Editor's note: KSL.com does a weekly feature on artists in the community. If you have a painter, sculptor, musician or creative genius in mind, feel free to email your submission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a contact email for the artist, if available.
SALT LAKE CITY — Vinny DiGirolamo is an artist accustomed to reaching new heights. As a Navy pilot, he soared in fighter planes, and now, he's a rising star in the art world with his satirical comic strip "Tromp" and his polychromatic superhero art.
DiGirolamo said he's inspired by life and a variety of aspects of the human experience. A self-entitled "artistic engineer," his creativity and artistic legacy inspire him to write, draw, paint and invent ideas and creations he hopes will be of worth to others.
DiGirolamo, a resident of Utah since 2009, is a self-taught artist who inherited his artistic talent from his grandparents and parents. His early work was influenced by the late pioneer in fantasy art, Frank Frazetta, who dramatically infused realism with imagination in his graphic and fine art.
DiGirolamo said he only painted six works of art in his first 60 years, but he then made the conscious decision to push the envelope in developing his artistic abilities. Two years and over 80 paintings later, not including the TROMP comic strip, he's currently taking illustration classes at the Art Haus in Sugar House and has plans to assist Draw, Inc. in Salt Lake City to raise funds for disadvantaged and homeless children in Utah.
No stranger to controversy, DiGirolamo, born and reared in Long Island, New York, once illustrated the political decision in 1976 that made the Air Force and other military academies co-ed. Now he is once again expressing his opinion through political satire, as evidenced by the "TROMP" comics he and lifelong friend Tony Stanish create. The catalyst for the TROMP comic strip was after an incident he had at an anti-administration art exhibit he was invited to participate in; one that he said didn’t want to represent both political sides. He felt that limiting his freedom of expression also limited free speech, and felt compelled to do something, so TROMP was born.
The caricature TROMP is an African bull elephant with wavy strawberry blond hair and bushy eyebrows. Intended to be educational depictions, the satire-laced strips are also comical interpretations of the current political climate. DiGirolamo believes TROMP may be the only and longest running comic strip during this presidency "that supports the sensible side" of the Trump Administration. The strip resonates with people on "both sides of the aisle" by having fun with the president's sometimes bombastic behavior; climbing the Empire State Building, singing karaoke or simply stating the obvious.
Before DiGirolamo starts illustrating TROMP, he and Stanish discuss the message, determine the dialogue, select characters, visualize the president's gestures and select a setting. If it’s a judicial issue, the background may be the Supreme Court building; if congressional, the U.S. Capitol. Some panels are location specific, and there’s always the White House and Air Force One.
Once those decisions are made, DiGirolamo does a pencil sketch and scans it into the computer. He then adds multiple layers in Photoshop and colors the main character and other images. Occasionally, he digitally draws the strip on his Wacom Cintiq and goes from there. He said a four-panel comic strip that used to take eight hours to complete can now be done in four with new technology.
He works in acrylics, oils, pencil and digital art and likes to paint "large." He has had work displayed at the Urban Arts Gallery in Salt Lake City in three shows. DiGirolamo also participated in this year’s Urban Arts Infinite Possibilities Fall Festival and several other art fundraising activities where he's done live painting demonstrations. His artistic vision also includes superhero genre paintings and a religious piece of Christ visiting a man in prison which he intends to submit to a Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-day Saints art competition.
DiGirolamo can be contacted or followed at:
- Email: Vinny.DiGirolamo@CITC2.com
- Website: www.stantz.news
- Instagram: @stantznews and @Renaissance_Man_Art
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpAGnfLzcOdTLcN3EICFDTA
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StantzNews-447622778955049/
Pam McMurtry is an artist, designer, teacher and writer with a BFA in visual art. Her "A Harvest and Halloween Handbook" is on Amazon.com and B&N.com. Visit her website at: www.mcreativem.com. She is married and a parent of seven.