EveryDay Artist – Matthew Coglianese

A photograph can say so much about its subject, it can also say so much about the person behind the shutter. Every month, we like to feature members who are everyday artists making a living with their photography and their vision. This month, we sit down with member Matthew Coglianese of The PigShark who shows us how his love of photography and graphic design combine to make some truly remarkable and unique  art.
1. Tell us a little about yourself.
As a Chicago native growing up on Chicago’s south side, I was always inspired by the diversity and culture of the city. From an early age, I’ve always been a creator working in different mediums such as music, architectural drawing and painting. However my first real artistic love or obsession was “Computer graphic design” All elements of this medium have fascinated me, even until this day. Now with over 15 years of professional graphic design work under my belt, I am very thankful and grateful that my life has unfolded the way it has. I love my work and continuously am striving to perfect my craft.
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2. How did you get started in photography?
Very simply, in 2009 a friend showed me an “HDR” photograph instantly sucking me into the world of Digital Photography. I was amazed with how vibrant, detailed and sharp the image was and absolutely had to know how to do that. Within a week or so I bought a my first DSLR (Pentax k20d) and taught myself how to do HDR photographs by bracketing and using adobe bridge. With starting photography early in 2009, I took just over 7,000 pictures experimenting a lot with HDR in that first year, with some 5,000 of those pictures coming from a 2 week 2100 mile road-trip across Italy, Germany, and France. I now try to do at least one trip a year to photograph new material for my artwork.
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3. You do a lot of media mixes in your images – as an artist, why did this interest you?
With the foundation of computer graphic design already in place, adding my photography to my workflow only seemed logical. Bringing my own photo’s into the mix of things has allowed me to have total control over the direction and look of whatever I am working on. I have always really enjoyed creating images that look real but something is either obviously fake or is very subtle but has a huge impact on changing the images appearance. My “Escape Artist” series is probably my favorite series and I have been growing it for the past few years. It features mostly Zoo animals strategically placed in a cityscape setting sometimes very bluntly and sometimes not.  I love seeing the various looks on people’s faces when they finally see something in one of my images that they didn’t notice before.
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4. What’s your favorite image of yours and why?
I seriously have a new favorite image every other week, and this week it’s this image (see below) which is part of a new series I have recently started, I will put it on my website sometime this summer.
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5. What are the tools of your trade? (camera, lens, photo editing software etc)
I started off using Pentax, currently using a Nikon D7100 with the new Sigma art and contemporary line of lenses. (Love those lenses!) I’m hoping to upgrade to Full Frame real soon, maybe Nikon D750 or D810, I saw Pentax just announced their first Full Frame Camera which looks sweet too! This will probably be the year though that I go Full Frame.
 6. Where did your website name “The Pigshark” come from?
One of the first computer art series’ I did consisted of frankenstein’ed animals together. I put a frog’s head on a bird’s body, and I also created a flat 2d logo with a pig’s head on a shark body. It really is just a simple black and white logo but I always for some reason really liked it.  Enough to get it tattooed on me, so that’s what I’m going with. Besides with a last name of “Coglianese” I don’t expect most people to be able to pronounce that, let alone try to spell it when trying to look up my artwork online. A name like “The Pigshark” so far has done just fine with getting people’s attention and is much easier to remember.
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7. What are some of your goals with your artwork?
I want to have my artwork hanging up in a home or business in all 50 US states. I’ve got about 40 more to go to reach that goal!
8. Are you working on any interesting projects now?
I am also experimenting with turning my photography into “functional art”. I have 3 different projects in the works now and hope to have the prototypes done for this summer’s art fest season in Chicago.
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9. What is your favorite AdoramaPix product ?
Metal prints are my favorite! I used to get my artwork printed up and put in a heavy fragile bulky picture frame, like every other artist I would compete against in shows, and art fests. I made the switch to Metal Prints a little over 2 years ago and it has drastically changed not only my sales, but the way I even design my work and create my concepts because I now know how great something will look when printed on the metal, and I know which sheen of the metal to use for certain images. Aside from that it’s durable, it’s light weight, and looks phenomenal. You have to see a metal print in person to understand, a picture really does it no justice.
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Thank you Matthew. If you would like to see more of Matthew’s work, make sure to check out his website HERE for all of his latest pieces.