“Art is about changing what we see in our everyday lives and representing it in such a way that it gives us hope.”
Things I am proud of:
- Animal Butt Magnets
- Forever Pizza
- Designing the exhibit for the World’s Largest Collection of Pizza Boxes
- My emerging body of microscopic photography and video work
- Earning a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
- Marrying my friends, i.e. being a wedding officiant (let’s talk about love, y’all!)
Lately I’ve been working on a few *spaces* and a business:
1) My family’s pizzeria Pizza By Alex in Biddeford, Maine-- my hometown
2) Two small neighboring homes intended for rentals and artist residencies in upstate New York.
Basically, I’m a human being, making, thinking, reframing, sharing, and loving with high hopes of inspiring the same in others. I believe we can acheive this through objects, spaces, and relationships.
(and here’s the long narrative version, should you be into that)
Born and raised in Maine, I started my education at Pratt Institute in NYC as a graphic designer, but graduated as an industrial designer. I’ve primarily worked for myself, and have designed about a dozen products currently out in the world, most notably “animal butt magnets” which are licensed to Kikkerland Design. I’ve also worked on exhibitions, retail displays, and wearable tech. From 2015-2018, I taught product design and entrepreneurship courses at The New School, and I guest crit various studio classes occasionally.
I’m interested in making art of the things we overlook: the leftovers, the ubiquitous, the things we throw away that are proof of our existence. I think there is a particular energy and honesty to those entities, as they are typically natural, uncontrived gestures of everyday life. I try not to change the subject or distort its properties; rather, I find new ways to represent (or re-present) its own inherent beauty.
I’m best known for a piece called “Forever Pizza.” It’s a slice of pizza encased in a block of resin, (forever.) Growing up in a pizzeria in Maine informed my love for the food, and the work is an exploration of nostalgia and an experiment in memory. If leftovers are the conceptual through line of my work, pizza is my personal iteration: the leftover of my childhood.
Suspending something in resin tells people it’s worth saving, worth looking at, remembering; honoring. Encasing creates permanence and resonance, and is a practice and phenomenon humans have explored for millennia. If life is a choose your own adventure, create your own artifact.
Microscopes are magic. Seriously though, they’re literally instruments of light and have become the ultimate embodiment of meditation for me. In order to fully “see” my subject, I have to focus and let go over and over again. Some scientists think this process puts the participant into a flow state. My goal is to consolidate that experience; to make art that elicits that same feeling, but without the technical distractions. Beauty is a feeling, not a standard.
— Steph Mantis
YOU & ME; US
There is no difference in the middle.