You’re probably wondering how I decided to become an artist/photographer. Since I was a little kid art always interested me. I loved to draw and I was the kid who always wanted to go to the library to find out more about other artists. I remember being in second grade and taking out the biggest art books that I could find on artists. I loved Goya, Velasquez, and Michelangelo (my favorite!). These books were bigger than me but I brought them home and spent many hours looking at their art. I didn’t understand a lot of the art I was looking at, but it appealed to me. When I was in fourth grade, my mom took me to Italy to visit my grandparents and we went to Rome to see the museums. I finally got to see my idol Michelangelo’s work in “The Sistine Chapel.” It was so high up that it hurt my neck to look at it, so I laid down on the floor and looked up at the splendor of this magnificent work. I was on the floor for a 1/2hour! By the time I was in high school I was doing sceneries for plays, airbrushing cars, painting signs for stores and even painting dungaree jackets for my friends. However, this type of art was not enough to get me accepted into college. I needed a strong art portfolio, so I enrolled in a drawing class in Manhattan that focused on drawing from classical casts, which was the same way Michelangelo learned to draw. For the entire summer while all my friends went to camp I took the train to Manhattan and learned to draw. During my senior year in high school, I began applying to art colleges. I was turned down by most of them because of my low grades in school even though my portfolio was good. However, a teacher at Pratt Institute saw my portfolio and explained that if I really was serious about art school he would put in a recommendation for me to attend Pratt Institute. Just when I was about to give up all hope of getting into an art college, Pratt accepted me and even gave me a partial scholarship. Art College was tough because its not just about learning to draw, you also need all your other subjects too. During my college years I took many art classes, but my drawing skills were not near what I wanted them to be. Then I met a teacher at Pratt that changed my entire art career. Dave Passalacqua was a teacher with a very unique way of teaching. He taught me how to draw by making me draw on location. He had a school in Florida near Disney World and we would go to Disney World with a big sketch pad, pen and ink, and start early in the morning and draw all day until the fireworks went off at midnight! We drew for one month straight for about 15 hours a day. It was hard work! In Disney we drew people walking by, buildings, and shot photography. By the time school was over I had a pile of drawings so high and heavy that I couldn’t take them home on the plane and had to ship them home via UPS. I still continue to study with my teacher to this day. How I became a photographer was real easy, you see, if you can draw you can take photographs. I was taught to draw first what I want to photograph because if the drawing is not right, the photo won’t be much better. Being that I love to draw, taking pictures became even more exciting. I love to go on location, draw and take photographs of what I’ve drawn. Being a photographer is another extension of my drawing abilities. As a professional illustrator, I’ve done many different types of work for the Grateful Dead, ABC Television, MTV, the NY Yankees, and the Christian Brothers, just to name a few. I currently own a design firm with my best friend, Tom Lynch, and together we design fun projects. My parents were always very supportive in my becoming an artist, whatever the cost or sacrifice they believed in me. I am forever grateful for their support and understanding. Meeting Dave Passalacqua was the turning point in my career. I thank him for showing me where to find my artistic ability…I just needed to dig deep into my heart and work extremely hard. My wife and kids are my biggest fans, we all love art and we are always going to museums with our sketch pads and we draw. It’s their constant support and love that keeps me striving to be the best artist I can be. As a student with low grades where I never thought I’d ever make it into a college, not only did I go to college and graduate, but I still continue to take classes and I even teach inspiring young students at a local school. So never give up, even if you think you don’t have the ability, look deep down into yourself, its there and you’ll find it! Remember… draw, draw, draw, shoot photos…then draw some more!
Fun Activities to Do: How does the photo of this antique carousel horse make you feel?This wooden horse was carved by hand and hand painted. Draw your own carousel or draw an animal that you would like to see on a carousel. Write a story or a poem about a carousel ride.
Fun Activities to Do: This marble statue is listening to something. Is it a secret? A beautiful song? A really, really great story? Write a story or poem about what is going on. Make a statue of something. Now, make a statue out of something different, like marshmellows or spaghetti or old tires. Name your statue and tell us where it should be displayed.
Fun Activities to Do: How does this carved mask make you feel? Write an essay or poem about it. Sometimes people use masks to hide behind. Draw a mask that you would like to use when people are annoying you. What is it made of, what does it do when people see this mask? How does it make you feel?
Fun Activities to Do: This photo shows two majestic ships docked at shore. You can practically feel the wooden planks and smell the sea air. Climb aboard and write your sea story… tell about who is on this ship, where they are going. Draw your own ship.