John Salozzo


Excerpt for Alive Magazine Article

The first time artist John Salozzo saw a Richard Estes poster, he realized the type of art he wanted to do was photorealism. That interest served him well in his career as a successful commercial illustrator in Boston, Mass. for 20 years. During that period, his work was published in many national magazines and publications. Salozzo also illustrated the rock band Boston’s “Third Stage” album cover, which Rolling Stone ranked in the top 10 album covers of the year. 

Salozzo’s early painting influences came from the old masters and some not so old; Caravaggio, Van Dyck, Wyeth, Sargent, Vermeer and Vittriano. Even in his earliest days as an artist he was captivated by a realist style. Photographers such as Ansel Adams, Karsh, Lange and Uelsmann have also had their influence. But it was an early 1980s photorealism book that got him hooked. “ I hadn’t realized that this genre of art was legitimate and others were so terrific at it,” Salozzo says.

Salozzo tends to work on a thematic series of paintings, such as the music series he’s working on, as well as a larger series featuring St. Louis icons—largely buildings such as the Tivoli or the Moonrise Hotel. His interest in music partly stems from his work as a commercial artist that was music-based, most of which were ads that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine. “I believe you should, like in writing, paint what you know and what you have experienced,” Salozzo says.

" I like my work to project a quiet elegance, even when I use bright colors. My paintings are sometimes mistaken as photographs. I do use photos as a reference but in most cases, the painting is an amalgamation of several photos and things I make up. People sometimes ask if I paint over a photograph. Never. I use both a paint brush and airbrush to help me achieve the look I am going for in the final piece."

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