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Haven’t Seen a Fazzino? You Should - Makes People Happy

The Debbie Nigro Show

Release Date: 04/12/2024

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I’ve been focusing on people who make the world a more beautiful place this week. People who through their work, their ethics, their integrity, their talent, their genius just makes it happier for the rest of us.

 

Charles Fazzino has been called one of the most famous pop artists in the world.

 

I've been a huge fan of his style of pop art since the minute I first saw it in a window decades ago in New York City. I would stand there and stare in the window amazed at every little intricate pop-up thing he thought of to make a piece come to life. Often because I was in NYC it would be NYC buildings and street scenes. But Charles does that for many cities around the world.

 

Charles likes to be called a pop culture historian. And I know he's got a bit of a sense of humor because of the way he does the layering of the pieces in his 3D art where he shows the best of pop culture and the best of people's lives in places and events around the world. And I do mean around the world. He’s become internationally renowned.

 

He gets commissioned to do pieces for the Grammys and The Olympics and The Super Bowl every year. When I saw his Super Bowl piece this year I was sparked to take a shot at seeing if he was around to join me on my show. We live in the same city but have never met.

 

I figured he’d say yes because I know he has a warm heart. He donates a lot of his pieces of art to help good causes raise money, one of which I personally helped auction off years ago at a charity function.

 

For those who still have never seen an unmistakable Fazzino work of art, I asked Charles to explain it to somebody in words?


“Yes, easy. I always tell people, if you're not looking at my artwork, or you're just seeing it online, or looking at it in a book or a magazine or whatever, it's hard to see the three dimensions. So, I describe it that it's kind of like a pop-out book, even a pop-out children's book, even though they're not, you know, children's artwork."

 

"When I was a kid, my mother was from Finland and she always collected these European pop-out books, and she had them all around the house.  My brother's sister and I were always enthralled with these cool pop-out books from Europe that were handmade, and she had hundreds of them.  So, when I went to school, I kind of, you know, I wanted to make a pop-out book and that's kind of like how it all started.”

 

Most of the time Charles is sitting at his desk and drawing artwork that touches many people young and old. The intricacy, the colors and the designs make people happy.

 

I asked him one of my signature questions.

How does your head work inside?

 

Meaning what is going on in his head all day long to be able to produce these kinds of unique pieces of work?

 

“Well, I think it's a lot of my if I was just an artist sitting in my studio drawing, I don't know if I'd have so many ideas as I do. And I can't even implement the idea. I get it, you know, it's just very, there's so many things I want to draw and so many things that I want to show through my artwork, but not enough time and not enough hours in the day to do it. So I think the travel, when I travel to certain places, it really gives me and opens up my eyes to a lot of the world. I always come back with new ideas. I always carry a little sketchbook. I have my phone at the ready whenever I'm traveling, taking pictures, and it helps and reminds me of what I saw and always gives me these new ideas. People always ask me, where do you come up with all these ideas? I say, well, a lot of it has to do with places that I go.”

 

One of his latest pieces pays homage to our oceans to bring awareness. It’s a departure for Charles artistically, because instead of drawing buildings he’s drawing sea life, and coral, and all the things that are under the sea.

“When you look at the piece, he says, “three quarters of it is ocean, but above the ocean, you'll look, and you can see cities from around the world and all of those cities that are impactful in our environment."



What about those helmets he does for the NFL?


“So many years ago, it was in 2001, when the NFL licensing committee asked if I was interested in commemorating Super Bowl because they saw what I was doing for Major League Baseball. And I was like, sure. They said, we'd like you to be our official artist. And I was like, sign me up. Sounds good to me. And I've been doing that now for 23 years.”


"They just continue to, you know, let me know where the venue is going to be and, you know, what I should draw and then, you know, how it should be depicted and so forth. And then I make their official poster every year. So many years ago, when I first started that, they sent me helmets in the mail and they said, see what you can do with these helmets and used equipment. And I received this huge, huge box. And it took me a few years to figure out how to make the three-dimensional drawings tick off and stick onto the helmets and make them look beautiful."


"So, I've been doing those for many years and we sell them and show them every year at whatever Super Bowl, wherever the city is that the Super Bowl is being hosted in. And we set up a whole collection of my helmets and so forth. And we do the same thing for Major League Baseball. I paint on baseballs and bats and batting helmets."


I love to be challenged and paint people's wishes.

 

Enjoy meeting Charles Fazzino in this podcast of our live conversation on The Debbie Nigro Show.