Interview Series: JeanPaul Mallozzi

A New York native and now a Miami transplant, JeanPaul Mallozzi is one of those wonderful artists that seems to grow more human the more familiar you become with his work. He delivers a perspective that is not only personal but also relatable, all in the same glance. Here I got a chance to catch up with JeanPaul after the Art Basel Miami dust settled to get inside the mind of the man behind the paint brush.

On the right path ( Tenacity) 58 x 41″ Mixed media on Rives BFK


LF: I adore that you take bits of realism, abstract, and portraiture and give them all new meaning and personality with your works. Giving the notion that the man behind the brush may be a “people watcher” that will then define today’s society by an unseen perspective. Which begs me to ask, would you consider yourself a voyeur or sorts?

JPM: haha! First I gotta say every time I hear the word voyeur, the little perv in me starts to giggle, cant help it. Yes I totally can see myself having voyeuristic tendencies when I’m making my work. A lot of time there’s some crumbs of truth to what I’ve experienced personally in what I do, but I also witnessed things growing up, and even still today as an adult that I try to include in new works. For example, pieces that tend to deal with girls, I would go back and see what my older sisters would go though right in front of me.

LF: It’s hard not to notice your splashing of color on pieces that are otherwise mostly black and white… where would you say that burst of energy/ emotion comes from in your work and personality?

JPM: The colors and line work are like a keyhole into what’s going on internally and the black and white bodies are there to help emphasize what’s going on with those colors and how they’re making the body animate itself.

  Moodswing: Mad, Glad, Sad  Each 30″ x 22″ Mixed media on Rives BFK

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LF: We’d love to know more about the piece(s) that first attracted me to you and your work. The “Mood Swings” series. What inspired this series? Did you plan for it to be a series to begin with or was that an organic growth once you got started?… and where/ how can we see it now?

JPM: I was stressed about works for a show and I had several pieces going on at once, but it wasn’t enough, and I actually sat in my chair in my apartment, cried, got really pissed and laughed within the same minute. I realized after, this could something kind of fun to reinterpret. I was also doing a lot of heavily rendered work at the time, and I wanted to do something that would take me away from that somewhat. I’ve always admired artists that worked freely and intuitively but Im a methodical planner by nature. So I wanted to pair my love for rendering and my admiration for free flowing work together and get me out of my comfort zone. I figured, moods are amorphous and loose energy, so this would be a great idea, but scary since Id put the heads over the rendered bodies and Id have really no control on how the color would spread.

LF: A similarity I’ve noticed throughout most of your works, movement. Lots and lots of movement in everything from the way you compile components of a piece to the manner in which you stroke your brush. Is this something that you produce consciously or more of a subconscious emotion that comes through to your work?

JPM: I try to keep movement consciously when I make a piece. I know when I look at paintings I enjoy, they all tend to have a way to keep my eye going form place to place and keeps me engaged.

   I swear I wont tell ( Secrets) 36″ x 24″ Mixed media on Rives BFK

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LF: Where do you seek inspiration? 

JPM: Well I definitely take inspiration from my life in general. Totally cliche here, I’ll be listening to a piece of music, usually some corny piece of pop (I admit it) or something more serious like classical/opera and something comes up. I tend to stay indoors a lot, and can be a bit for a workhorse so I’m thankful that I have a few special people to remind me to actually get off my ass and just go outside and disengage from what I’m doing. I’ve gotten to travel abroad more recently, and that’s a HUGE help for new ideas. Even passing conversations with people I know, actually are great tidbits for something inspiring.

LF: I know you’re originally from New York and now reside full-time in Miami… what inspired the migration south? And as a working/ showing artist, what are the challenges you’ve faced making the move from bustling NYC to a calmer Miami? What are some similarities?

JPM: Migrating down here came from just a need to change the pace and save some cash. I was working and commuting to manhattan and that took up 3 hrs of my day alone. It was getting pretty difficult to get by and I wasn’t doing any art of my own at the time. I wanted to build up a new portfolio, but I knew I couldn’t do it while I was in NYC at that point. Miami is totally a different pace here, much slower, but it forced me to learn to drive, which I really needed to do. Best part of that was didn’t have to parallel park on the test, which I still don’t get why. The difficulties of being seen by galleries here are pretty much the same as in NYC. The pool is actually much smaller for galleries here too.

LF: What is your dream destination to live in and/or travel to?

JPM: hehe – you know that changes pretty often for me, but at the moment, I’d love to see Japan, the UK and Ireland. Ireland especially so I can practice my accent and to do a car bomb at a local bar, just to say I did.

  Ponytale 18 x 33.5″ Mixed media on Rives BFK

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LF: How was Art Basel ’11 for you? What did you get into? Where did you show? Was there anything you saw / attended that really inspired you for 2012?

JPM: Basel wasn’t too bad this year for me. I got accepted to show with Miami Independent thinkers and Multiversal which I’m both thankful for. I got some decent traffic through my studio also at the Bakehouse Art Complex, struck up some nice conversations with some Europeans who bought some work which was great. Oh the satellite fairs killed it this year, particularly Art Miami and Pulse. I was so excited and refreshed to see what was being shown there. After those fairs, it’s really given me a new push to make great work this year.

LF: What’s next in the life, times, and adventures of Jean Paul Mallozzi?

JPM: I found out one of my works was vetted into the Works on paper show held in the Science Museum of London this Feb. I already have new pieces in progress now including some oil paintings which I’m anxious to finish. I have other projects in motion right now, but I have to keep them quiet for now.

LF: How do you Live FAST? 

JPM: I pretend that I know how to dance very well and blast music around in my studio or at home. I dance so hard to the point I sweat alot and I think to myself this is much better than going to the gym. But I gotta be by myself for obvious non embarrassing reasons. I also tend to repeat movie monologues while I drive, like recently, started quoting the Addams family, and the Goonies on the way to studio today.

It’s All Gucci…