Local creator: Charles Fazzino’s pop art pops off canvas


Charles Fazzino work that was raffled in a benefit.

As a child growing up in Pelham, Charles Fazzino loved pop-up books. That love drove this gifted artist to work in a style he calls 3-D pop art.

“I really always wanted to create my own,” said Fazzino. “The reason I call my artwork 3-D pop art is because my artwork—if people have never seen it before—it literally comes off the page like a pop-out book.”

Born in Pelham, Fazzino went to Pelham Memorial High School from 1970 to 1973.

“I knew I wasn’t great at school,” he said. “I was a bad student. I was always just sailing by. But I knew I was good at two things. I knew I was good in history and geography, and I was good at art. So I sort of decided to be an artist because my parents were artists too.”

Back then, there weren’t a lot of art classes he could take, but he took all of the ones the school had, including general art classes that at that time took in drawing, painting, sculpture, crafts and printmaking. He also enrolled in a commercial art course in 1972-1973 at BOCES.

“I wanted to get a degree,” he said. “I didn’t just want to go to art school. So I went to the New York School of Visual Arts and got a BFA from there.”

Fazzino said he believes that the struggles he faced are the same struggles that artists face now. “I graduated from school, and I thought I would find all these jobs just waiting for me in illustration and graphic art, and of course, there were no jobs, I couldn’t find any, so what I had to do was get creative.”

He decided to follow his mom’s approach. She brought her work to outdoor arts and crafts shows. Many of the shows in the 1970s were held in malls because malls were just opening.

“Showing art was getting very big,” said Fazzino “There was one in Greenwich Village in NYC called the Washington Square outdoor art show… I decided to participate in that, and that really opened my eyes to sales, what people like, and it really gave me an insight into what I wanted to do and how I wanted to get there.”

For Fazzino, art is one main component in his life. “Art has completely changed my life, he said. “It allowed me to travel. As I said, I loved geography and I loved history. My artwork has gotten so popular that it is available and shown in 30 different counties, so it allows me now to visit those countries and have exhibits there.”

Advice he gave to his daughter and advice that he would give to all up-and-coming artists is to learn the business part of it: “I told my daughter if you want to do art because you want to fill that creative side of you, do that. But if you want to run it and sell it and make it as a business that you are going to make money on, then I told her it was important to go get a business degree.”

See more of Fazzino’s work on his website.