Michael Conti is a photographer, printmaker and video artist based in Anchorage, Alaska. He was born in San Francisco, raised in Pennsylvania and came to Alaska at age 23 in search of adventure. He earned a BFA from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and an MFA from the Art Institute of Boston. He mounted a solo exhibition at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art at Rasmuson center in 2016 entitled “Stick and Puck.” He has received numerous awards for his photography and video including Best of Show in both No Big Heads 2011 and Rarified Light 2006. His video work has been shown at the Nam June Paik Art Center in Seoul, South Korea, ContainR at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, won awards at the Anchorage International Film Festival and was recently shown in Tromso, Norway in an exhibition entitled “View From Up Here”. In 2012, he mounted solo shows at both the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut and at the Student Union Gallery at UAA. He was mentioned in a review in ARTnews Sept 2012 of the Anchorage Museum exhibition “True North, Contemporary Art of the Circumpolar North.” He received a project award from the Rasmuson Foundation in 2006 and in 2015 and is a Connie Boocheever Fellow from the Alaska State Council on the Arts in 2011. He has been an artist in residence at the Santa Fe Art Institute, NM and Zygote Press in Cleveland OH. He presently teaches photography, printmaking and video art at the University of Alaska Anchorage.
El Camino Real “The Royal Road” I’ve been photographing New Mexico since my parents moved there in 1999. Many of these images were made in the summer of 2016 during a residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute. El Camino Real was the road from Mexico City to Santa Fe during the Spanish Conquest. The trails existed for thousands of years before Columbus made landfall as indigenous peoples traveled along the waterway now known as as the Rio Grande. Migration is a way of life integral to the human experience since hunter-gatherers first left Africa 100,000 years ago. Immigration is one of the pressing issues of our time. Traveling through the desert, I met people and photographed landscapes. I made rubbings of monuments and memorials, which later became monoprints. It is significant to look at what people choose to remember, inscriptions in stone and bronze, on the land. I was forced to confront my own role in this class structure made up of land claims, water rights, borders both real and imaginary, migration, war, race, wealth and privilege. This ongoing project seeks to understand the social and cultural dynamics of a complex region. -Michael Conti Anchorage, Alaska April 28, 2017
My two months at SFAI flew past. I was able to work with other artists, meet New Mexicans and really experience the state in a way i never had before. The trip I took to Juarez with my colleagues was eye opening and transformed my thinking on US Mexico border issues. I felt grateful to expose my two young daughters to the many great people that work and live at SFAI and provide them the opportunity to make art along side us all. It was an intense two months where i was able to research, photograph and make monument rubbings for a body of work that i have shown in Anchorage as “El Camino Real” and hope to show in New Mexico. I developed a process for working that i continue to practice and refine today. I hope that my time there contributed to SFAI and my fellow residents experience a fraction as much as they did for me.