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May 3 - June 1, 2014

Chris Alvanas and Joshua Leonti

Photography / Ceramics


In May 2014, DeBlois Gallery featured the art of photographer Chris Alvanas of Portsmouth and potter Josh Leonti of Bristol in their show ECLIPSE.

Chris Alvanas is no stranger to the music world. He studied at the Berkeley College of Music in Boston and has followed musicians- particularly from the Newport Jazz Festival- with photography.  His approach to image- making resembles improvised music with its “movement, dynamics and storytelling capabilities.” Musicians and street photography from Rhode Island towns will be shown in black and white digital images.

When Josh Leonti sits at a pottery wheel, he finds peace in his life. He has installed hardwood floors for years as a living and works on cars and motorcycles.  He was self- taught with little help. These skills were useful in ceramics. The art of Craft, he believes, comes from the precision and detail of his installation work. Problem-solving and an emphasis on quality have been part of his process. He creates “functional sculptural ceramic art vessels” and some pieces, he believes, are truly one of a kind.  Leonti is confident and passionate about his work. For him the pottery wheel represents the “road less travelled”.  

Jazz Collage

Comptine d'Un Autre Été: L'après-midi

Artist Statement

As a photographer, I am influenced by music: its movement, dynamics and storytelling capabilities. My approach to image making resembles improvised music: it is rooted in spontaneity, moment or place. It is important to me that humanity is not lost in this new age of technology.

It may develop further as I never restrict myself from the subtle possibilities of post-production. I respect that my images don’t call attention to specific techniques; instead they allow the viewer passage through my images.  I believe everything is a remix and the more inspired I am, the deeper I push ahead. 

I enjoy the hard stationary graphics and symmetry, as well as the soft graduated tonal modulation and motion a scene or moment may offer.  I am currently working with the black and white palette and its subtle and energetic tones of expression.  My mobile work is a way for me to put the focus on nostalgia and the emphasis becomes more about creation than equipment.

Chris Alvanas (photographer)
184 Willow Lane
Portsmouth,  RI  02871

The oddest statement:

The ceramics wheel spins, but it is the world that spins around me that is out of control.  This world turns on an axis, but this human life that we live, spins on no axis.  The illusion is that we grow up to believe that we are grounded and socially capable of living in this world.  We are not grounded, we are not capable of handling this life of ours.  However, because of years and years of evolution and social interaction we do our best to fit ourselves within the guidelines of humanity and socially acceptable behaviors. What is there more to be afraid of in this place called Earth? Is it this clay spinning and twisting violently, or perhaps people acting oddly, over caffeinated, and in a rush to go nowhere?  What my eyes never saw in my youth I now see in details with age, and that is the case with ceramics as it is with life. This world blinds you, tells you what to chase in life, tells you how to feel, what to eat and drink, and you oblige to it because it’s socially acceptable because a mass group of people act and do the same things as yourself over and over and over again.  I took the road less traveled, and sat at a pottery wheel like my father did years ago.  I sat at a pottery wheel and found some sense of peace in my life. I found some form of closure to what I found was my naive youth in this state called Rhode Island.  

Socially I was labeled as the oddball, but as life progresses I find almost everyone around me to be the odd ones in the equation of life.  So we’re taught to believe that money can buy a smile, wealth can build confidence, but that money means nothing to me.  I could sell every ceramic vessel in any gallery and that money doesn’t mean much to me.  What am I to buy with it?  In my youth I could have thought of all the things I wanted to buy with my “money”.  As life moves forward, my own time at this wheel makes a greater impression on myself than anything I could possibly buy in this world.  So you have to ask yourself as you read this “Artist statement” one question:  if this work means that much to him, then why would he sell it?  Why would I sell it? In the world of socialism this is what “artists” do with their work.  However I am not a part of the artist’s socialism processes of doing something with their lives.  I have no desire to follow rules, and or guidelines that have been trained in the greater educations past high school.  I make my money installing hardwood flooring for a living, but I find my sanity, and I find a sense of peace within myself at the ceramics wheel.   So, why would I sell it? I would sell them all to have more equipment and tools for ceramics, but it comes at a price.  I have high standards and expectations of myself, and expect people to see it through my work. 

John Faiddis
They could try and convince me that because I do not have a list of galleries attached to my name or that for some reason people do not know who I am right now, that for those reasons alone my work has less value.  They could try to compare my work to others, but I know that I am doing things at times other ceramics artist probably have never done before me, especially in New England.    I’ve invested years into ceramics, have become somewhat of a recluse at times, and in the process of it all learned how do things on my own.  I’ve learned skills upon skills upon skills, layers so deep of knowledge, but when you might look at my work you might not see all the time that was spent involved with it.  However, that is the point, I have the capabilities to do complex processes and make it still look easy on the eyes.  Like beauty found in nature, and much like the aesthetics of the world around us.  We see simplicity in face value but behind it is an endless complexity to it all.   I understand cause and effect, not from books, not from teachers, not from anything else, but from my own will of  just sitting at a wheel and being open minded to what one can do with my own mind.  ß That is what makes me an “Artist”.  That is what makes my work have value to me.    While many other artists play it safe with their work, I live on the edge and with my own nerves, and continue to grow, and to continue to produce one of kind vessels.  My work as of right now is functional sculptural ceramic art vessels/forms that can be collected, and in time in my opinion will have a certain value greater than the value of the fact that I made them with my own hands. There is plenty of wisdom buried in this youthful mind, the naïve young man has been around the block in this world and I’m fully aware that people have a tendency to look at the biography of an artist to see how many galleries one has been in their lives.  What I would ask of you as person reading this statement is to think about this thought.  Within all the constructs of my work there is probably 10-15 different series that could have progressed from just one single vessel.  There could have been 10-15 or even more galleries that I’ve could have done already, or maybe I could have just built a pottery business. The truth is the psychological aspects of the world have me more inclined to slide down the rabbit hole and into the modern art world.  


Chris Alvanas is a digital artist and an accomplished post-production retoucher as well as a fine art mobile imae maker.  As a photographer, Chris is known for his imagery of jazz music and dance by illustrating the musician’s relationship with the instrument, and the motion of the dancer. His recent Washington DC exhibit featured still images from his documentary “TAPS”. Chris also is a popular speaker on post-production, HDR and fine art printing. 

As a filmmaker, Chris uses a multi-genre approach: the photographer’s eye and the musician’s ear. He believes the addition of video and music offer exciting opportunities in cinematic storytelling for the contemporary  photographer.  Most recently Chris has a concentrated body of work in the mobile photography area and has lectured on the topic as well.

Chris’s work has been featured in such magazines as Shutterbug, Nikon World, Popular Photography, and on the Nikon Pro website. His articles have appeared in After Capture magazine and has been a featured speaker at DC  FotoWeek and Foto Fusion.. He has been a speaker at Photo Plus Expo, PMA and FotoFusion. Chris instructed for the Nikon Mentor Series, and was the Director of Photography at Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts in Washington DC. 

Phone: 401-864-2899
Web: www.lightyearimaging.com
Blog: chrisalvanas.wordpress.com
Email: chrisalvanas@me.com
Video: www.youtube.com  & www.vimeo.com


Savion Glover

Josh Leonti

Born in Rhode Island, lives in Bristol, RI.
Works at www.denisleontidesigns.com

My education hasn’t come from the first 18 years of my life.  It came from the last 15 out on my own in the world.  What matters?  Which education is important?  In my early 20s I was obsessed with cars and was in a garage practically every night learning schematics, mechanical engineering, and such all related to putting motors, suspensions, and brakes in a few cars that never came with them in the U.SA.  I read, I learned how to use the web to educate myself on how to do things that I wanted to do with having no greater education past high school.   It was a choice not to go to college by the way.  I graduated 20th out of 420+- kids if I remember correctly at Lasalle Academy.  I would of done even better but I just didn’t care anymore towards the end.   It was the wrong school, a bad time of my life and I needed a major break from the system of education.   The art of “Craft” comes somewhat from the flooring business that I’ve been a part of since age 18, and messing around with cars and now motorcycles in the garage.  I taught myself everything and had little help from others.   I know how to build a spray booth and spray gun setup for ceramics because of the mechanical side of my hobbies.  I know how to fix kilns, think about engineering problems with ceramics because of those backgrounds.   It’s all about cause and effect and much like being in a million dollar house with all custom wide plank flooring over radiant heat, that needs to be nailed precisely, glued, finished to a great quality.  The ceramics world is no different at times but on a smaller but more complicated scale to some degree.   I’m very good at thinking about complex problems of cause and effect and finding effective solution in my head without drawing or thinking about it too much so I’ve noticed with age.   If I want to do something I’m going to do it and no one is really going to stop me from doing it.  Money is the only thing that prevents me the majority of time from doing all the things I want to do with my life.    Talent maybe is more important then money in the Art/ceramics world and maybe that’s why it works for me.   You can buy your higher education and stick the degree on the wall, but if you don’t work for it, have talent, and know how to problem solve well then it might be a waste of time.   Writing what is on my mind is easy to me, but putting it all in proper sentences etc is not for me.  Maybe that’s why craft/art will always work for me v.s. desk job.  I’m not a big fan about writing about my past because it’s a mix bag of things.   There are no Great Achievement awards for one of the best Flooring Guys out there.   There is really nothing fancy about myself to spruce up an art gallery Artist statement and or Biography except for the fact that I do nice work and have only really concentrated on ceramics for the past three winters and for one summer a few years ago. I couldn’t find a side job that fit between my father’s business schedule, and lacking a college education. The truth is most of them sucked.   I’m not sure what I want to do fully with ceramics as of right now, but I’ll continue to do it.  I don’t like deadlines, I don’t like rushing around, I don’t like trying to do everything I want to do for a set time period in the future for a particular place.   I do that with work, and that might be the few things that have my work with galleries be very little later down the road, unless I find places that are friendly.  I do not focus too much on the psychological aspects of art with my current work, but I’m working on ideas now.. As much as I don’t like writing about myself too much,  don’t fool yourself into believing that because I’ve done this for a short period of time that anyone else can do work like myself too.  There are things I’ve done in the past few years I know that very few people and or anyone possibly in this world minus myself have done with some of my work.  So it bothers me a little even thinking about a few things.  I’m doing some great work, that no one does at times, and I don’t have a list of galleries attached to my name etc

For the record, I would be an ass not to mention my father and his ceramics background. He has been around and although we didn’t do much together I did learn one thing from being around his work: they are all different and one of a kind

 All I ask in the end is to just look at my work.  Then spend a week and try to find one that looks like it online.  I never tried to copy any particular persons work.   I was inspired from wood turnings, blown glass art, and mechanical engineering.

Sway the Light



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