Art equals Balance, Texture, Depth, and Stories says artist Frank Creaturo, Jr.
by Barbara Lieberman
The art chosen to represent the introduction of TribeLA Magazine is entitled “Journey” by Frank Creaturo, Jr. because that is exactly what we’re on; a journey to find and tell the stories behind the art of Los Angeles and the emerging artists behind that art. A journey to bring our varied cultures together as one vibrant, thriving community. And, a journey to inspire people from all over to make their dreams come true.
It is often difficult to convey the depth, texture, and movement of a painting via photographs on the internet or even in a magazine. The qualities that initially drew us into the painting get lost. However, that is not the case with the artwork of Frank Creaturo, Jr, whose creations appear as rich and fluid online as they do in real life. As TribeLA begins our journey, we wanted to get to know the man behind the art called Journey.
Creaturo’s New York roots are evident the moment he answers the phone with that well-known accent and cadence that would peg him as a New Yorker immediately. His charm and enthusiasm are immediately obvious as well as open and on display, as his artwork. Barbara Lieberman interviewed Frankie about is work and journey to commemorate the launch of TribeLA Magazine.
How do your New York roots meet your current Florida home, as far as your art is concerned?
I still have my NY roots, but I’ve added more color since being in Florida. Homes that I’m asked to decorate, because they are getting rid of the dark wood and dark colors and adding more brightness and contrast and color, to reflect their Florida surroundings. I’ve definitely added more color and contrast.
You won Reform School Art Fest, raising funds to improve education by providing much-needed supplies. What did that mean to you?
It was all about reforming education and improving the schools, so children can learn what they should have been learning all along. It was really important. I won first place, from thousands of entries, and even got to spend the day with Rosie Perez, which was pretty cool.
So many of us have been told to be practical in making life choices; to be doctors, lawyers, or teachers, rather than pursuing the arts. What would you say to young people who have a passion for the arts?
Follow your dreams. When I was a kid in Brooklyn, my father said, “What are you going to be? An artist?” He really didn’t support my dreams to be an artist, but my mother did. She believed in me. So, I went to art school and had to take two trains there and two trains home again. Our assignment was to draw people on the train. You couldn’t do that today; people would get upset and say,’ why are you staring at me?’ And now, I get to inspire young people. I teach classes at the gallery. I had someone say their granddaughter was coming down for the summer, from up north. Asked if I would teach her how to paint. She did really well. She finished three paintings in two weeks, not big ones but they were all Florida palm trees and Florida colors. I love to teach classes to kids.
TribeLA Magazine is all about telling the story behind the art. So, we’re wondering, when you paint, is there a story behind each piece you create or are your creations more like chapters in one long story?
The people I paint are all stories. People from the 50’s and 40’s. It was a time when we cared more. When we knew our neighbors. When we played outside, stickball and drew with chalk and hopscotch. We had no money. It was a simpler time. We didn’t text and tune everyone else out. My abstract paintings are all about balance, texture, and depth.
Journey, the piece we are using for our cover for this issue, tell us about that.
That painting is all about movement, fun, bright. A new era, new action.
You recently had an art gallery showing in Sarasota, can you tell me about that?
It was on Anna Marie Island, off Manatee County. It’s on the beach. A beautiful large gallery space. I showed 80 pieces. You know, my gallery in Sarasota is small, the paintings are really close together. At this gallery, they were spaced further apart, so there was a better presentation, a better view. They were more outstanding. Kicked out more. Better lighting. It was a really wonderful presentation. I also did the Jewish Food Fest in Venice. I donated The Knish Man for them to raffle off. They had all kinds of Jewish food.
That must have been a taste of home for you…
Oh yeah, it was. I also had my NY scenes on easels. It was a great experience.
When you do interviews like this, what do you wish we would ask you about?
Exactly what you’re asking me. About the paintings and the stories. About what I said about balance and texture and depth.
What are you currently reading?
I read about art and culture, art magazines, I joined about 36 art groups on Facebook and then I started my own called Art Effects and now has over 21,000 friends there to share their artwork and critique. I’ve even been invited to international shows, but that involves a lot of packing the art and then packing and shipping it home if it doesn’t sell. But, it’s been a great experience having the group and meeting people all over the world. And, I do ‘gift of the day’ on my own page because it’s too much to try and upload it to all the groups.
Comedy, things that make a statement. I love musicals and dancing. I was dancing when I was 12, doing the Mambo and the Meringue. I love dancing.
Jazz. I love jazz. I used to drink with NY jazz musicians and go to jazz clubs.
Frankie Creaturo’s Los Angeles art exhibit will be announced soon. Join his Art Effects group on Facebook. To view more of Frankie’s work or to contact him, go to http://creaturogallery.com.
Barbara Lieberman is a writer and author of five fiction books including the McEwen historical fiction series. She is currently writing her first non-fiction book and will appear in two anthologies that was recently released. Barbara is a New Jersey native transplanted to TribeLA three years ago.