Philip Notaro '20 | Senior Capstone Exhibition

Philip Nataro '20 is a featured artist in the 2020 Senior Capstone Exhibition, a virtual gallery showing that represents the culmination of four years of undergraduate work that ends in a yearlong art project created by each member of the senior class.

"Complex Simplicity"

The underlying themes surrounding the works are utility, versatility, and durability. This stems from a desire to perpetuate my love for the outdoors along with my desire to be well prepared and situated for thriving in the wilderness. I explore these themes through the lenses of education, Do-It-Yourself (DIY) and craftsmanship. The skills I learned from my time spent in the outdoors through my involvement with institutions such as Scouts BSA and extensions of this such as my time working at Camp Hi-Sierra, have inspired my work.

gallery iconPhilip Notaro '20view gallery

My passion for the outdoors and desire to share it with others inspired the creation of the knot boards display piece. Knowledge and skill with knots are one of the more valuable skills to have in the outdoors due to their wide range of applications. This series shows the construction of knots I feel are most valuable in an outdoor setting. It also can act as an aid in learning to tie the knots. The knot boards are intended to act as a supplemental aid for the process of instructing others in learning how to correctly tie the ten core knots included in the series.

The Scout motto “Be Prepared” has always resonated strongly with me.  A knife is an essential outdoor tool. I find enjoyment and satisfaction in the design, construction and process of knife forging. It is gratifying to take a hunk of metal and make it into a knife that will last. Several of my knives were made with paracord handles. The inclusion of this material gives the knife a more multipurpose nature: The cord is removable if the paracord is required elsewhere, while still keeping the knife useable.

Blacksmithing has been a significant component of my life as an art student at Pacific. When I arrived on campus, blacksmithing was not an accessible art form, due to the lack of facilities and equipment. As part of a class assignment, I co-authored a grant proposal which led to the purchase of a forge and other necessary tools and supplies and to the creation of a functional blacksmithing space on campus. The blacksmithing art pieces created for my senior portfolio lean heavily on the DIY style of art, as they are necessary tools or other additions to the forge program. In keeping with the DIY style, salvaged materials were used in the making of select pieces in the collection.

"In all of my works I strive to maintain a craftsmanship balance between aesthetic and function."
—Philip Notaro '20

In all of my works I strive to maintain a craftsmanship balance between aesthetic and function. Due to the craftsmanship style and mindset, many pieces have imperfections as evidence of the handmade process. In pieces where function is strongly favoured, the works tend to show more evidence of the process with minimal refinements or additions for aesthetic purpose. This manifests most strongly in my early knives and forge tools.

Overall, my artwork embodies my own experiences and passions. They mirror my growth as an individual and as an artist during my time at Pacific University. The main three themes of my senior portfolio utility, versatility, and durability line up well with my passion for the outdoors, teaching others and self-sustainability via DIY or craftsmanship. The influence of these themes has culminated into the artworks you see here today.

—Artist Statement, Philip Notaro '20