of it."
Moliterno worries that we underestimate children and their capacity to pick up on subtleties.
"I want to bring back some of the intelligence to children's [stories], but in a way that makes it fun for them to watch both as kids and again as adults. Nostalgia will bring them back, but they can enjoy it even more because they understand more of what's going on," she explained.
For more about Moliterno, visit hipepper. tumblr.com, or follow her work as a fledgling animator at peplearnsto draw.tumblr.com. See more of Joseph Troxler's work online at blinkman 147.deviantart.com. Mitchell's online portfolio is available at alymitchellartwork.com.
Their work will be on display for the month of August.