November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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STEPHEN VERONA / Photography

Surprised in a Paris Gallery ELF© 2000 Stephen Verona

Surprised in a Paris Galley | Paris, France  | 2000

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Life’s Work Not Over Yet

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A quick look at Stephen Verona’s website and you soon find out you’re standing on the front porch of an archival history of 20th Century art, film, video, advertising, and more. From his groundbreaking film “Lords of Flatbush”, which propelled Verona to heights seen by few filmmakers, to his tenure as one of Madison Avenue’s advertising “Mad Men,” to an invitation to the Vatican in 2009 for Pope Benedict’s Address to Artists held in the Sistine Chapel, Verona not only made his mark, but has lived to see it recognized and appreciated. Verona’s creative drive remains  alive and well even today, as he works to find funding for a documentary film that contrasts the poor, agrarian China he visited and photographed in 1980 with the thriving world class industrial and commercial setting of 2014.

We trust you’ll find his work here and on other websites to be worth investigating, and representative of the effort and attention to the human condition you can expect to see when MAO to NOW finally comes to a theater near you.

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All images copyright Stephen Verona. Used with permission.

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A brief exchange with Stephen Verona

with Mike Foldes

Q) Who would you like to have worked with in film or on stage, but never had the chance to do so?

A) Then Marlon Brando, now Meryl Streep.

Q) What painter’s work do you like most, or an artist/teacher has influenced your art the most?

A)  Picasso, Warhol, Rembrandt – How’s that for eclectic.

Q) Which of the arts do you think can best address politics?

A) Can? I think film has the potential, but hasn’t made a major statement because the Studios are still part of the giant complex that frowns on individual voices. That would leave posters as they seem to always creep into our lives and I believe shed some influence on our thinking. I don’t think of painting when I think of political statements. Although Picasso’s “Guernica” was a monumental exception. Even if that was more War than Politics.

Q) What is the next major project for Stephen Verona?

A) In 1980 I was in China to prepare for a movie that sadly never happened. I wish to return to photograph and video the changes for a traveling exhibit I now title: “MAO to NOW.” I wish to produce a coffee table picture book as well as a photo exhibit and video. 

Q) What’s your favorite restaurant in LA?

A) As a foodie, that’s more difficult. We love Chinois on Main, but Mr. Chows in Beverly Hills is probably our favorite. We eat there regularly and I have since they opened in London and then New York and Beverly Hills. It’s hard to find a place in three cities that you know will always satisfy your taste buds. I used to have my table at the old Ma Maison where Wolfgang Puck started before Spago. I even painted the image for their menu as did David Hockney and Francois Gilot (Picasso’s Mistress). Good company. 

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 Gossip at the Beauty Shop

GOSSIP AT THE BEAUTY SHOP | 40” X 40” | 1980

Up Next: “MAO to NOW”

“In 1980 I went to China to work on what was to be the first American/Chinese Co-Production of a motion picture since WWII. Sadly the film was never made. The good news was that I was able take lots of photos. When I returned home I spent the next year painting, drawing and printing the photos. What I wish to do now is to return and capture those extraordinary changes. Then to produce a traveling exhibit as well as a Video and coffee table photographic book.”   

— Stephen Verona

Find out more about Verona’s project: http://youtu.be/KMizZLblNYw 

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About the interviewer:

Michael Foldes is founder and managing editor of Ragazine.CC. You can read more about him in About Us.

The preceding miniview was conducted via email in July 2014.