First few basic questions, who are you, what are you doing, where are you coming from?
Mark Milazzo, I am an analog collage/mixed media/assemblage artist. I am based in the USA.
How would you describe your artistic “style”? Did it take long to find the level you were comfortable on?
Style? This is a great question, I would say “anything goes” and that could be abstract, constructivism, deconstruct, surreal, or found art but if you look at my overall portfolio, there are series spread throughout. I never want to bore the individual viewing my art, keeping them on their toes. I have been at this for 3 years and have made well over 3000 pieces, my comfort level has come about through the making of art, rather than talking about it or feeling it. In making the art, I have learned what feels right inside and I am done with that piece and on to the next.
Can you tell me about the process of making your work? When you have an art session, do you have a similar pattern of how the creative process flows?
For analog collage, we all have to find the images we will use, cutting, ripping, or tearing, we have to look in books, magazines, on the ground outside, etc. Once we have enough material, we can then begin to put it all together. At times I will place unglued on the book cover or paper and look at it and other times, I start gluing immediately. My pattern is very similar, I have a large table with bits of paper everywhere and I start pulling from this. I have well over 2500 books and magazines to choose from and many I have never opened. A pre-hoarder maybe? I put on Pandora and start dancing around and getting into a rhythm.
“Old paper is like gold, like Christmas and I think when I find a book or ask for magazines or even pick up trash to use, it makes me feel great!”
How you would describe your relationship to old paper as working material? Do you spend much time looking for them?
Old paper is like gold, like Christmas and I think when I find a book or ask for magazines or even pick up trash to use, it makes me feel great! Perhaps euphoric and I buy a book or 2 when I really don’t need anymore because I may not have Star Wars material, etc., etc. I look weekly and sometimes daily, especially for found art, I just found a golf club (an iron) and that same day, made an assemblage.
When you start a new piece, do you have a clear vision of what you are going to do? And then, when you’re building the artwork, how much does the work ”live”/change from the original vision? How much do you improvise?
I do not always have a vision but I do have an idea and sometimes that vision may come to me later and that “aha” moment is when I know, it’s time to make art!
The piece will change if complicated because when I put it together “unglued” when gluing, it will not always look the same. I improvise 75% of the time.
Do you have any creative rituals? How do you boost your creativity?
Music in the background, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, rock, dance, techno, rap, whatever I need and I will dance around like an idiot.
How important is the meaning of a piece of art to you? How much do your works reflect your emotions or views? Do you want your viewers to understand why you made your art?
The pieces are very important to me, especially if it’s a controversial images, I have to feel compassion and love for that image before I can make a piece of art. Sometimes political pieces may present themselves but only if the right images are in front of me to make the actual piece. I do want my viewers to feel what I am trying to convey in the piece but more importantly, I want them to come up with their own thoughts. If I can evoke a memory, a feeling, or a thought, I think as an artist, I am deeply moved.
What influences you as an artist? And how do things influence you?
I am influenced by the creativity that collage and assemblage allow one to create. There are no right or wrong ways to make the piece and I am influenced at times by a prompt where somewhere has a word a day to make a collage.
Do you observe your development as an artist? And then, do you have a clear vision of what you’re going to do or try next?
I am constantly observing what I am doing and when I go back 3 years to see where I started and where I am today, I see changes that I am pleased with. My vision for what is coming next is based on the paper I have in front of me at the time. I make 30-40+ pieces per week, so I can’t think too much about what is going to happen, sometimes letting it unfold as you begin a series is what works for me.
If you should describe your art with one word, what would it be?