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Original hand-painted airplane sculpture by Charles Fazzino commissioned by American Airlines. It is on permanent display at JFK International Airport.

It is always interesting to get into the mind and heart of world-renowned artists. 3-D Pop Artist Charles Fazzino is one of them.

According to his bio, “Charles Fazzino, graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, is one of the most popular and highly-collected pop artists of all time. During his more-than-thirty years as a pop artist, he has inserted his unique, detailed, vibrant, and three-dimensional style of artwork into the very fabric of popular culture. he is an officially licensed artist of Major League Baseball and the 2018 MLB All-Star Game to be hosted at Nationals Park on Washington, D.C. Charles Fazzino is also an officially licensed artist of the National Football League and the Super Bowl (2000-present).”

Artist Charles Fazzino premieres his officially licensed commemorative artwork for the 89th MLB All-Star Game at both DC Metro Wentworth Gallery locations on July 13 and 14. The All-Star game is scheduled for Tuesday, July 17 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

Fairfax Times reached out to him with some questions:

What kind of a child were you?

Fazzino: I was very creative but also very much like your typical kid…I was much more interested in having fun than concentrating on things like school work. I definitely wasn’t a diligent student. I hated to read and was terrible in most subjects except history, geography, and art…all the things I still love today. They continue to inform my art. I much preferred doodling and dreaming especially about world travel. But I guess I’ve done ok for a mostly “D” student.

Your art is filled with crowded and colorful cities. Why? What was the source of your inspirations?

Fazzino: I am most definitely a city person. I love to travel and I love to explore new places. I’m not the kind of person who can spend much time out in the country. I need more stimulation than that. I love to people watch and there is always so much going on in the city. I love to find new places to eat, museums to explore, shows to see and I love to figure out what makes a place tick; what the key to the culture is and what makes it special and unique. And then I like to capture it all in one artistic image. It’s a wonderful challenge and sometimes even I am amazed by the way some pieces turn out.

How did you find your voice? What was that moment/moments?

Fazzino: I started painting cityscapes when I was a student at the School of Visual Arts in the 1970’s. One of the things you learn in school is to just paint what you see. Paint the world around you. I spent a lot of time in the lower east side of New York and so that’s what I painted: The buildings, the people, the culture and the flavor. It just seemed to click. My artistic sense with the theme of the cityscape gave me a lot of creative inspiration. But then the magic happened and I combined those themes with the 3-D technique. I was doing some outdoor art shows in Florida when I stopped into an art supply store to pick up some stuff. I sat in on a class they were giving in paper tole and decided to take some of my flat pieces and try giving them dimension using the technique. I showed them at my next exhibition and it was like lightning struck. Nothing else I showed there sold, but all of these “dimensional” works sold. I was off and running.

You are documenting our life through your art. Can you tell where are we going as humans?

Fazzino: I sort of see myself as a pop culture historian. I paint life as it is; what we do for work, where we live, where we travel, how we spend our time, the people we idolize. I’m not sure I’ve ever sat down and thought about how my work reflects the path of human nature. But, if I had to I guess, I’d point to the ever-increasing amount of detail in my work. It’s become almost frenzied and sometimes I think that might be a reflection of where we are going. Life just seems to become fuller and fuller, more chaotic, more complicated, more active. Maybe there’s something to that?

How can you explain the conflict between art and money?

Fazzino: I’m not sure it’s a conflict necessarily. I think like with most creative pursuits, talented people try to use their art as a means to exist…to make a living, which unfortunately, is necessary for survival. There are some out there who don’t have a lot of respect for an artist if he isn’t starving and selling his wares on the street, but I haven’t really figured out why. I think it’s a manufactured conflict actually. If you like what you see, then to you, it’s art. Whether or not it has a large price tag on it is irrelevant.

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2018 MLB All-Star Game commemorative artwork created by Charles Fazzino

Do you have a favorite piece of your work?

Fazzino: I am always asked for my favorite and it’s like trying to pick a favorite child. I just can’t do it. Many of them have stories behind them. And frankly, my favorites shift. I’m usually favoring whatever pieces I find personally fulfilling and inspiring at the time. Right now, several of my pieces on aluminum are my favorites because it’s a new medium I’ve experimented with in the last few years and it’s taken a lot of dedication and problem solving to get right. I find them particularly rewarding to create right now. But that will change eventually, when I move on to my next innovation.

Fazzino’s 2018 All-Star Game Commemorative Artwork Collection will consist of original artworks, limited-edition prints on paper and aluminum, and other fine art collectibles, including hand-painted limited-edition baseballs and home plates. The Collection is on exhibition & available for acquisition, according to his press release.

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