Artist Profile: Bill Di Grazia

Photographer Bill Di Grazia preserves Chico landmarks in a peculiar light.

 Bill Di Grazia

Bill Di Grazia

He photographs iconic Chico buildings, then manipulates and tweaks the images using his computer, which stretches the viewer's imagination. He alters the buildings, foreground, and sky. He even adds an animal or two to his creation and then prints the photos on canvas. The images become something instantly recognizable yet distinct and very unique.

The artist’s keen sense of humor is also apparent in his work, and his photos are sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face.

We had the opportunity to ask Bill a few questions recently. 

What was the first picture you ever took?

I am not sure of the exact first picture. I snapped a few with my mom’s camera. My first camera was a Brownie circa 1954. Some of the initial shots from that camera were from Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and Disneyland.

How was the idea for your Chico photos on canvas conceived?

The original shot that started the series was of Northern Star Mills. It reminded me of the Lincoln Memorial. To give it the feeling of an important monument, I separated it out and added a dramatic sky. Jake the mascot was in front that evening so each one of the series got its own animal.

What kind of things do you leave out or not include in your photos?

I might include anything! I will have to wait and see what I missed when I take my last photograph.

How do you know when a photo is complete?

That is a good question. Some photographs are completed with the push of the shutter. Some require a light touch. Still others need a complete makeover. With the advent of Photoshop, the photographer has far more control than ever before. I believe my visual sense and art background helps settle on a final image.

Do you have any pre-shoot rituals?

Nowadays, I make sure I do not have film in my camera.

A New Frame of Mind

Had your art framed more than 20 years ago? Chances are it’s time for an upgrade.

Throughout the years your beloved pieces will be exposed to harmful environmental elements like UV light, acidic materials, dust, heat, humidity, moisture ... and the list can go on but we’re here to help you!

That lovely framed watercolor painting from 1974 could be held hostage in a harmful bed of toxins.

There are a few telling signs your art may be headed down a path of no return.

Is there hope? Of course there is!

Though the damage may not be reversed, we can certainly take the proper steps to prevent any more wear-and-tear.

Other than creating a beautiful project, we want to preserve the state the art is in. By doing this, a few things need to be considered.

 

Glass: A glazing that filters out harmful UV rays is necessary for conservation framing. Regular glass blocks about 30 percent of UV light allowing the art to fade over time.  

We offer a variety of UV protected glass options that shield 99 percent of damaging rays.

When framing a project it’s important to consider the artwork’s longevity, not just where it will hang once you take it home.

 

Matting: 100% acid free cotton rag mat board with no artificial pigment is the traditional and best choice for conservation matting.

Wood pulp mats or paper mats consisting of lignin, a complex polymer commonly derived from wood, were once popular materials used in framing. These acidic materials can cause severe, permanent burn marks.
Glance at your framed artwork. If you see a yellow tint on the ridge of the mat, then it is time to change it out.

 The most telling sign your mats are acidic is apparent by the discoloration on the bevel (the small 45 degree angle the mat is cut at). Over time, with acid-free mats this bevel will remain white.

The most telling sign your mats are acidic is apparent by the discoloration on the bevel (the small 45 degree angle the mat is cut at). Over time, with acid-free mats this bevel will remain white.

See the difference? On the left side are acid-free mat boards and on the right are old, dingy, acidic mat board. Gross. 

Backing: Any backing boards used to support your artwork should be stable as well as archival and acid free.

Most backing used 20 years ago consisted of cardboard, particleboard or wood — all organic materials but extremely harmful to artwork.

Think of it as a tree in the forrest. Nature is amazing at recycling itself and over time when a tree falls it will decompose and emit gases. It is the same with your framed art.

Wood fibers in matting or backing eventually do the same and trap your art inside that little air pocket in between the glass and the backing causing irreversible damage.

That, coupled with acidic paper mats could be holding your art hostage in a crazy haze causing damage it can never recover from.