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The Sketchbooks of Alfonso Iannelli
Alfonso Iannelli's private sketches of his everyday life encounters. The pencil of the famed sculptor/illustrator/decorator and product designer was forever restless.
Alfonso Iannelli not only sculpted for Frank Lloyd Wright and other Prairie architects, painted illustrations for Vaudeville acts, designed appliances and World's Fair pavilions,... he doodled.
Like most creative people, Alfonso Iannelli's pencil was forever restless. Capturing a compelling portrait of a pretty girl; remembering a scene of two lovers embracing before a night's sleep wiped it clean from memory or just meandering on paper while talking over the phone, he drew constantly.
And also like those creative souls, he kept his sketches hidden from view. They were not for others to see. They were his secrets.
Iannelli sketched huge factories and grain silos just because he found them beautiful. He jotted down new graphic ideas after being guided through the Bauhaus. His sketchbooks acted as the "first draft" of his creative process.
ArchiTech Gallery owns the bulk of his office files from his frenzied early years in Chicago through to the end of his long, long career. Within those files were countless scraps of paper from tablets, diaries, ledgers and envelopes that held, in graphic form, his memories.
In what's certain to be a unique exhibition and sale, ArchiTech has assembled those random scribbles for a show of those memories that few people have ever seen.
Opening Friday, January 7th and running through Saturday, April 30th, 2011, "The Sketchbooks of Alfonso Iannelli" will display a creative mind for all to see.
The Sketchbooks of Alfonso Iannelli
For those of you who have noticed, ArchiTech doesn't show just the "pretty" works, leaving the working drawings in the drawers. This gallery is mainly about exhibiting and selling the graphic record of creativity. I've always had a "thing" for drawings. And since most architectural art is drawing, I've certainly been in my element.
Alfonso Iannelli is known by Chicagoans who've paid attention to the city's design history but few outside of here have heard of him. ArchiTech is probably better known to a national (and even international) audience than it is here, it seems. So showcasing his drawings in a dedicated show might help to level the playing field.
Iannelli drew constantly. As some of his scribbles share paper with a distinctive brown ring, he obviously drew while sipping coffee. He drew a gesticulating conductor while listening to music. Even when he was in a courtroom being sued, he sketched the jury.
Some of those sketches became refined enough to lead to an actual design. Others were forgotten. But they were all saved in his files.
For the last few years, I've been writing Iannelli's biography. While reading the bulk of his job files, there would often appear a scrap of notepaper within that particular folder that may have been the first draft of his thought. Drawings, unlike paintings, cannot lie. As well, the quick figurative sketch, like any conceptual sketch by an architect, is the artist's first, unfiltered truth of his encounter.
He seems to have loved the jagged shapes of loading cranes and factories and grain silos. And he probably never saw a pretty girl that didn't deserve a quick sketch or two. No man noticed a windswept hairstyle or a redhead's coloring more than Iannelli. The observer of these drawings will, long after the fact, be a secret witness to a special man's memories.
Colorful shapes, walking crowds, ziggurat skyscrapers--they're all part of his visual filmstrip and it's these simple doodles that just might be the best record of the creative mind.
This show will only scratch the surface of his inventive brain but you've got to start somewhere.
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