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The Journey, Not the Destination

Mar 17, 2009
by Liz Daube, '05

Alumnus Nicholas Serenati went from Hollywood hopeful to award-winning visual artist

Flagler alumnus Nicholas Serenati (’03) launched his career hoping to be a Hollywood director, but he’s found his niche in a variety of visual arts.

Serenati’s documentary, “Soul Survivor: An Evolution of Beauty,” was selected for the 2007 Director’s Chair Film Festival and won honors from the Accolade Competition. “Soul Survivor” documents his mother’s attempts to heal after enduring a horse-training accident and 12 hours of facial reconstruction surgery. Serenati said the documentary was a therapeutic process that started shortly after he started studying for his master of fine arts degree. Since then, he’s opened himself up to a variety of other mediums, from video installations to sculptures.

“I don’t define myself as a filmmaker per se, but as a visual artist,” Serenati said. “That was a huge eye-opening experience, to dive in and find so many other opportunities to express myself.”

His current projects include staging an interactive video art installation and creating “an environment people can walk through, they can see, they can touch and, in some cases, taste.”

Most of his work has been inspired by personal observations; one recent project featured an arrangement of mannequins, cables, lamps and televisions that reflected a struggle with technology. Serenati said he drew upon his experience at Lake City Academy, where, a couple years ago, he taught art to children with learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

Serenati recently started teaching directing, cinematography and post-production at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, and he’ll begin studying for his doctorate in media psychology this fall.

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