John A Savoia
Interview by L. Valena
First, please describe what you responded to.
I responded to two snifters of unknown liquid. Which were very floral and pungent, and I thought they were cleaning supplies of some sort.
What was your initial reaction?
The smell brought me to a bathroom that was very gross that had been cleaned up. Something bad had happened in that bathroom, and someone had tried to mask it, clean it, and this was the end result.
How did you translate those feelings into an image?
I was thinking about a bathroom that was clean, but had bad energy. I realized that it was not about the specific textures or signifiers of a bathroom, but it was kind of this vibe of a bathroom- a gross, 7-11 public bathroom that gives you an icky feeling. In the end I chose a public bathroom which looked clean but is usually pretty nasty.
When you look at this work now, what does it say to you?
If I were to look at it outside of my experience, I think I would see it as a crime scene, almost. Red is a violent color- the color of blood, the color of danger. It also reminds me of safe light, like in a dark room. This nebulous, unknown, not clearly seen world. And part of that was deliberate. Red is the color of crime shows, when they’re using those UV lights to see blood, semen and splattered chemicals. Usually I think those are purple, but red just felt more intense, like a horror film.
And how does this work relate to the rest of your work (if at all)?
All my work relates to the rest of my work, because its all made by me. This fits within a larger, I wouldn’t say body of work, but overarching theme to a few bodies of work, where I’ve been working with colored lighting, specifically red and magenta, are the two colors that I use most often. This image was done using a red gelled flash, which is how I achieved the colors in this. And so it visually fits in with some of the other work I’ve been doing, but I consider it to be a stand-alone piece.
Call Number: M1FD | M2VA.saUnti
John Savoia (b. 1986 in Boston, MA) is a fine arts photographer based in Boston. His work explores the idea that everything we create is a form of self portraiture, with a direct focus on personal connections to the body that break down cultural and societal norms of beauty, privilege, and power. He lives with his inspirational wife, and their large cat Tiny Henry in the scenic getaway of Jamaica Plain.