Tacoma businessman Steven Naccarato recently decided to reinvent himself. The local entrepreneur’s recent projects, with his brother, have been in the restaurant business. The two opened downtown’s Pacific Grill, and until last April, also operated the Beach House restaurant (the former Pearl’s by the Sea) in Purdy. But Steven Naccarato’s latest undertaking is a solo venture in the arts. The first public exhibition of his photographs of Tacoma called “First Glimpse” opens at the Hilltop neighborhood’s Fulcrum Gallery Feb. 21.
Naccarato has been developing his skills in digital photography for the past eight years, he explains. More recently, his life has been increasingly “focused” on his art.
“I really wasn’t having much fun,” he says of his career as a restaurant owner. “So I decided that I needed to take a new direction.”
Naccarato began a process of “identifying those passions … the things that get you up in the morning.” He soon realized that photography had risen to the top of the list.
Some members of the public may have seen some of Naccarato’s work before. “My first showing was on the walls of the men’s room at the Beach House,” he recalls. “You have to start somewhere.”
Now, however, he feels ready to reach out to a larger audience. And friend, glass artist and gallery owner Oliver Doriss has offered to provide Naccarato with his first official display venue.
Doriss opened the Fulcrum Gallery in December 2007 after some six weeks of remodeling the display, storage and studio space at 1308 Martin Luther King Jr. Way.
“I always wanted to run a bit of a gallery,” Doriss says. His main intention is to provide a venue for sculptors, and artists who specialize in installation work — for those who, like Doriss himself, work in three dimensions.
“I see this gallery as an extension of myself,” Doriss explains, although he points out that he doesn’t intend to show his own work alongside that of his exhibitors. “I want to keep my role as a curator separate from my role as an artist.” Instead, Doriss will display his glass works in a separate area of the gallery.
So why is Fulcrum Gallery opening its series of exhibitions featuring the work of a photographer? “I’m still putting together my pool of artists,” Doriss says. “As a curator, I have to know my artists.” And he happens to know and respect the work of his photographer friend, Steven Naccarato.
But there’s also the three-dimensionality of Naccarato’s favored subject matter, Doriss explains. Both artists, it turns out, find inspiration in some of the Tacoma area’s architectural landmarks.
“I like simple, but dramatic images,” explains Naccarato, whose photographs include high contrast compositions featuring local buildings and bridges. “There are things all around us that we walk by every day and don’t notice. We don’t really look any deeper.”
But Naccarato has been learning to look deeper as he travels around Tacoma with his camera. “I try to keep my camera with me because those images can appear anywhere.”
The images are captured on Naccarato’s digital camera. “Then I take them back to the computer to see which images really resonate with me,” he says. “What I love about the process is the immediacy of seeing something that I can go right back in and work on.”
Now all he has to wait for is the response from the public who come to view his work at the gallery. “I’ll see what the reaction is,” Naccarato says, “and go from there.”
“First Glimpse” opens during this month’s Third Thursday, with a reception running from 6-10 p.m.
[Fulcrum Gallery, opens Feb. 21, 6-10 p.m., 1308 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, 253.250.0520, email@example.com]