BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A new art gallery is opening in North Buffalo. The owner’s work has been seen all over the world, now he’s getting the chance to bring it to his hometown. But his paintings weren’t always welcome in Buffalo.

Craig LaRotonda said he wasn’t allowed to show some of his work at the Allentown Art Festival.

He said, “To be censored was upsetting and absurd.” LaRotonda said his art work makes a statement, but in 2012, those that run the festival didn’t see that as a good thing.

He said, “It stood out. I was great for me because people would walk by and they’d be shocked to see something that was dark. It was figurative work among all the other, lighter crafts.”

He was asked to take down one of his paintings, something he and his wife Maria weren’t okay with. She said, “Art and censorship are just not in our vocabulary.”

Maria Pabico LaRotonda is the Curator at Revolution Gallery. She said, ” After you get over the initial anger, I find the ridiculousness of being censored at one of the biggest art festivals in the country, because of male nudity in a painting. It was absurd.”

Now they have their own  place to show off their work alongside fellow artists from across the country. LaRotonda said, “We know each and everyone of the artists that are in this show, and some of the artists made their artwork for this, others we picked from their collections.”

Together they transformed a former book store into a gallery on Hertel Avenue. The exhibit is called “Inception,” and has a focus on pop surrealism from 15 artists including both of them. Pabico LaRotonda said, “We took the mentality of “don’t be afraid to do this,” so we thought, could this pop surrealism gallery be accepted in Buffalo?  And the answer was a resounding yes.

Their hope is to expose people to art who don’t normally go intentionally looking for it in this area. Pabico LaRotonda said, “People walking in and saying, “what is this space,” and “what do you do here?” “What are these paintings? Are they dark and creepy?” And they are really fascinated by the content, and how the art does communicate to them.”

LaRotonda said, “People walk through the door all day long, and you meet artists and people, and it opens up your world. I’m just so excited to see what’s going to happen in the future.”

The community made the gallery possible. A $17 thousand dollar kick-starter campaign was completely funded by people in the Western New York area. The gallery owners hope to have a liquor license and wine bar by early next year.

For more information on the gallery, head to the Revolution Gallery website here.