Interview with Joe Carrozzo


Joseph Carrozzo, born in Albany, NY, currently lives in Long Island NY. He received an MFA from SUNY New Paltz and a BS from the College of St. Rose in Albany, NY. He has been making and selling work for over 25 years while striving to discover new venues to exhibit his work. During this time he has been a teacher, working primarily with elementary children in various school settings as well as giving workshops in drawing and painting to adults. Carrozzo’s work has been included in numerous regional and national and international exhibitions; New York State Biennial, New York State Museum, Albany, NY; Bicentennial Exhibition, Chenango County Council on the Arts; The Munson-Williams Proctor Institute Museum of Art's 57th Biennial Exhibition of Central New York Artists, Munson-Williams Proctor Institute, Utica, NY as well as The Hide Museum and most recently at the Cheryl Pelavin Gallery, New York, NY and the Nirvanavan Foundation in Auckland, New Zealand.


How did you start making art?

It seems I always made art. In school I was always the one who made the art for events like plays and class projects. I came from a very creative family many of whom, on my dad’s side, were artists and artisans. But I didn’t consider art seriously until my second year of college.
Why do you make art? 

For a lot of reasons but the most significant is it makes me feel that anything is possible and that I am in control. Making art for me, in this case paintings, I can best communicate how and what I feel about the world around me.
What inspires you? 

A lot of things, the human condition and its spirit, the freshness and freedom of kids drawings, humor and satire, nature and the smell of oil paint and art of course, to name some.


What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio? 

The idea! No idea, no work. Everything else is negotiable.


How would you describe your art?
I want my work to have a freshness about it and the sense of spontaneity that comes from not being belabored. As far as the content is concerned, I find that the choices people make and the circumstances they place themselves in to be so intriguing for me to work from. The political climate, international and nationally, also provides so much rich material to work with. I just love to poke fun at the idiotic and stupid behavior that people tend to practice. I like to be provocative but not mean spirited.

Can you tell me about your relationship with your work? 

It’s what grounds me and gives me purpose by being the one thing I’m reasonably good at! But there is a lot of struggle too. Sometimes I feel elated by what I made and other times I feel the opposite. Sometimes I feel art has saved my life and other times I feel it’s taking it. I guess I experience a lot of dichotomies in my studio life. Often I feel I am only as good an artist as the last piece I made. 

Do you have any bad habits? And does it affects on your art? 

Yeah a big one, procrastination. To an extent this is good because it allows me time to figure things out but it can easily become too much time not doing enough. I’m not sure what it’s about maybe insecurity or maybe just laziness? Yet sometimes I feel I’m simply reveling in inner peace and other times I just think I'm being self indulgent and I need to get to work! 


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