Artists & Galleries

Meet SAC Takeover 2020! Artists Jodi Bentivegna & Esly E. Escobar

Register now for the exciting workshops being offered by SAC's talented artists-in-residence.

Southampton Arts Center’s Takeover 2020! exhibition is nearing its halfway point, but there are still plenty of new things to do and see. Children ages 6–13 can join Jodi Bentivegna for a Combination Creatures drawing class on Saturday, March 7 at 3 p.m., and adults are invited to take part in an Ideation, Design and Tarot drawing workshop on Saturday, March 21 at 3 p.m. And don’t miss Esly E. Escobar’s Freestyle Painting class on Saturday, March 28 at 3 p.m. Meet the final artists in our Takeover 2020! series, Melinda Hackett and Kerry Sharkey-Miller, in next week’s installment!

RELATED: Meet SAC Takeover 2020! Artists Miles Partington & Franco Cuttica

Jodi Bentivegna concentrating on her work, Photo: David Taylor
Jodi Bentivegna concentrating on her work, Photo: David Taylor

Shelter Island artist and ferry boat captain, Jodi Bentivegna creates works that draw attention to place, rootedness and time. She uses the tarot to incorporate chance and magical archetypes into her pieces.

What are your plans or goals for your Takeover 2020! residency?
I’m really excited to collaborate with the other artists, watch their processes and learn from them. It’s really exciting to get feedback from the community. I guess I’m looking forward to figuring out ways to better market my art and figure out who my audience is. It’s so nice to get eyes on everything.

Several of Jodi Bentivegna's blue works on display
Several of Jodi Bentivegna’s blue works on display, Photo: David Taylor

How did you select the works to display in your Takeover 2020! gallery space?
Ever since I found out that I was going to do this in August, I’ve been trying to make things along a coherent theme, which is the tarot archetype, allowing this element of chance into my work. Thematically, I tried to link everything through color, so there’s a lot of blue.

RELATED: Meet SAC Takeover 2020! Artists Michael A. Butler & Dinah Maxwell Smith

How has the East End influenced your work?
It’s really hard to untangle, because I’m born and raised here. I went to school Upstate, but otherwise, I’ve lived here my whole life. I’m definitely a creature of this place, and I think it’s had a big influence on my work, like the theme of forest, but it’s hard to say how the only thing you know has influenced you. I spend a lot of time hiking out here. I love the incredible trail networks we have, especially on the South Fork. I go out with my dog a lot, and I feel like I’m in this place that’s out of time.

* * *

Esly E. Escobar putting the final touches on a new piece
Esly E. Escobar putting the final touches on a new piece, Photo: David Taylor

Esly E. Escobar works in collage, drip painting and abstract expressionism to create large-scale works that each contain a unique identity or character. His art has been featured at The Remsenburg Academy, Guild Hall, East End Arts and Westhampton Free Library, and it’s included in the Parrish Art Museum Permanent Collection.

RELATED: Meet SAC Takeover 2020! Artists Kerry Sharkey-Miller & Melinda Hackett

What are your plans or goals for your Takeover 2020! residency?
My plan is to create as much work as I can and to network as much as I can. Those are my two plans, and this is the best place to do it. I make my paintings and, of course, they get reactions from artists and regular people—either way it’s fine.

This (painting pictured above) is an abstract piece that I started creating today (Thursday, February 6), and it’s looking like a jigsaw puzzle right now. I might do a few more things to it, but I think it might be done. I’m working a lot right now with black and white. Earlier in my work, it’s very colorful. I kind of felt like I needed all of these colors to bring out my creativity, but as I’ve been getting older and more experienced at painting, I’ve been painting with black and white.

RELATED: Meet SAC Takeover 2020! Artists Isadora Capraro & Erica-Lynn Huberty

How did you select the works to display in your Takeover 2020! gallery space?
I took some time picking the pieces that I wanted to hang here. I went about picking the pieces that I like the most, because I’m coming to the Southampton Arts Center, so I have to bring my best work. That’s how I chose them.

Art by Esly E. Escobar on display at Southampton Arts Center, Photo: David Taylor
One of Esly E. Escobar’s more colorful paintings, Photo: David Taylor

How has the East End influenced your work?
I was born in Guatemala, and I came here when I was 10 years old. I graduated from Hampton Bays—I grew up here. It formed me into the creature that I am now. This is my home. When you talk about Long Island, I know it like the back of my hand, from Montauk all the way to Brooklyn, because Queens and Brooklyn are on Long Island. I’ve been very influenced, and I love this place. It gives me a certain peace that I can create.

Takeover 2020! is on view at Southampton Arts Center through April 12, with artist-led workshops each weekend. Don’t miss your chance to learn from Bentivegna, Escobar and the other artists-in-residence this spring. Visit southamptonartscenter.org for more information. 

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