In artist Gioia Fonda’s neighborhood mounds of dated fitness equipment, three-legged plastic chairs, children’s bikes are caked with rust and other household amenities line the sidewalks.
These piles are a constant reminder of the housing foreclosure crisis. Unable to ignore the trash, Fonda decided to bring a pile to the California State Fair for all to see. Luckily for the jurors of the Fine Art Exhibit, Gioia Fonda’s pile was drawn on a 6-by-8 foot sheet of canvas.
California Fine Art, the juried art show of the California State Fair announced June 22 that this year’s Juror’s Award and Best of Show award was given to City College art professor Gioia Fonda, 37, for her charcoal drawing “Pile, With Soccer Ball,” a two-dimensional representation of the heaps of trash she saw left behind from by recently departed families.
“I think it is making a comment on the housing crisis. There is also a comment on consumerism and waste,” Fonda explained. “There is, of course, a personal tragedy with each of those piles, but also scientifically you can look at it as an indicator of other things going on.”
Approximately 1,474 artists from California submitted pieces that included 2D artwork, photography, painting, sculpting and fine Craft to be for consideration by a panel of four jurors. Of that 1474 only 185 made it to the California State Fair Fine Art exhibit that ran the duration of the fair
July 14 to 31.
“Our jurors are chosen because they are experts in their field of art. We chose from museum curators/directors, gallery owners/directors, well known artist and university and college professors,” Carol Buchanan, Programs Deputy Manager said.
While Fonda has entered State Fair shows numerous times and has had previous work displayed in the exhibit this is the first time she has taken top honors as the recipient of the Juror Award and Best of Show. According to Buchanan the combined awards grant the winner $700, a State Fair Rosette
and a Golden Bear Statue.
“It was a good prize; it was enough for me to buy a much-needed appliance,” Fonda said withholding how much she received. “I got a big bear trophy, which is exciting.”
“Pile, With Soccer Ball” took about a month to finish and is unlike many of Fonda’s previous pieces because of the lack of color. Fonda said she could say she always used color except for the last couple years.
“Gioia does a wide variety of work, so what she does is sometimes surprising,” said Art Instructional Assistant Jennifer Griffin, “I’ve seen her other work its more like airbrush its colorful and precise. This is something different, I like it.”
Gioia Fonda accredits much of her success as an artist to teaching at City College; she can be found on campus teaching students the fundamentals of everything 2D, which includes painting, drawing, color theory and design.
“I just teach and try to help people acquire a skill and inspire them, challenge them,” Fonda said
“I kind of have to walk my talk, and I feel like it keeps me honest… I better not give that advice unless I believe it.”