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North Shore Meet an Artist: Ted Gram-Boarini

North Shore Meet an Artist: Ted Gram-Boarini

Artist Ted Gram-Boarini joined the North Shore studio in September 2013. In just over a year he has established a focused art practice, joined a rock band, and developed meaningful relationships with new friends. In addition to his involvement at The Arts of Life, Ted also participates in programming and events provided by Center for Independent Futures (CIF). Keep reading to learn more about Ted’s interests and creative ventures.

What materials do you like to work with?

Most of the time I like to use acrylic paint. I use an apron and also a glove. Those things help me not get paint on myself, because I know that it doesn’t wash off. I take preventative measures even though it may sound silly. Then again maybe not.

My process is that I use either a picture that is from a book or a magazine. In my case a picture of real life, which is a picture of me. I try to draw what I see, like a visual transfer of the image onto the board or something. Then I start to paint it. I like to use an array of brushes. Small, big, medium, whatever. I try to paint one line at a time because I don’t want to get confused, rather than painting two lines at a time. It depends on the photo and how easy or difficult it is.

Ted's art supplies

How long have you been an artist?

I’ve only started doing art since I’ve gotten here. My mom was an artist when she was in college or high school. Part of my interest in making art actually came through my mom and my music side came from my dad. Before I came here I was in my own band. We were called The Dispensers. We broke up and then I started coming here. Tuesdays I started working with Van Go Go. The rest they say is history.

What inspires you to create art?

Images of people is what inspires me. Like images that come out of books about other paintings and people. Famous people, like painters. Well, actually no. Movie stars like Austin Powers. I want to do a picture of him. I haven’t done that yet. Or like office people, people in schools. I did an album picture for the rapper Asher Roth. And my mom bought one of a woman and her black purse.

Describe the projects you are currently working on.

My mom helped me take a picture of me and my dog for a painting that I’m doing. From there my mom emailed a bunch of photos to John Sharp and he helped me pick one. Then he helped me print it out so I could start working on it. I’ve been getting Maria’s help to start painting. She taught me what she knows in terms of painting which is I think something that we’re both learning. We’re both learning from each other. Sometimes I have been known to go fast when I paint. I need to slow down and she helped me with that. She does a lot of other stuff too and I know she has kids.

Ted describing his current project (himself and his dog)

Are there other roles at the studio you fill besides being an art maker?

I work on painting and acting with Maria. I’m in drama on Fridays as well as music on Tuesday. We’ve started Van Go Go. I’m one of the singers in Van Go Go so my role is to help chose the songs that we do. And I helped write a song that we call “Danger to Society”, which basically talks about how dangerous I am driving places in my wheelchair. And I also wrote another song with Van Go Go which talks about moving out of my house. I think my role is to basically help move the band forward into having more gigs or possibly recording.

I’m also a good actor. I’ve acted with a friend of mine, Duke Doyle, who is a great actor. He does a kids show which I have supported in the past. I went to the shows to support him. He’s working out of L.A. right now. His mom, Jane Doyle, and my mom are friends. That’s sort of how we met. And he and I went to high school together.

Drama is so cool! Myself, Maria, Emily Aussem, Niki, and Danny Frownfelter are actually putting a play together. This play is kind of like a fairy tale about a brother and sister. If you were to ask anyone else like Niki or Emily what we’re doing they would say the same thing. We’ve started to act it out so it’s like an acting class. This is what we do with Maria on Fridays. This is how we use our time productively.

Ted practicing with Van Go Go

What do you enjoy doing when you're not at the studio?

When I’m not at the studio I spend my time practicing on band stuff at home, watching TV or a DVD. Before Arts of Life I was working in Wheeling selling stuff on Ebay which was boring. So my mom and I decided for me to come here. It seemed more active for me and I could be more productive than I actually felt. When I was doing computers in Wheeling and selling stuff on Ebay that was all well and good but my mom was doing all the work. That is so different than here because now I get to do more, like paint and stuff.

I used to be involved in an art thing at CIF on Mondays. I'm not anymore because of my new schedule and frankly I love coming here. Currently I’m in a dating club there that I joined. And there is a thing called Art Words where you write stories of your life, which I’m going to. Plus I go bowling with CIF. We do events like parties too. There is a party called SPARK where you meet people like single women. I’m part of that because my dad is on the Center for Independent Futures board. What’s cool about Spark is that you get to meet people at a restaurant or something like that, but in different surroundings for each event. What the event is depends on how many people are coming to the said event.

Ted's painting, "Guy with a Tie"

If you could not be an artist, what other job would you chose to do?

I think being here is a great opportunity. I figured out what I want to be is a musician, but that was way before I came here. Then I figured out what I want to be is a painter and you guys are helping oversee part of that. And being a musician is part of the cake.

If I didn’t do this, to tell you the truth, I don’t know where I would be. Frankly, I would be at home doing nothing, which is not the thing I want to do. I don’t want to be at home doing nothing, that’s why I’m here. I could be be doing something else like acting, which is something I want to do, but I realized how difficult it is for me to memorize words. It’s much easier for me to memorize music than it is for me memorize a script. That’s why I don’t do anything else but this.

What’s your favorite thing about The Arts of Life?

Meeting new people and doing new things which involve The Arts of Life. Some of the people here I already knew like Phil Gazzolo, Quinn and Elise because they came from CIF, Center for Independent Futures. All the other people are new faces. Well, not new anymore, but they were new when I first started here. I feel that the relationships with people are going quite well. I know most of the people here now because I’ve learned not to be a crabby guy anymore. I think that early on I was crabby because I didn’t actually see interest behind doing art and I was only focused on music, but not so much now.


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