A lifelong artist, Brooklyn native Joseph Milazzo has spent his years searching for new means of expression in a variety of mediums including music, writing, illustration, and graphic design. The last few years have seen his focus turn to the canvas where he has at last come into his own as a painter of distinction. His approach balances realism against a more personal, illustrative style. Milazzo's use of earth tones and muted colors imbue his portraits and scenes of everyday life with a sense of stoic sentimentality.
Although a prolific fine artist throughout his teens, by his early twenties Milazzo became fully immersed in developing his skills as a digital graphic designer. This period found him producing countless logos, posters and branding campaigns for rock bands, politicians and everything in between. After ten years working almost exclusively in digital media, Milazzo's need for a more tactile form of expression compelled him to produced his first painting in more than a decade. That piece (Bartholomew At Work), though crude, proved to Milazzo that the ideas and methods he had been quietly developing had merit and could be honed to create a distinctive style.
Following this wave of inspiration, Milazzo produced his first thematic series of paintings, and in December of 2010 his "Bar" art show was exhibited. Featuring local New York bartenders, drinkers and the watering holes where they congregate, the show was a success in the South Brooklyn arts scene and generated enough buzz to warrant another series.
2011 saw him settling in for a 6 month stint in New Orleans for the well received “Crescent City Diary” series. These paintings served as a visual record of his experiences in Nola and was exhibited in both New Orleans and in Brooklyn as part of the Art of Brooklyn Festival at Saint Francis College.
For his next project Milazzo sought to bring his organizational strengths into play by setting up his first group art show. Unveiled in December of 2012 and featuring 16 artists, the event was a resounding success and would set the course for his creative endeavors for the next 3 years. In that time he organized 6 shows, each exploring themes within folklore, symbolism and pop culture. Through his promotional efforts, and in collaboration with dozens of artists these shows were able to attract hundreds of guests, cementing Milazzo's name as a vital figure in the Brooklyn arts community.
Milazzo's most recent project is also his most ambitious. In 2013 he embarked on a 6 week exploration of the island of Cuba, the birth place of his mother and the setting of many tales he heard growing up as a child. During his stay he traveled to every major city in the island, soaking in the rich culture of the Cuban people along each stop, before finally reaching the province of Villa Clara and his grandfathers town of Esperanza. His grandfather, Enrique Dominguez, was a talented painter in his own right, but he died tragically in his twenties. Whatever works he created were left behind when his family immigrated to the United States while fleeing Castro's communist takeover. The paintings have never been seen again and no photos exist. In an effort to recover this lost part of his family heritage, He spent days randomly knocking on doors, speaking to as many locals as he could and trying to track down any lead that might offer the smallest glimpse of hope. Those hopes never materialized.
Milazzo returned home empty handed but the experience was too profound to be seen as a failure. The warmth and generosity of the Cuban people was a revelation that ultimately turned into inspiration. After a return trip in 2015, Milazzo has since been devoting his efforts to working on a large scale portrait series based on the people he met during his travels.
The Cuba series of portraits is now in progress and is slated for a 2017 gallery exhibition.