Filippo Ioco – Artist Interview

What made you decide to produce art or become an artist?

At a very young age, from Europe my parents and I immigrated to the United States. As a young student that did not speak or understand English, I quickly took to illustration as a way to communicate with my English surroundings, and as I got older I also took a liking to graphic and fashion design. In my later teens I decided to leave art behind and pursue other creative fields, such as singing and acting, but after a while it just felt right to return back to art. During this time I focused all of my attention on painting.

At the age of 21, I moved to NYC to attend the School of Visual Arts (SVA) for advertising and quickly became discouraged with advertising. At the age of 23, after landing an impressive job for my age as a Visual Fashion Director, I left SVA. Then once again at the age of 27, I decided to leave everything behind to fully focus on my own career as a Fine Artist, Decorative Artist and Bodypainter.

Coastal Breeze, 96″ x 64″

How does the creative process work for you on a daily basis?

My bodypainting is pretty cut and dry, coming up with a concept and or location, finding the right models, dealing with logistics, building and creating props, bodypainting and shoot.

On the other hand my fine art starts with a color scheme and canvas size , I usually stretch my own canvas and prefer working in the open air with music playing. I would say that 95% of my finished paintings are all accidents. At times I have a vision of what I think I want, and when I start painting, it`s as if I step into another realm. As I approach the finish line, I start to come back. The coming back is sometimes mind wrecking, as I feel it`s not quite there and find myself in a frenzy reworking the piece by spraying or washing down, till the magic moment appears and I see the finished painting. There have been many times where I have broke down in tears in awe of how little me could possibly create something so beautiful and so much bigger than me. When I am working on custom artwork for clients and their specific needs, I am always present when painting.

What has influenced or inspired you most?

In the search of achieving my own style of painting, I never wanted to be influenced by anyone out of fear of becoming a replica of that artist so I always shied away from art history, art museums and knowing or following artists and their works. I wanted my style of painting to come out naturally without interference or influence.

My inspiration has always come from music, nature and the color that surround us all. I guess If I had to name an artist, it would be Michelangelo for his beautiful life-like sculptures and paintings.

In a strange twist of things, my adamant way of thinking did not necessarily work out as planed.
In my pursuit of my style, I developed a way of painting that I fell in love with. This style of painting was to become my own and everything that I believed in as an artist and painter. One day as I was strolling through the MOMA in New York City I walked into a room and fell into a panic as all around me were paintings hung in my exact style. I was both crushed and overwhelmed. The artist was Mark Rothko. I quickly went to the library checked out the only book on him and read it completely. As I was reading everything he stood for as an artist was exactly what I stood for and for a moment I thought I was him reincarnated, but this could not be because he had died in 1984. I have been compared to him many times, and even met the families of the two attorneys that represented the Rothko family after Mark’s death, making the case and the verdict one of the most important in the history of art. As an artist that has art scattered all over the world, I feel more at ease knowing that my family will not have to follow in the same foot steps.


Which medium do you favor and why?

I normally work in Acrylics. I also love working with Raw Pigments because I can be my own little scientist, and create my very own tints and shades, while also having control of brilliance, translucency, opaqueness, flow, thickness and dry time.

Please comment on the subject, content or significance of your images.

In my Fine Art, my subject matter is Color and the “Movement of Color”. I do not want my viewer
to be blocked by subject matters. “Color is such a basic and constant element in our world that we sometimes forget its depth, as if we lived in black and white. Stop for a moment and look around you. Look at the myriad of colors that surround you. Rarely does one stop to examine one particular color or colors in all their infinite qualities, and experience color as an entity. If you gave your imagination complete freedom to explore color, you could lose yourself in all of its possibilities.”

In my Bodypainting, I thrive with the play on the imagination. I have placed the painted human body into every imaginable environment from natural to artificial. I hope that viewers are able to walk away with a different view of the world around them. That the nude human body is beautiful with it’s many shapes, lines and diversities. That through the minds eye, all is possible and don’t be afraid of the power of the imagination – but embrace it, as it is a gift we all possess.

Moroccan Powder Room, 60″ x 48″

What have been the highlights of your career?

As a whole, it has simply been to be creative.

As a bodypainter, the highlights have been absolutely wonderful and never before imagined. I have had the opportunity to work world wide, showcased and interviewed in many publications and television shows internationally, the opportunity to meet many wonderful people across the world, and most importantly to be considered one of the leaders of my craft.

In addition, as an artist I feel it`s my duty and obligation to do my part for the less fortunate. I have donated my works, bodypainting services and have organized my own charity events for grass roots and hands on organizations that deal with Breast Cancer, Children and Teens with HIV / Aids, Abused Women & Children, Children with Facial Deformities and Wounded Troops and their Families. This has truly been rewarding.

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