02-29-12-carlo-pieroni.jpgMaybe you’ve never met Carlo Pieroni, but chances are, you’ve seen his work. The self-taught, Italian-born photographer’s work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, GQ, Madame Figaro, Interview, Max, Uomo Vogue and Femme. He’s worked with companies including Motorola, Chupa Chups, Everlast, Renault, La Perla, Liz Claiborne Cosmetics, Lucky You, M&M/Mars, Playtex, Triumph, Camel, Flamingo Hotel and Casino and VH-1/MTV.

While Pieroni’s lifestyle and advertising work are impressive, he is also pas-sionate about pin-ups — think Betty Page and Jayne Mansfield. On March 8, Up & Coming Weekly’s Gallery 208 opens an ex-hibit featuring Pieroni’s pin-up work.

Lighthearted and whimsical, the pin-ups are a collaboration between the artist and the models he portrays. The idea of each photo is to find the inner bombshell of each woman and to use Pieroni’s creativity to produce a piece of art that complements the model and presents an entertaining and visually appealing piece of work.

Each image starts as a photograph, but the end result is a combination of photography, and some “painting,” done by Pieroni, that portrays the models in playful situations somewhere between reality and fantasy.

In December of 2010 the USO teamed up with VH1 to present VH1 Divas Salute the Troops. For this venture Pieroni transformed Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, Nicki Minaj, and the Nocturnals’ Grace Potter, Keri Hilson, Katy Perry and Paramore’s Hayley Williams into 1940s-era pin-ups.

A family man and father of three, Pieroni grew up in Florence Italy. He started taking pictures when he was in high school and even did some com-mission work for friends. From there, he moved on to commercial photog-raphy and focused on still-life pictures for a time. It was a photo shoot in the Sahara Desert that turned him in the direction of photographing people. This particular model portrayed a desert rose. She stole his heart and became Pieroni’s muse — and later his wife, and he never looked back. He’s now a well-known and highly sought after fashion photographer.

“It is such an exciting experience to be a part of the universe of a woman,” said Pieroni. “Each woman is so unique, such an individual ... and has her own set of strengths and her own sense of beauty and glamor and self. It really is a joy to be a part of this for a time and to translate that vision into a work of art.”

For his pin-up images, Pieroni prefers to keep things light and playful. Sure, his images are soft and dreamy and lighthearted — he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“A lot of my work is silly and is set up to show the comedy in a situation. It is meant to portray the inner joy and lightheartedness of the models,” said Pieroni.

The Gallery 208 opening reception is from 5:30-7 p.m. It is free and open to the public. Call 484-6200 for more information.

Photo: On March 8, Up & Coming Weekly’s Gallery 208 opens an exhibit featuring Pieroni’s pin-up work.

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