For as long as I can remember, I have been drawing and painting fun little characters. I was one of those kids who could sit for hours entertaining myself with a pencil and paper while watching cartoons on television. As I got older I knew that I wanted to be a part of the art world.
I attended the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth and majored in Illustration, Graphic Design, and Jewelry Design. During my four years studying illustration, I was introduced to the business of children’s book illustration. From that point on, I knew that was the direction I wanted to take my career. I had found my passion.
After graduation, I went to New York with the hopes of finding opportunities in the children’s book field. Unfortunately, I realized that it wasn’t going to be as easy as I had thought and returned home disappointed, but still optimistic. As time passed, I decided to pursue my other major, jewelry design. Designing and creating jewelry was a very interesting and rewarding career decision. I worked in the field for 15 years and was published multiple times in national trade magazines for my unusual sculptural pieces. It was an honor to have been selected to exhibit my work at some of the most prestigious galleries across the country.
Everything seemed like it was falling into place, but I still had a yearning to break into the children’s book market. So with a new goal in place, I put a hold on my jewelry business, and started to focus on my drawing and painting skills again. I attended the DeCordova Museum School, and the Museum School in Boston so that I could find my place and become recognized in this market.
It has been a long and wonderful journey to get to this point in my career. I have worked incredibly hard, and never gave up on my dream. Now I can say that I have had the honor to have worked with many large publishing houses and have had many books published. My career is truly a joy, and I intend on drawing and painting forever.
My figurative work is based on my observations of people involved in everyday activities. Whether it be the interaction of a couple dancing or a group of strangers standing next to each other in a crowded room. I create an emotional connection for not only the viewer, but also between the people depicted in my work. Working as a children's book illustrator and painter, it is important to me to create a narrative quality to my work, and draw the viewer more easily into my world.
There are many elements that go into creating my finished works. I believe a strong layout and design of the canvas is the most important piece to jumpstart a successful painting. I begin with a sketch, and when I am completely satisfied and feel excited about the concept, I will then draw directly onto the canvas and start the painting process. I am never really sure what colors I will eventually use, but I do know as I layer more and color onto my works I feel the work evolve. At this point, if my painting looks and feels balanced, I know I am on the right path towards a successful piece.
A strong design, vibrant color palette, and a narrative quality, are what makes my work truly my own.
Charter Member of Artexpostudio*
Juror Nick Capasso, Director, Fitchburg Art Museum
Western Avenue Studios Studio #218
122 Western Avenue
Lowell, MA 01851