TJ Volonis received a BA in Japanese Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1999. After graduating, he moved to Brooklyn and has been a resident of the borough for the last 13 years. A self-taught artist, TJ entered one of his earliest pieces (Chair, #2) in the 2005 GLAAD OUTAuction where he won the award for Best Emerging Artist – Mixed Media. That same chair also appeared in the May 2012 edition of Elle Décor Magazine. He continued his work with copper by making tables, chairs, and other functional works of art. In 2008 his work expanded into a series of wall-mounted sculptures. TJ’s creative work incorporates a wide variety of themes including: human biological processes, the natural world and man’s relationship to it, hidden systems, technology and contemporary culture, the implicit balance between order and chaos, among others. He views his work as a collaboration between the material with its limitations and his own intentions and designs. His work has appeared in: Elle Décor, Lonny Magazine, Freshome, Design Milk, Artsicle, Gotham Gazette, Examiner.com, and the Brooklyn Paper. He was also selected as one of NYC’s top emerging artists in December of 2011 and was the 2005 Best Emerging Artist in Mixed Media at the GLAAD OUTAuction. Please visit his website at: .
My work is an exploration of the beauty that is found all around us but is largely unseen in the walls, under the floorboards, and above our heads in the ceiling. I like to bring that all forward, expose it, and elevate it. Copper itself is such a wonderful and beautiful material and its interesting to me that its all hidden away. Its properties are very unusal - its an excellent conductor of energy (heat and electricity), its manufactured to be a conduit of water and other things, the verdegris is a layer of rust that actually seals away and protects the inner copper from further rusting so doesnt rust through like most other metals, and has a wonderful elementality to it - it is metal but represents earth, air, and water as well. As a symbol of civilization and contemporary culture I enjoy playing with the idea that it is a natural material that has been greatly transformed via human processes into something unnatural to serve our purposes. The right angles of the tubing and fittings becomes representations of human settlement in the form of road grids, creates a pixelated appearance and symbolizes our digitalized present, can be built into cage-like structures, creates interconnected systems of communication, its viscera, and is infinite depending on how its constructed. Im using it in a series now to explore environmental destruction at the hands of humans.
Lives and works in Brooklyn, NY