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Sharing His Love of Art

Born on the Italian Riviera in Imperia, Italy in 1956, local artist and Brunswick Community College painting instructor Joseph Bardani Gargagliano has had a life-long love for all forms of art. As young children, Joseph and his brother Franco lived in an orphanage until 1960 when they were both adopted by loving parents Frank and Caroline in New York City. “I have no idea when the love of art entered my soul, but I know it was at a very early age,” he said. “I believe it was in those very early years that I fell in love with art and art fell in love with me.”

Spending time as a child in NYC in his uncle Tony’s graphic design studio on Madison Avenue, Joseph’s love of art grew exponentially as he was constantly surrounded by art and creating. “I would play with oil pastels and pencils. I was in a wonderland of all the beautiful art and design. My other Uncle, Joe, worked as an art director in the same design studio. He also taught me a few things about the art world, as well as photography and copy,” he said. “I always painted and drew sketches as a young boy but when I entered Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama on an art scholarship, I still knew very little about what art really was. Even though I majored in Art, and I was exposed to it all the time.”

Being constantly surrounded by artists gave Joseph a step ahead in learning his craft. “I was often told by artists that were in their 60’s and 70’s that it took a long time for their art to be “mature” and for them to be content with their work. I never knew what that meant, but I do now,” said Joseph. “It was during this time I realized how powerful art, as well as photography, was and I knew it was in my blood. I studied under Dr. Belle of Huntingdon College and we had many discussions on what “art” was and was not. She once told me that I had to “sing the blues”, and when the time came, I would know. It took 30 years for that to happen.”

With experience using different paint mediums, oil paint is Joseph’s chosen medium. “I feel that oil is so much more workable and offers many more possibilities in color purity,” he said. “Oil paint also gives us knowledge of how the masters mixed their colors and worked the canvas. Sometimes I mix cold wax in my oils. Over the years, I have perfected and learned the Palette Knife technique. My palettes, or knives as I call them, range from 12 inches down to 1/4 inch in diameter. I love the impasto effect,” he said. This is where the paint is laid on the canvas in thick layers and the knife or brush strokes are heavy, such as Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Although Joseph loves to do large scale paintings, he is focusing on a small scale these days. “The work I am doing now is a collection of marshes and local landscapes from this area that I paint in what I call Modern Abstract Impressionism. Very bold colors and heavy impasto style with cold wax and brushwork as well.”

Always striving for originality and pushing the limits, Joseph’s style is unique and easily recognizable. “Most of my paintings come to me in a dream. The only paintings I copy are commission paintings that a client wants me to paint, usually a pastoral scene, or an abstract. The other would be a Plein Aire painting. All other paintings are made from my dreams. Either way, I take full liberty with my own style. “The most challenging aspect of my work is trying to do something “new” each time I paint. Getting new ideas and pushing myself to new limits. It is easy to copy somebody’s ideas and paintings. The trick is to do something so new, so different, that you feel you have accomplished going into areas nobody, at least to your knowledge, has done.”

Joseph has devoted his life to his art and teaching others at Brunswick Community College at the Southport Center. “I make a living painting and selling paintings as well as commission work. I also supplement that income by teaching at the college and private lessons as well as workshops. My legacy will be my art and I hope it gives pleasure to those who see it for as long as it will be seen.”

You can see more of his work displayed at Brunswick Community College, local restaurants and bars, such as Dry Street Restaurant, and Doc Meridian Winery, as well as Interior Design Centers. Check out Joseph’s website, for further information and to contact him.

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