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Tonito Valderrama

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Representing galleries
Main Street Petite Gallery 213 Main St. Huntington NY 11743

installation, Art, environmental, sculpture


“Study the leaf, rock and tree, there you will find some of the greatest answers to life’s mysteries.”


Art lives in the elements of all living things and is communicated through the universal language of creative expression. As an artist, my goal is to capture that creative language using those materials that speak to me naturally. One branch, one stone, or one leaf at a time helps in building the words to the story I am trying to relate. A simple understanding for the beauty of nature in its grandeur and microcosmic sense is the intrinsic message I seek.

My work speaks of the timeless marriage between man and nature that must not be forgotten. It is a meditative moment in time to reflect on the greatest masterpiece-the earth. We are all part of it, live on it and breath it, yet some still believe she is not alive or just a footing beneath us. People claim their part of her, take her at will and cover her beauty with what they think are more aesthetic and suitable structures. Warm earth, shading trees and soft grasses are covered mercilessly with cold concrete, over towering buildings and hard brick. She is suffocated by selfish endeavors and monetary minds. As an artist I feel a need to express the relationship with nature in a way that makes the viewer appreciate the already artistic textures of bark, flawless forms of stones and the smooth symmetry of the leaves. By incorporating these kinds of small natural elements, I am sharing the basic vocabulary for understanding the earth’s universal language.

When I work with the earth, I try not to dictate its form but rather collaborate with its natural flow. Whether I play off the movement of a branch or piece of bark that inspires the rest of the art or wait for a stone to find its own balance in a composition.  The materials teach me in a sense that impermanence; imperfection, irregularity, and simplicity are all aesthetic qualities that are beautiful metaphors for life. Many works wind up relating to my own life symbolically in one way or another. Simple shapes and gestures emerge many times intuitively in basic symbols that I later will find means something very strong in my Native American roots. My work with nature has also helped me to find a deeper understanding of myself as an artist and a person. A drive and motivation fills me when I touch a piece of the earth that might have been shared with a native ancestor or kindred spirit. It is as if I can speak without words, live without time and think as free as the air.

Like life, my art will age and one day fade into the sunset, but not without leaving an indelible mark and statement using the same natural universal language that has inspired me. To work with the earth’s elements as art has taught me to explore with new eyes and to know that art is within everything around us, it is the artist who must stop a moment to recognize and appreciate the true aesthetics of a subject!



“To witness the melting of the snow, the falling of the leaves, and the setting of the sun is to truly understand the beauty of life’s ephemeral qualities.”



-Tonito Valderrama



Recent Exhibits

Tonito Valderrama participated in these exhibits:

May, 2011 Frog friends. Environmental exhibit and event
The Lloyd Harbor Conservation Group
May, 2010 "The Great Nest Hunt" 2nd Annual Earth Day Celebration at Fiske Pond
The Lloyd Harbor Conservation Group
Apr, 2010 Talking With Trees
Main Street Petite Gallery /Huntington Arts Council
Sep, 2009 "Flight of the Seven Nations of Peace"
Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on C.W. Post L.I.U. campus
Mar, 2008 "Visage"
Main Street Petite Gallery
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