The Paw Print
What do you do with the things that you do not need? You throw it away and buy something new. But there are some people who have the skill to turn garbage into something meaningful.
Adams State University Art department hosted an exhibition in the Cloyde Snook gallery for an emerging artist Marc Anthony Polizzi who collects unwanted things and turns them into works of art.
Polizzi was born and raised in Utica, N.Y. His initial plans were to be an illustrator and draw comic books. However, after he attended Munson Williams Proctor Institute of Art, he ended up becoming addicted to sculpture. He later transferred to The New York State college of Ceramics at Alfred University and completed his undergraduate degree from there. He received his Masters in Fine Art from Tulane University in New Orleans.
During his undergraduate years at Alfred University, Polizzi spent two years concentrating on glass work, and learned labor intensive work such as fabricating metals and foundry works. However, when he finished his undergraduate degree he did not have clear idea of why he was doing what he was doing.
“When in school you are making things for critiques. You are making things for the sake of making things not because you have anything to say,” he said.
While attending graduate school at New Orleans he spent a lot of time thinking why he was building what he was building. Polizzi was there right after the hurricane Katrina happened. He said it was interesting time to be there because people there were attached to the things they owned and were less likely to throw it out, opposed to people in Utica where things were easily trashed. They took pride in what they owned and painted their houses and stairs despite its dilapidated conditions. It was then he started to think about that in relation to the things that he had collected from garbage.
During his time in New Orleans he started to set up site specific sculpture in different places. He would create sculpture out of collected garbage, paint it and leave it there. He said one of his problems is his inability to scale down his ideas.
“Once I start doing something I go bigger and bigger. Inevitably I did something that was too large on a stop sign and the cops got interested,” he said.
He had propped up a large chair on the top of stop sign and painted it pink which got him into trouble with the police. But it also allowed him to put his name in a body of work that he had been creating. After that he started working with that idea in addition to his glass sculpture work. He started to focus on design, color and how his sculpture interacted with the space rather than focusing on the materials.
Polizzi said he does site specific work, and has sketchbook full of ideas but no specific design in mind before seeing the gallery space. He has to plan carefully when making the sculpture, and design it according to the architecture and wall strength of the gallery. His sculpture is put together inside the gallery space. Most of his pieces are standing on the ground propped up by something or hanging in the wall, but he said that the gallery in ASU is unique. Since there was not enough wall space he had to hang the sculpture in the center with a rope.
He advised new artists to go out all the way, all the time and not to undersell themselves. He said that no matter what level of artist one is, there is always a venue that is willing to show your art and people that will come to see your art.
“If somebody gives you a space use the space the best you can. Make the greatest impact with every single opportunity you have,” Polizzi said.
To look at more work of Polizzi visit his website www.mapolizzi.com.