Before Michael Cuomo began his artist career he might have sat and stared at something that caught his eye, not quite knowing why he was attracted to it, or even recognizing that it was in fact inspiring him. He began realizing his creative talents in 2002 when the world and his purpose within it became clearer. It was then that he experienced a spiritual awakening of sorts, and suddenly was able to channel his creative energies toward something productive.
Now Michael is a painter, illustrator, and assembler of collages, utilizing the many found and gifted materials that he now has stacked around his studio at YOHO. He is constantly visually stimulating himself and finding inspiration in used and worn objects, often creating collages that have underlying social and cultural contexts. Michael also builds compelling – and sometimes haunting – masks out of these collected objects. These are the collections that, he says, “poured out of me.” To create his paintings on the other hand, initially he will first sketch something that interests him – perhaps a set of buildings or a bar scene – and then will take the black and white drawing back to his studio to create a new portrayal of that moment. He is a gravitating toward producing more graphic illustrations when previously scenes consisted of active and modern collage-like cityscapes, not-quite-human subjects, and other highly detailed designs.
Michael was recently awarded the Bronx Recognizes its Own (BRIO) grant, based solely on artistic excellence, and will be featured in a related exhibition at the Longwood Art Gallery. Every day, and especially with the help of his new studio space, Michael’s work evolves into something new and different. He is producing more, getting fresh ideas, and meeting new contacts. It will be interesting to see where his art takes him next.