Photographer uses bullet holes in timely exhibition at YSU

It’s impossible to make sense of Sunday’s mass killing by a gunman in Las Vegas.

Stephen Paddock sprayed bullets from rifles into a throng of fans at an outdoor Jason Aldean concert below his hotel room, killing 59.

While information about the Nevada man continues to surface, we will never fully understand what could make him do such a thing.

The mass murder has also stoked the gun-control debate, and a new exhibition at Youngstown State University takes an artful approach to making the viewer feel the emotion of being in the cross hairs.

Titled “Hail,” the exhibition is by Garrett O. Hansen, a photography professor at the University of Kentucky. It opened Monday – the day after the Las Vegas tragedy – in the Judith Rae Solomon Gallery on the street level of Bliss Hall, on Wick Avenue.

Hansen’s exhibit speaks to the fact that roughly 40 percent of the U.S. population owns a gun and that there are enough guns – approximately 300 million – to arm nearly every man, woman and child in the country.

The artist used bullet holes to create each image. His goal is to bring home their implications.

His “Silhouettes” series is particularly effective. To create these works, Hansen started with targets that were used at shooting ranges. Each has the form of a human silhouette and is peppered with bullet holes.

The target sheets were enlarged to life-size and then lit from the rear. As the viewer walks toward each one, the light shines through the bullet holes and strikes the viewer’s body in the same location.

The exhibition is open weekdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


This week also brought about the sudden passing of Tom Petty, one of rock ’n’ roll’s greatest.

Many of Petty’s musical peers have cited him as an influence, a testament to his stature.

The list includes Stevie Nicks, who mentioned Petty quite a bit at her Sept. 15 concert at Covelli Centre.

The Fleetwood Mac singer basically called Petty her rock ’n’ roll idol. She even wanted to become a member of his band, the Heartbreakers, earlier in her career.

Nicks’ 1981 duet “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” with Petty was the first hit from her “Bella Donna” album. Petty co-wrote the song, but Nicks explained that she landed it through the work of his producer – and her boyfriend – Jimmy Iovine, who knew “Bella Donna” didn’t have a radio single and needed one.


Youngstown’s James Pernotto is a great artist and a major voice for the arts in the Mahoning Valley.

He has moved in tandem with the international art world as an artist, a gallery operator in New York and an educator.

His work has been shown at the Butler Institute of American Art more than any other artist.

Pernotto, who maintains a studio in downtown Youngstown on the second floor of the Silver’s Vogue Building, also teaches art at Penn State Shenango and Eastern Gateway Community College.

He has also long been a champion of his hometown.

Toward that end, Pernotto is leading an effort to purchase the Silver’s building, on the corner of West Federal and Phelps streets, downtown, and transform it into an arts center.

He addressed city council Sept. 20 to raise awareness of his plans. The Silver’s building has been for sale for at least a year.

Pernotto’s group calls itself Next Best Art, and it aims to cultivate future artists.

It also wants to expand the center city as an entertainment district that has more than just watering holes.

Concerning his address to council, Pernotto said, “I wanted them to be aware of us and our importance to the development of the downtown as a real art and entertainment – not bar scene – district that will bring people into Youngstown to live, work and raise a family, not simply to drink two nights a week and leave.”

Persons or corporate entities interested in helping Pernotto can reach him at


The Zombie Crawl has become a part of the landscape in Youngstown in recent years. The annual Halloween event sees hundreds of folks dressing up as the undead and then bar crawling through downtown pubs.

It has always taken place on a Saturday, but this year it will be on Friday, Oct. 27, so as not to overlap with Youngstown State University’s homecoming football game Oct. 28. Hopefully, the move won’t deaden the attendance.

For details on the Zombie Crawl and other Halloween happenings in the area, check out the centerspread of today’s Valley 24 magazine (page 6-7).


“Real Estate Wars,” the new series on Bravo, premieres at 10 tonight, with Canfield native Jojo Romeo as one of the major players.

The show pits two teams of real-estate agents against each other in a battle for sales in the cut-throat, and extremely lucrative, Orange County, Calif., market.

Guy D’Astolfo covers entertainment for The Vindicator. Follow him on Twitter at @VindyVibe.

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