Xiomáro (SEE-oh-MAH-ro) is a nationally recognized artist, curator and speaker from New York specializing in photographing National Park sites to raise awareness of their history, culture and natural beauty. At present, Xio is authoring the book Weir Farm National Historic Site, which features his photographs of this national park for the arts. The book will be released by Arcadia Publishing.
His work has been covered by The New York Times, The Boston Globe, CBS Eyewitness News, News 12, Newsday, The Huffington Post and Fine Art Connoisseur. He is a Visiting Artist at Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut where he began as an Artist-in-Residence. His photography has been widely exhibited at venues such as Fraunces Tavern Museum, African Burial Ground National Monument, Siena Art Institute (Italy) and by members of Congress.
At one point, 130 of Xio's photographs could be seen at eight simultaneous exhibits from Boston to Philadelphia including Harvard University and the Long Island Museum.
Fruitlands Museum, Brigham Young University, National Park Service sites and fine art galleries have acquired Xio’s prints for
their permanent collections. His images have appeared in internationally distributed catalogues, books and journals. He is also an Editor of Aspect Ratio, a London-based magazine of photography where he is a contributor to its Ground Glass editorial section.
Xio’s commissions from the National Park Service include:
> President Theodore Roosevelt's Summer White House at Sagamore Hill
> George Washington's headquarters at Morristown National Historical Park
> the office of landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, creator of Central Park
> the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of the world's foremost poets
> the estate of William Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence
> the home and studio of Julian Alden Weir, the father of American Impressionist painting
> the studio of Mahonri Young, Ashcan sculptor celebrating America's explorers and workers
> the historic forts and abandoned army barracks of the Boston Harbor Islands
215-mile New England National Scenic Trail in Connecticut and Massachusetts
Fire Island National Seashore's High Dune Wilderness and Salt Marsh
> Florida's Big Cypress National Preserve and its invasive plants and animals
> Everglades National Park
From the Artist
People, Places and Ideas
I am naturally curious and lots of subjects interest me. At first, I concentrated on photographing landscapes and the small, sometimes abstract, details within them… and evoking a mood or feeling in those compositions. Then I started taking the same approach to people in a way that projects who they really are or who they would like to be – all filtered through the way I see or know them.
Many historical figures are long deceased. But I can resurrect their spirits when I photograph their homes, workplaces, their material possessions and the surrounding landscape. I am fortunate that the National Park Service (NPS) commissions me to apply my vision to sites once belonging to some of America’s most notable VIPs ranging from political leaders like President Theodore Roosevelt and Founding Father William Floyd to creative minds like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, J. Alden Weir and Mahonri Young. The NPS shares my conviction that these photographic collections will impact the culture to help stimulate curiosity about our open spaces and cultural/historical sites so that they will continue to be preserved and appreciated.
These themes in my work have their beginnings in Brooklyn and, later, Queens where I grew up surrounded by the arts and the artful. My uncle, a Van Gogh devotee, painted and introduced me to oils and watercolor. My father is a cabinet maker in the 18th and 19th century styles (e.g., Chippendale, Queen Anne, Sheraton, Empire and Federal). He reproduced one-of-a-kind pieces for clients such as Chris Jussel who was later cast as the original host of PBS’s Antiques Roadshow. Eventually, both parents became avid collectors and appreciators of the history represented by their acquisitions.
Every now and then I worked at my father’s shop and helped out with the planing, bandsawing, sanding, gluing and clamping. And like many teenagers of the era, I started a basement band writing and playing original music. When I entered college, I majored in philosophy but took as many art and music courses as possible. Then, I graduated from New York University School of Law where I was the Editor-in-Chief of its Journal of International Law and Politics. With this background, I became an arts-and-entertainment lawyer and manager representing creative talent internationally and particularly in New York City’s then-burgeoning Hip Hop and Dance music scenes. It also enabled me to observe top photographers at work such as Ellen von Unwerth, known for her Guess? Jeans advertising campaign with models Claudia Schiffer and Anna Nicole Smith.
Ready For Battle
With a busy career, finding time to keep up with my own creativity was a constant struggle. At one point, I managed to perform regularly at coffeehouses throughout the Northeast with a back-up band. Eventually, one of my songs spent a week in the Top 40 of American Idol Underground, their web version of the TV show. I bought a small point-and-shoot camera to document these coffeehouse concerts. In time, I was drawn to photographing flowers, butterflies and scenery and started exhibiting these decorative images at my shows. The prints often outsold my CDs – an indication that the camera could become another medium for artistic expression.
At the peak of this music phase, I was diagnosed with cancer. The heightened sense of mortality provoked a gradual purging of the nonessentials that were cluttering my life. After my recovery, I found peace in the solitude of wandering the parks with my camera. I decided to start anew and develop a studio to pursue art seriously. The change was commemorated by taking on a pseudonym – Xiomáro (SEE-oh-MAH-ro). It’s a nod to my family’s roots in Spain and the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa. And Xiomáro literally means “ready for battle.”