Wes Davis

Vittu Saatana: Jose Di Gregorio and Kerry Cottle

Vittu Saatana opens at Beatnik Studio on First Friday, August 5. This is a two person art show featuring new work by local artists, Jose Di Gregorio and Kerry Cottle. A few months ago, Di Gregorio was working on a project in Helsinki, Finland, when he bumped into, Cottle, a fellow Sacramento artist. Their chance encounter sparked the central theme for their show and added some extra flare to the fire. Finnish culture has deep roots in mythology and the supernatural. The work of Di Gregorio and Cottle feels much like a window into another dimension where magic is real, and heavy metal makes the world go ‘round.  

Di Gregorio shared some insight into the title of the show: ”’Vittu Saatana’ is a totally removed phrase in every language in the world, except in Finland. Only in our curiosity as viewers do we take a minute to research its true meaning. When we do find out, there develops the collective ‘gasp’, and concern, and anxiety, and even strong visceral reactions. Suddenly that word is charged. It means “fucking satan.” Akin to ‘fucking shit,’ a universal language to anger and contempt. Fucking Satan means nothing to us, until it does.IMG_8290 Portrait of Life Floating to Wind-8140I took some time to visit the two artists in their studios, and see what they had up their sleeves in preparation for their upcoming show. Di Gregorio told me that they had an exciting idea for the portraits, and I couldn’t wait to see what he and Cottle were up to.

When I arrived at Di Gregorio home/studio in Sacramento’s Warehouse Artist Lofts, I was greeted by a trio of wild, painted faces: Di Gregorio and his two daughters. The atmosphere was a frenzied, creative competition of who could create the most badass look. Their faces and outfits were dark, but the energy in the family’s home was extra bright.  

I went about photographing some of Di Gregorio’s finished work while the girls worked on their screams and tribal dances. I had the full clan jump in front of the camera for a few quick photos before Jose sent them back to the living room to work on their capoeira moves. I kept laughing to myself at the absurdity of the situation, and how it’s probably just another day for this rad little family.IMG_8159 IMG_8203 Cottle met me at the back door of the Verge Center for the Arts.  She led me upstairs and down a long hallway to her small, unassuming studio. Kerry typically works with very large canvases; most of the paintings for Vittu Saatana are 6-foot squares. The work, which stands almost as tall and wide as the walls of the studio, have a commanding and hypnotic presence in the room. There is very little clutter, simply her paints and palate, along with a half dozen empty sparkling water bottles. Each and every one of Cottle’s compositions are comprised of many layers of ideas, intricately laced on top of each other to create a fascinating world of colorful movements and beautifully imperfect uniformity.

Kerry quietly slipped out of the room while I was shooting, and shortly returned with a face full of paint, perfectly in character. Her dark mask juxtaposed her ethereal paintings ceremoniously. The photos were amazing, and I truly can’t wait to see the complete show come together at Beatnik. IMG_8413IMG_8474IMG_8415 IMG_8517


Kerry Cottle & Jose Di Gregorio

Where: Beatnik Studio
Exhibition dates: Aug. 2 – Sept. 22, 2016
Opening reception: Friday, Aug. 5, 2016 from 6-9 pm
Closing reception: Friday, September 2, 2016 from 6-9 pm

Photos | Wes Davis