A Visit To Fazzino Studios: An Essay by Sarah Q

We recently had a very special guest in the studio….budding artist and inquisitive student, Sarah Q. She came to the studio because she had a school assignment to do a report on a famous artist and she chose Charles Fazzino. We are so proud of her and the 100 that she received on her report that we decided to share it with you. So…here is our guest blogger…Sarah Q

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Charles Fazzino by Sarah Q

Charles Fazzino is a 3-D Pop Artist who was born in the Bronx and has lived his entire life in Pelham Manor. Charles has a brother and sister. His brother is very artistic but did not go into the arts. His sister is a nurse who also is very artistic but she did not take up art as a career. He is married and has one daughter named Heather. Heather appeared in many of Charles’ early paintings. Heather is now 23 years old and is an artist as well.

Charles attended Pelham Middle / High School. He did not have a favorite grade because he didn’t really enjoy school. He started school very young because he was born in the end of December. He was 1 to 2 years younger than all of his classmates. School was a very challenging time for him. His best subjects were history and art. Despite this difficulty, Charles’ teacher Ms. Hammer was instrumental in him becoming an artist. She encouraged him to draw because she thought he had a special talent. After high school, Charles attended the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. His major was art.

Charles became interested in art because of his mother and father. His mother was and still is a craftsperson and brought Charles and his sister to outside art shows when he was in 6th and 7th grade. This is when he began to see that you could create things with your hands and sell it and possibly make a living at it. His father was a shoe designer in New York. He also had a shoe company in New Rochelle in the 1950s and1960s. Art was always around him and so that is why he decided to go into art.
Charles’ type of art is known as Pop Art which is a culmination of many different things. When he was in art school he did a little bit of printmaking, a little bit of illustration and he loved pop out books as a child. These three things all came together in his last year of college. He put together things he loved. His artwork and the way he draws in linear lines lent itself to do Pop Art because it is very modern looking.

No other artist did Pop Art the way Fazzino does. There were artists working at the same time as him and in a similar style but those artists were cartoonish or sculptural. In Fazzino’s 3-D Pop Art, he was the first one to use paper tolling as an art form. Paper tolling was originally used as decoupage for craft decorating. He was the first one to use it as an art form.

Fazzino’s career has been slow and steady. It began in the late 1970’s when he discovered the 3-D process. He continues to use the 3-D process which has evolved over the years to what it is today. It has become really popular in the past 15 years. Fazzino’s career really took off in the mid to late 1980’s when he started to do fine art prints called silk screen prints. When he first started he wasn’t using that process, he was using posters to make his 3-D artwork.

Fazzino’s 3-D Pop Art is made at a facility in Brooklyn where the original colored areas of his artwork pieces are hand painted silk screens which are then delivered to his studio to get cut and glued. The pieces that are cut and glued are also silk screen which are printed in two halves. One half of the edition is printed on thick paper and the second half is printed on a thinner paper. “We create an original silk screen edition. Half of the edition is printed on the paper and half the edition is printed on a thinner paper. The thick paper is used as the background where all the pieces from the thinner paper are cut with an exact knife by hand and glued with silicon.”

It took a lot of trial and error to find the right paper. In his early artwork he was not using the proper type of paper and they realized this when the pieces were framed and they noticed a wave in the artwork. Through trial and error, he came up with a new type of1 00% rag museum board that is very thick and it stays perfectly straight. Fazzino continues to experiment with glues and adhesives especially with the new pieces he is creating which are printed directly onto aluminum. It took Fazzino 1 -1 1/2 years to figure out how to make the silicon glues stick to the aluminum without pulling off the ink.

Fazzino does not have one individual artist who influenced his career or style. He credits his mom bringing him and his sister to New York City museums and exposing him to different arts and craft shows as influencing his career, as well as his parent’s creativity.

At this point in his career, Charles Fazzino aspires to do installations and bigger projects. He wants to do big, giant, large pieces because it allows him to have real fun and creativity. Fazzino just finished large scale project at Terminal 8 at American Airlines. In addition to the plane, there are 12 other pieces at the airport. There is one mural that is 13 feet by 16 feet in 3-D with mobiles by the baggage claim along with a half dozen other mid size to large size pieces.

Charles Fazzino cannot point to one piece of artwork that he considers his most important piece of artwork. However, he points to a theme that is most prevalent in his artwork and has become an icon and synonymous with his name especially in Europe and Asia. It is the Big Apple. Most people who buy originals of Charles Fazzino’s artwork are looking for Apple pieces because it really typifies what he does. The Apple pieces are usually a large Apple with New York coming out of the top of it but he does it in so many different variations of colors and themes. The Apple what people know him for.

By: Sarah Q.

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