Artist Doug Lopretto posing with a mural he helped create for the Homestead Streetside Gallery.
In 2020, Rivers of Steel Arts launched the Mon Valley Featured Artist Series. Showcasing some of the exciting creative professionals working across the Mon Valley Creative Corridor, this blog highlights an artist each month—from a variety of boroughs—to provide a snapshot of the region’s growing cultural vitality.
About Douglas A. Lopretto Jr.
We are excited to close our 2020 artist features with the work of someone close to home, artist Doug Lopretto. Recently relocated to Homestead Borough, Doug has committed himself to the local creative community through his work as a tattoo artist, musician, and through numerous volunteer endeavors. During a challenging year when it would have been easy to take a seat on the sidelines, Lopretto has helped re-ignite a spark in the borough’s Steel Valley Arts Council while also investing himself and his business in downtown Homestead. Rivers of Steel is grateful for his steadfast partnership locally on projects like the Homestead Streetside Gallery and First Fridays programming. As we turn the page on 2020, all of us at Rivers of Steel look forward to working together with dedicated artists, like Doug Lopretto and so many others, to bring exciting creative experiences to the Mon Valley Creative Corridor.
A Message from Doug
About My Work
My tattooing comes from an American Traditional and Neo Traditional background. I focus on clean lines and bold tattoos that last a lifetime. I started in Erie after receiving my bachelor’s degree in media arts from Edinboro University then found my home in the body modification industry and also as a musician. My music has been called folk punk, dirty blues, and the ever constant “you sound like Tom Waits.” I keep it simple—my guitar, snapping fingers, foot stomps, and an a cappella or two. With all my art though my main focus is and always be the art created through solidarity and the energy transferred in the process. I always say “art is the action of, versus the finished project.” Plus the two most driving forces are my friends and my love for the working class.
My Home & Shop
Originally from Perryopolis, I currently live in West Homestead and my business, Kindness Solidarity Design is in Homestead. KSD & the Radio Room are located next to the Homestead Gray’s Bridge in the same location that was once home to the radio station WHOD, later known as WAMO. While we are still in the process of opening up, it will soon be an art space consisting of private, appointment-only tattooing where we will focus on quality over quantity. We aim to make the experience a more personal one. Separate from the tattoo side is the Radio Room where we pay tribute to Porky Chedwick, Mary “Dee” Dudley, Bill Powell, Glorian Inez Briskey, the Battle of Homestead 1892, and the power of radio; a mural that sits at the back of our stage where we hope to host as many “live” local talents as possible. The location will also function as a local art gallery, learning space, and organizing venue for local charities and nonprofits. It’s a dream for sure, but it’s my representation of what it felt like moving to Homestead. Here, the people are friendly, the small businesses treat you like family, and together we rise. Kyle Rybak and I are running this space with a basic universal motto, “there is no succeeding in this unless we all do.” We aim to do the most good with the time and space we’ve been given. The Steel Valley has so much history, love , and enduring strength. It’s an honor to call this place home.