domenica 22 maggio 2016

Interview with JOE CARROZZO

q)Please tell us your name and where you practice.

a)JOE CARROZZO(, My studio is in Port Washington, NY, just outside of New York City by about 30minutes by train.

q) Why do you make art?

a)I have always had a strong desire to express myself visually and in a way that reflects my point of view of the world I live in. So, I’ve never wanted to make work that’s simply nice or pretty to look at, there just needed to be a reason for it, the art, to exist. I think I always have a need to ask something of the viewer beyond simply passive observation. For me, there needs to be a message, an edge, a prickly point that asks “why”.  Yet, early on in my development I would get stuck because I just didn’t know what I wanted to say with my work. It’s taken my years and many iterations of my work and now I have come full circle to where I started which is essentially the human condition.  But now, my work is from the perspective of a middle age white guy instead of a 20 something man/kid when I started, without much life experience. 

q) How do you work ?

a)I have a small studio in the basement of the house I live in. The size of my work space forces me to make work that is on the smaller side. I work in oilyet often think about working with ink and water based media but because I have a cramped workspace it’s difficult for me to change back and forth. Still, I’m working on making this happen soon!

q) What´s your background?

a)I was born into a family of artists, artisans, and craftspeople. Art and art related work is really all I’ve ever done. I’ve tried other things but through the years art was all I’ve ever been interested in or have stuck with. As a result, I got my undergrad and grad degrees in art and then had chances to do other things in my life such as teaching and graphic design but I just never had much interest in them or been very confident or good at them. So, I have been very compelled to follow this path, art, sometimes willing sometimes because it makes sense to me and gives me meaning and purpose to my life.

q) What role does the artist have in society?

a)This is a tricky question for me and one I have asked myself too. The politically correct answer is that society needs artists and their work in some fundamental, organic, or emotional way to survive and grow by being a voice that reflects back on society who “it” really is or some such idea. But this seems so cliché to me and is not why I make art. I make the art I do because Iam compelled to. I think if I were to think of my role this way, holding the proverbial mirror up to society, I would likely stop making art, I mean it’s such a damn stifling thought. To me, this question is better answered by critics or philosophers and not by those who make the art.
 I, of course, do believe that art in the mean surely does reflect the predilections of the society it was created in. But I also know from experience that once you step outside art circles you realize that most people know little and or care even less about art. So, over the years, I have come to realize that many don’t intentionally look at art let alone considered what it might mean to them and their worldview. No one needs art to survive, to eat, or to have shelter. But then I also feel that this “non-purpose” is exactly what gives art and artists their edge, their role by being removed from the forces that society places on itself they, artists, are free to make what is necessary and important to them.

q) What was a seminal experience for you ?

a)After graduating college a group of my friends, my girlfriend at the time and me went to Greece for a month. It was such an open time for me as it is for all or many just minted 20 something grads, ready and hungry for anything intellectually, at least that was me, my friends. That experience opened me up to the possibility that well, anything is possible and was instrumental in my seriously perusing my art as a career as a life practice.

q) Has your practice changed over time ?

a)Yes, many times. I began working figuratively then later after a move to rural New York I got into painting outside, plein air, landscape work. Then during the writer months, I worked abstractly which were loosely based on the landscape work. At this time, I was very heavy into the work of Fairfield Porter and the early abstraction of Richard Diebenkorn primarily. But over the years, I have come back to figurative-narrative work by way of merging abstraction and representative work while creating a kind of narrative that reflects my life experience in varying ways.

q) What art do you most identify with ?

 a)Wow, there is so much but as for painting, I find I’m initially drawn to two things, in no particular order. The first is color and line and then combined with the hand of the artist in their work. By the last part I mean I really respond to work that is not overly defined but appears to be done with the idea in mind first and not the result or how it will look to the viewer. I love spontaneity and even a slap-dash quality if it’s done without pretense.
I love the drawings kids make because of the same reasons they are all about the idea or what they feel and NOT how it will look to the viewer. This is the corruption we suffer, as we get older. We learn to not trust that our ideas are power and that your hand is just you like our signature or handwriting, your face or your body. I think an artist “voice” if it’s truly honest is a sweet marriage of their hand and their idea. The best artists among us know this, trust it and use them affectively and effectively in their work. This is what I look for in art and what I most identify with. Directly aligned with this I want there to be substance, meaning or an edge that pulls me in then kicks me out then pulls me back. I like work that kills you slowly or without you realizing it then later you just can’t stop thinking about it. I like work with meat and meaning!

q) What´s your strongest memory of your childhood ?

a)There are too many to list and most are not too interesting to talk about.

q) What themes do you pursue ?

a)If I had to name it I suppose it would be social commentary and narrative themes.

q) Describe a real life experience that inspired you.

a)This happens a lot or often. But one event that is a recurrence around here where I live is the habitual use of gas leaf blowers. For me, these machines are very irritating and disturbing actually. They are loud and smell because they are usually gas-oil powered. I made a painting about it with a guy that is desperately trying to protect his ears from these gas monsters. I also see them as a lazy way to clean a yard. You would think with such a ubiquitous use of these machines that brooms and rakes no longer exist or are beginning made!

q) What´s your most embarrassing moment ?

a) I’m not sure I don’t really get embarrassed I think I just don’t really care what people think about me!

q) What jobs have you done other than being an artist ?

a)Too many to list and were not very interesting except when I was a substitute teacher for several years. I always liked working with young kids and I would always find a way to get them to draw pictures or make art somehow!

q) What responses have you had to your work ?

a)I think what people most comment on are the contexts that the protagonist(s) in my paintings find themselves in. There is always some weird, odd or off centered situations they’re in that can be both funny and disturbing. But most say the work has a dark humor to it. Which I think most viewers enjoy. Still, I would welcome a really in depth review of my work but I’m still waiting on this!

q) What do you dislike about the art world ?

a)It’s fickle, capricious, and erratic tendencies as to the ways things function. Next for me there are those who profit on the insecurity and disappointment of artists by taking their money, usually large amounts, in trade for the tacit promise that they will reveal to the artist “the way” to their success whether that be financial or otherwise. These people to me, though not all but many, are akin to snake oil salesmen of the past who made undeliverable promises to the willing and desperate.
The beauty of being an artist is that success can be anything that they deem it to be. That the creative process is infinite and likewise so are the options one can find success from unlike, for example, a doctor or lawyer. So, this is the rub, and where a lot of we artists get lost, myself included, and also where those who profess the knowledge of how to make an artist successful step in. Because artists are generally sensitive people they are susceptible to being manipulated by these types. I dislike these people who I feel are simply profiteers generally not interested in much beyond making money for themselves. I dislike this aspect of the art world probably the most.

q) What research do you do ?

a)I pay attention and observe these are probably my best research. Iunfortunately don’t read as much as I used to but I listen to a lot of podcasts as well as varying points of view from news sources. I seem to get a lot from these sources. Comedy and movies are a great distraction and recourse for me too!

q) What is your dream project?

a)I think to have a show or multiple shows in major museums and galleries in notable cities such Milan, Rome, New York, Paris and others but, I think this is not unique; it’s what most artists would like to have happened.

q) What´s the best piece of advice you have been given ?

 a)I’ve not gotten much useful advice at least as it relates to art. But I think one thing that is really important and necessary is to be positive, patient and persistent which, as it turns out, are the three things that are a challenge for me!

q) What couldn’t you do without?

 a)My health and the freedom to create the life I want to have.

q) What makes you angry?

a)Arrogantand obnoxious people. And now with the US election of 2016 I simply cannot understand how we have so many blind followers who are soeasily conned in this country by a load mouth,bigoted,misogynist. That really makes me angry and also very disappointed.

q) What is your worst quality?

a)Being impatient, things never happen as fast as I would like!

q) Dogs or Cats ?

a)Dogs for sure, cats are a foreign and irritating species to me!

q) Making art is a lot like being on lsd. Know what I mean ?

a)No, I don’t know what you mean? If you mean is making art like an acid trip well, no it’s not. Art is work there is pleasure and pain, success and failure in the process.

q) What does “ copy” mean to you ?

a)I’m not sure I understand the question but all good artists copy this how they build on what has come before.

q) What´s your favorite cuss word ?

a)Shit only one? okay, well FUCK

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