Today we’d like to introduce you to Cosimo Cavallaro.
Cosimo, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
Food—and suffocation—have shaped my life. Born prematurely, tangled in my umbilical chord, claustrophobic nightmares haunted me for years, while my mother tried to compensate for my deficiencies by overfeeding me. I find this entanglement and abundance in all of my work—I seem to reenact over and over my troubled birth and the subsequent reaction of my waking life. Dreams and reality blend for me daily, bringing me back and back again to my beginning, where my perception of reality is nothing but newborn sight and smell.
One solidifying incident I remember vividly as a 4-year-old was when I looked down to the sidewalk and perceived a black plastic horse with a cowboy on top. I reached down to pick it up, and the horse squished between my fingers. Surprised, I brought my fingers to my nose, wondering what I had just touched—and slowly realized…it was dog shit! Looking back down to the ground, I could no longer see the cowboy on the horse. Out of necessity, really, this experience strengthened my sense of smell as an aid to my perception of reality. If I can’t smell it—well, then I might be dreaming of a toy when I’m actually handling poop.
When I was in art school, I was able to draw and paint my reality, but it always seemed to be missing that experience of smell I had come to rely on—no matter how real my depictions looked. In my adulthood, my anger with reality put me on a path with perishables: I melted cheese and splattered it all over my furniture. But there, at last, I felt a deep connection to my existence—present in my body and mind…because I could smell and taste what I was doing. This became the core of all of my work; when art became my reality, it threw me fully into my life.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I sculpt in real time. I work mostly with perishables because they don’t imitate life: they are life. They have an inherent expiration date. Everything and everyone around me since I was a child has also transformed, or died. My work is my understanding and reminder of the true nature of objects in space. Food brings with it an awareness of present time—what is, and what is not, in this very moment.
Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
An artist doesn’t need encouragement—like all things in nature, he or she simply is. And life couldn’t be better for an artist today: technology has put the world at all of our fingertips, and I don’t think there has been a better time to openly express your mind. Cities can help artists thrive by helping nature thrive: stop polluting the air and water. The rest—the art—will take care of itself.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My art has been all over the world, but most of it appears in recorded memory at cosimocavallaro.com. You can witness my latest project in development—and become a part of it by donating—at cheesewall.com.
- Address: 900 S. Figueroa St., Apt. 1503
LA, CA 90015
- Website: www.cosimocavallaro.com
- Phone: (310) 499-8696
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @cosimocavallaroart
- Other: www.cheesewall.com