Who is JeanPaul Mallozzi? I have no idea but when ma and I saw him cuddling a poodle while floating above a city (well, it wasn’t him, but it was his imagi-creation) we fell in love. With poodles. Again. Literally, we tripped and almost knocked it off the wall. Don’t tell JP. Offcially, JeanPaul Mallozzi was born and raised in Queens NYC (Not Your City),where there are no queens because ma and I moved to Miami decades ago, and he received a scholarship to attend the Rhode Island School Of Design (RISD). That place is in Rhode Island and it’s not an island and therefore is a stupid name for a road. Anyway, JeanPaul graduated with B.F.A in Illustration and Fine Arts. He currently resides in Miami FL, his studio is at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Wynwood, and he is trying daily to avoid the sun and stays pasty white. I have no idea what he is talking about because my pasties are brownish-fleshtone. After you read this Potty Mouth Interview, run by and visit JeanPaul’s studio at the Bakehouse. It’ll make you happy.
Almost Dorothy: Were you born an artist or were you molded into one?
JeanPaul Mallozzi: It’s pretty much both. I had the desire as a kid, and kind of found out accidentally that I could actually draw well. I was 10 and it was an advanced art class in junior high when I drew a Pterodactyl and when I was done I was like, damn that’s pretty good! (Yes, even at 10, I started to curse). I kept that drive going up until junior year of high school where I met up with my portfolio development teacher Mr. Potter, who helped to “mold” me into a serious art student and prepared me for submitting my work to colleges.
AD: What is your biggest obsession and why?
JM: I think it has gotta be learning new techniques with painting and digital work, while pushing the ones I’ve already learned. I think staying loose and stepping out of your comfort zone once in a while is a nice wake up call. That and cereal.
AD: I heart “Aloof” and the entire series. What intrigues me is the fact the boy has no face and the heart fades into mini pools of red, a memory of love? The boy with no face makes him more powerful than he would be otherwise. Tell me about your Moodswings, the set, and what propels you forward (or backward).
JM: The Moodswings series (“Mad”, Glad” “Sad”) I made along with other works as part of an Illustrated themed gallery show in Miami. I actually had a major moodswing one afternoon in my apartment and after it was done I thought, heh, this would be kind of fun to recreate somehow, and a nice play on the phrase. Right now, the originals and prints are available at the Art Whino gallery in Washington DC.
“Aloof” is a continuation on the first 3 pieces. It’s about little boys who like to play with their toys, but they don’t realize the hearts that break along the way. You want to get angry at them, but really you can’t because they may not realize what they’re doing. I’m already in the process of making more of the Moodswings series, this time using girls too.
AD: Oh, no more broken hearts. No more! Why no face?
JM: Actually, there is a face. Moods and emotions are like energy and color, that manifests itself in the body. People can read emotion on a face and even more so in someone’s body language. I chose to combine the two ideas of energy and posture but instead of rendering an actual face replacing it with gestural line work and color almost like how a child would draw a face but rendering the body carefully. The eyes, and a mouth are always there. Sometimes a nose if I’m feeling it.
AD: Follow-up: is it the swing that moves you through moods or is it the mood that swings you?
JM: I’d say the swing moves me through, since I still go on them and go pretty damn high, although at times I fear I may just break it and fall on my ass, since I’m a little bit taller than when I was 7.
AD: I’m still 7. Not so tall though. Do you miss Queens?
JM: I do miss aspects of Queens, my crazy Cuban cousins, my old friends, the Q27 and Q46 lines, not to mention the subway and me not having to have a car 7 days a week was kind of a nice perk.
AD: In “Zzzzz”, I assume you were tired and cuddling a poodle or know someone who cuddles a poodle or maybe you just imagined poodle cuddling while floating over a city. I’m curious, what memories shape your identity as an artist or as a human being (unless you’re not human)?
JM: Memories of me playing Magic the Gathering ( yes I admit it) and copying some of the art on the cards is a good one. Me listening to my relatives and their crazy-ass stories of ghosts walking around the house, and a lot of cartoon watching and video game playing. That’s just a few in the foundation of my artistic identity.
AD: Do you believe in hummingbirds?
JM: Yes. The smallest ones are in Cuba and they are the size of a bee. Thank you Discovery channel.
AD: What’s your biggest challenge being an artist living in Miami or anywhere in the world?
JM: Trying to get recognized. I think these days, many artists are following the trend of self publishing, which is great because now everyone can show themselves, but it also makes it that much harder to be recognized. There are a lot of seriously talented artists out there so the competition is tough.
AD: Biggest regret in life?
JM: Not pushing my parents to put me into ballet classes. (Seriously)
AD: Me too, but I can’t dance. I have two left duck feet. So, what’s your proudest moment ever?
JM: Selling my first painting
AD: I peek sneaked a look at your blog and noticed another Moodswings piece in progress. The boy looks older. What’s going on here?
JM: Hehe, I can’t say, until its finished.
AD: My ma said you’re a jerk for not revealing, but don’t worry, I smacked her on your behalf.
AD: If you could be reincarnated as a city, what city would you be and why?
JM: I’d say Venice, with the exception that it won’t sink. I’ve been told its one of the most beautiful and yet melancholic cities in the world, especially during autumn. Plus I have a weakness for the Venetian masks. I haven’t been there yet, but I hope to see it soon.
AD: Favorite curse word?
Irish: Dirty fuckin’ langer
Spanish: Vete pa’ carajo
AD: Define the true artist for me.
JM: A true artist always has the urge to create.
AD: I always have the urge to pee. Biggest influences.
AD: Most vivid memory:
JM: I remember the first time I could control myself dreaming consciously. That was awesome.
AD: What are the three songs you can’t live or love without?
JM: Can’t live without: George Michael’s “Freedom”, Billy Idol’s “Dancing with Myself” and Yomanda Vs Emma Shapplin’s “Spente le Stelle”. ( I used to like to play with glowsticks.)
AD: I used to chew on glowsticks. Still do, in fact. Finally, last question: Reveal a dark(ish) secret for us:
JM: I have an innate fear of fish. Most of my friends and all of my family already know this.
JeanPaul Mallozzi does freelance work, commissions, and prints. Out of just random goodness feel free to contact him for more info @ email@example.com. View his blog where he updates his work-in-progress here.