BLOG NO 23 / Making San Gennaro / by steve joseph

People often ask how long each of my works take to make. Walter Hahn, my high school teacher, would answer this by saying 'my whole life.' Which is true, especially when you include the thought process behind the original design.

Here is a short outline of design steps made while producing the work titled San Gennaro. (If you are interested in learning my techniques consider one of my upcoming classes here, or to see this work in person see my current solo show at the Italian American Museum, in the Little Italy neighborhood of Manhattan.)

1. (above) The initial sketch was designed for a "Photo Bomb" class I took at UrbanGlass in Brooklyn. The idea of doing a piece based on San Gennaro, was initially suggested by Dr. Joseph V. Scelsa, founder and president of the Italian American Museum. New Yorkers know “San Gennaro” as a popular feast in Little Italy, but Saint Januarius I of Benevento (the original Italian version) has a assorted and mysterious background. He is know as a martyr and saint. Legends claim that he died during the Great Persecution in 305. I don't claim to be an expert on religion but I see San Gennaro being similar to Russell Crowe in Gladiator. Januarius is currently the patron saint of Naples, Italy. The faithful gather to witness the liquefaction of a sample of his blood kept in a sealed glass ampoule. I really enjoy basing my art on historic stories, and this background was exceptionally strong, especially the liquefaction elements! I expanded the story by adding an audience of muscle men holding the glass ampoule on their heads. Below shows how the designs progressed. They were created using Photoshop and InDesign programs. 

2. The above image had a few more adjustments then was made into a silk-screen and printed on glass using enamel based inks. See this blog for details on silk-screening on glass. Additional colors were added after the original black and white image was fired onto the glass. The finished work is set into a wall hung light box with internal LED lighting. 

The Italian American Museum is right in the middle of the (crowded, sloppy, crazy) San Gennaro Feast that runs from September 15-25, 2016. Stop by if you are in the area. My show runs from now to October 10th, 2016.

The final work.