Bobbi Mastrangelo’s Artist Statement

Bobbi Mastrangelo’s Artist Statement

Bobbi Mastrangelo’s vest incorporates the hexigonal pattern of the Bell System Manhole Cover.

For almost four decades, my art has been focused on the theme of manhole covers, water covers, grates and drains, earning the label: “Grate Works of Art.”

Years ago, I was an Elementary School Teacher who appreciated classical art and that of the impressionists like Monet and Renoir. Later, when I was a “Stay-at-Home-Mom,” I took college art classes. Art History Classes introduced me to Pop Art which venerated common objects. When it came to producing my own art, I experimented in every style and media. Dan Welden, my printmaking professor, suggested that I adopt a single theme or style to have an artful identity.

Lawrence Alloway, my Art History Professor, who wrote the book on American Pop Art, glanced at my portfolio and said: “You have a penchant for circles.” Soon afterwards I discovered several pages of manhole cover photos lauded for their design elements. “Eureka!” I had always been interested in traffic safety and litter-free streets. Manhole Covers were circular and seemed like a perfect theme.

My work has been executed in trompe l’oeil sculpture relief and prints on deeply embossed hand made papers. Each piece reminds the viewer to take a moment on his or her next walk to notice the beauty in overlooked details, like the humble sewer covers passing under their feet.
Being a “Manhole Artist” has been a “Grate Adventure.” Not only do I get to play with mud, sand and cement, but I have an amazing time recreating urban streetscapes.

The truth is, I have never been bored with manhole covers. I have met outstanding people in the Public Works Arena and I am featured on the Russian Website, “Sewers of the World Unite.” I have come to really appreciate all of our precious resources that are “Under Cover.” My special concern is for water protection and conservation.

The art has won awards, garnered international attention, appeared in media articles, been highlighted on related websites and has been featured in television interviews, including WUCF-TV Artisode #108.

To learn more about the art and its creation, please visit my website:
www.bobbimastrangelo.com.