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Art Basel Miami | Daniel Mazzone: A Walk Through Life

[VIDEO] From living on the streets to exhibiting in galleries, the artist on how his life was transformed by art.

Miss Rosenby Miss Rosen
Daniel Mazzone, “Alicia, Angel Of Music”.

Working in collage, Daniel Mazzone has assembled a medley of 25 portraits, landscapes, and women for “A Walk Through Life”, on view at 1 Hotel South Beach during Art Basel. This is the artist’s first showing during the fair, one of considerable success as a number of the works sold on opening night.

In “A Walk Through Life”, Mazzone takes us on a journey through his world, a world of color, form, beauty, and joy. With portraits of historical figures including Napoleon Bonaparte and George Washington, as well as American icons Frank Sinatra, Charlie Chaplin, and Babe Ruth, Mazzone gently guides us through his love of history with exquisitely constructed portraits of these figures.

Using letters, newspaper stories, magazines covers, song lyrics, and photographs, Mazzone works freehand to carve shapes that fit together like pieces of a puzzle. Carefully layering the images so that they read together as a cohesive whole, the attention Mazzone brings to his art to compels the viewer to stop, focus, and take in the endless detail of each work.

Daniel Mazzone, "Frank".

Daniel Mazzone, “Frank”.

Mazzone was first exposed to visual art through his mother, who was an art instructor. He became particularly interested in the composition and production of stained glass, while also enjoying a deep and personal love for the art of the comic book. But the joys of childhood were pushed aside when Mazzone became homeless at the age of 15, and was forced to live on the street for years.

When he got back on his feet, he focused on getting a license as a mortgage broker. But when the recession hit in 2008, Mazzone found himself at the crossroads once again, this time returning to the place where it all began. After watching the documentary film, Exit From the Gift Shop, Mazzone decided to begin creating art purely for the pleasure it brought him.

But Mazzone was not the only one who found pleasure in his art; a friend offered to show the work at his restaurant. Mazzone agreed, with the stipulation that the work not be made available for sale. But once again, the work spoke for itself and Mazzone received a call – his first piece had sold for $14,000.

Private art collectors and entrepreneurs such as Canadian billionaire and hedge fund titan Michael Wekerle began acquiring Mazzone’s work, building a demand that continues to flourish and grow.

In addition to conceptualizing and executing his own ideas, Mazzone does commission work for clients. The portraits are deeply felt works, integrating various components from the subjects’ lives into the art. For example, the portrait of Charlie Chaplin includes movie posters, love letters from World War II, and photographs of Chaplin in action. Carving the pieces for the collage into incredibly fluid and organic shapes, Mazzone abstracts the original materials so that they simultaneously embody both the concept and the content of his work.

Daniel Mazzone, "Mercedes".

Daniel Mazzone, “Mercedes”.

The artist’s women are among some of his most popular works, inspiring more than one guest at the party to pose in front of his lovely ladies. Mazzone’s love and respect for women is evident in his work, which celebrates and exalts women as goddesses of the earth.

Mazzone observes, “What I love most about my art and art in general is that there are so many ways to see it, from the very simple to the very complex. When I started working with stained glass as a child with my mother, I enjoyed the process of piecing things together, as if I were creating a unique puzzle that only I could unveil but that the world could dissect in an infinite number of ways. The unfortunate thing is that many of us are too wrapped up in our rushed everyday lives that we don’t stop to take things in; we don’t examine all of the little puzzles and the beauty that makes up our lives.”

 


Miss Rosen is a New York-based writer, curator, and brand strategist. There is nothing she adores so much as photography and books. A small part of her wishes she had a proper library, like in the game of Clue. Then she could blaze and write soliloquies to her in and out of print loves.