Artist Spotlight: Victoria V. Nunley

Each artwork by Victoria Nunley starts with a story or memory from her adolescent years growing up in a rural part of New Jersey. Sometimes the story is specifically drawn from her childhood and other times it’s a familiar feeling like having to peel off a band-aid when you have hairy arms or going to the beach and not wanting to show skin.

 Gouaches and drawings hanging in Nunley's studio.

Gouaches and drawings hanging in Nunley's studio.

Nunley’s paintings begin with a drawing of her concept which develops into a small gouache painting. While she plans 80 percent of the artwork, Nunley noted that it is hard to predict the end result of a larger painting: “When something gets scaled up so big, suddenly there’s room for even more things to happen— intensifying color, compressing or pushing space, jokes. That’s why scaling up and doing a bigger painting can be so exciting.”

V.V’s flat, cartoonish visual style speaks to her themes of the life and times of her generation. Her aesthetic pulls in the audiences; sprinkling idioms the majority of people can pick up on, which solidifies her humor in a very authentic manner. Nunley uses her experiences, both first and second hand, as anchor points for her work. She often reminisces with her best friends, who grew up with her, about their past. They find humor in times during the teenage years that seemed as if the world was falling apart. They recollect on first kisses, spreading and hearing gossip, bad advice columns in magazines, each remembering the story slightly different from each other. Nunley reflects on these moments, emphasizing that “these stories only exist through verbal retelling, and through my work”. 

In her work HOT GOSSIP, the viewer witnesses the exact moment a friend bursts into the other’s home, catching the other completely off guard and startling her. Phone in hand, blurting out the latest gossip, Nunley says the inspiration was drawn from moments of her friends rushing into her home, saying things like “Did you hear Hannah wants to fight Jen because of Tommy?!”  or, “Did you hear Dawn drove her car into someone’s house?!” Upon closer examination, the details of the poor advice magazine, hair barrettes, clothing and nail polish subconsciously inform us of the subjects age.


While at first glance the viewers may laugh at the dramatic scenes and exaggerated expressions, Nunley wants her subjects to be taken seriously. Just like real teenagers, they are completely genuine in their feelings. Rather than the viewers oversimplifying or brushing off the subject’s emotions, Nunley emphasizing that these adolescents do not have the hindsight that the viewers do.

A MFA candidate at Boston University, Nunley's desire to be an artist predates her memory. Drawing inspiration genres such as manga, anime and cartoons, she also cites the work of artists like Mark Thomas Gibson, Sanya Kantarovsky and Jane Corrigan, among other influencers. 

Join us on January 21st for a live painting by Victoria V. Nunley from 11 - 4 pm. More details available here!

Book Release: When To Jump by Mike Lewis

Coming in January 2018: When To Jump, a book that features dozens of stories from people who made a change in their lives and never looked back. Featuring the story of our gallery Director, Abigail Ogilvy Ryan! In Mike Lewis' first book, you can find inspiration in the diverse group of "jumpers" who listened to that voice in their head and stepped into a new role at work, started businesses, and made a difference in their own lives. Available to pre-order now on Amazon.

New Neighbors and Fresh Faces in SoWa

2017 has been an interesting year in the art world, from major museum controversies to recent galleries closures. Often overlooked are the new spaces opening up. Here in SoWa there are dozens of art galleries and studios brimming with art, and notable new galleries have recently moved to town:

A R E A Gallery
460C Harrison Avenue

A lively crowd at A R E A opening night, including Gallery Director, David Guerra (2nd from right), image courtesy of A R E A Gallery Facebook

What began as a photography pop-up project called Darkroom Boston, founded by David Guerra, and eventually morphed into an apartment gallery space, is now a physical gallery securely located in the C building of 460 Harrison Avenue. On December 1st, AREA occupied two existing commercial spaces at the end of the hallway, immediately bringing life to the space with his bright, backlit sign and booming energy to match. The inaguaral exhibition, C O L L A G E art sale, features 26 artists working in a wide variety of styles and media. The gallery mission is focused on promotion of the arts in Boston through interesting exhibitions and events, and they believe everyone should be a collector! Read more about the gallery by clicking here.

450 Harrison Avenue #29

Opening January 5th, 2018, KABINETT Gallery has relocated from their Shawmut Avenue location and moved into their new, two-level gallery space at 450 Harrison Avenue. Gallery owner and director, Gabe Boyers, has curated an upcoming exhibition, Killers & Thrillers, that will feature an astounding 50+ artists from 200 BC -2017. According to their wesbite, "Above all, Boyers chooses to represent work that he loves, art that moves and transforms us." An active member of the MFA Museum Council, you can catch Boyer's speaking on art collecting panels or in conversation about his passion for mid-19th through early 20th century works. Read more about the gallery by clicking here, and don't miss the opening reception on January 5th! Also check out their very cool promotional video:

Beacon Gallery
534B Harrison Avenue

Image courtesy of @beacongallery Instagram

Officially opened on November 2nd of this year, their first exhibition, First Look, features six contemporary artists working in a variety of styles and media. Described by The Boston Sun as "a warm little oasis filled with art," the gallery activates a space that was previously a garden level office. Run by a powerhouse team that includes owner Christine O'Donnell, marketing director Rachel Lagault, and finance and admin coordinator Jennifer Condensa-Garcia, they offer a fresh perspective to the Boston art scene. You can look forward to their upcoming show opening January 5th, Lives in Limbo: Refugees at the Gates of Europe, which will two-fold feature topical artwork and fundraise on behalf of refugees (100% of profits!). Click for more details about Beacon Gallery.

The biggest takeaway: having a physical space is still important. People still want to see and experience art in person, this creates that important dialogue between the patron and the work. SoWa has become the destination for contemporary art in Boston, stop by any day of the week (well, aside from Mondays!) and you can see dozens of exhibitions and hundreds of artists all within a few blocks. 

Artist Spotlight: Tony "Pronzy" Perez

Tony Perez’s artwork incorporates imagery, poetry and sound, meant to overwhelm and enthrall the viewer’s senses. Perez was born in Boston, MA and spent many of his formative years in Brockton, MA. The oldest of 14, Perez draws from his life experiences growing up as Afro-Latino. 


While receiving his BFA in Illustration at the Massachusetts College of Art & Design, Tony felt restricted within the confines of traditional mediums. Focusing on his artist statement as a way to push the boundaries of agency, his ideas soon formed into contextual poems. Perez then began collaborating with his brother to create soundscapes to further influence the viewer's experience.

Starting each work with a poem that captivates the human experience, Perez matches the essence of the poem with that of a person in his life. By creating the poem first, he is focusing on substance of the story rather than the physical outcome. Perez makes it known, “I am really process oriented so I live a very, ‘process before aesthetic’ lifestyle.” For Perez, it feels more authentic that way.

After completing the poem, Perez writes an abstract composition for what eventually becomes the soundscape, which he and his brother fine tune throughout the artistic process. He then begins creating the imagery for the portrait. First, Perez creates mass values by using graphite powder and sponge brushes on paper. He then brings out highlights and darken shadows using electric erasers and ebony pencils. The final outcome of his drawings remains true to his model, he places heavy emphasis on capturing their energy.

 Tony "Pronzy" Perez, "Rebecca," 32 x 23.5 in. Graphite on paper

Tony "Pronzy" Perez, "Rebecca," 32 x 23.5 in. Graphite on paper

His artwork seeks to offer opportunities for the viewers to explore and converse on the complex relationships between the African, Indigenous, and European diasporas. Placing the viewer in an immersive artistic experience, Perez strives to create an environment that starts conversation about complexities within issues. His work acts as a catalyst for discussions around police brutality, rape culture, racism both internal and institutional, the importance of present parenthood and various forms of systemic oppression.

The people in Perez’s life play a major role in his motivations, influence, and his ability to work as an artist. Some of his favorite artistic inspirations come more in the form of movements rather than specific people, for this reason Hip-hop, Jazz, and Blues are key informers to his work. When asked to pick his top five individual artists to credit with inspiration, he cites Kanye West for vision innovation and craft, Kendrick Lamar for lyrical potency, Stephen Hamilton for cultural and social reflection, his brother Joshua Jackson (AKA Leo the Kind) for his collaborative nature and willingness for self-exploration and improvement, the fifth place he keeps reserved for future inspiration.

Tony Perez’s artwork, Rasheed, will be on view during The Salon Show through January 28, 2018.