WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION (PART 1)
BIO & ARTIST'S STATEMENT
To be posted...
by Evan Bennett
Michael Norcia, the Boy from Mercury
Michael Norcia has always seen himself as an artist. Throughout his childhood, he made magazines and comic books for his fictional city on Mercury. He’s made a living doing graphic design, but also likes to spend his time creating art work like cartoons, pottery, paintings, collages, sculptures and whatever seems to pique his interest. He currently resides in Rhinebeck, New York, with his wife Toni and their dog Olive. Norcia was a SUNY New Paltz student between the years of 1960-1963. He studied at The Cooper Union in 1976 through 1980 and served as Art Director at Benton & Bowles for twenty years starting in 1970.
What got you into art?
When I was a little child I drew constantly. I started drawing cars when I was nine or ten years old. I don’t know what started me but I know I was really enjoying it. Then I started to make magazines, comic books, money and other things for my fictional world on Mercury. I had a whole imaginary civilization on it. I would spend most of my time, whether it be in or out of school, making different artifacts for my world. When I was a kid, I always felt like I was from a different planet.
Did you take any art classes in school?
I had a high school art teacher who really supported my creativity. She actually inspired me to become an art teacher originally. I went to New Paltz for a summer session in 1959 when I was a junior. Some of the professors there were really encouraging too and got me more exited to do art. Academically I was not so great, but I could draw. I’m dyslexic but there was no word for it. I was bad at English, math and algebra. Geometry was easy for me though, I had an eye for art I guess.
How did New Paltz affect your art career?
It was good and bad for me. I met a lot of people like me, interested in art, something I didn't experience back home. I was exposed to a lot of different people. After a year or two there, I decided I didn't want to be a teacher. I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. So I dropped out of New Paltz. Then I went to Poughkeepsie and worked for an IBM subcontracting company doing drafting. After that, I decided to go to The Cooper Union. It was free school, and I was lucky enough to be accepted. I went to night school and I worked during the day. My major was graphic design because I had to make a living and I was pretty good at it.
How did you get into advertising?
I got into advertising during school through some teachers. A professor told me there was an opening at an agency called Benton & Bowles at ground level. That’s where I stayed for 20 years and became an art director. I loved doing it because I could dress however I wanted while I drew and had fun. It helped that they payed me too.
How do you do your work?
Something starts me off in one direction. It works for a while then I burn out and go into a differ-ent one. It’s like when someone completes a book. They have to wait for the next piece of inspi-ration to hit them. I’m never bored, but the next thing always seems to bubble up.
What is integral to your work as an artist?
I find things that are beautiful that other people might not find as beautiful. I have a garbage can as a moon up on my wall. Some might not see that as a piece of art, but I do.
Do you ever see a trend and try to put your own spin on it?
I can’t really copy. I see something and try to make it my own. I see what Picasso was doing, deconstructing everything and not having to see everything in such a classical way. It’s exciting, the fact you could do something totally abstract. I love beautifully rendered things, but when you see something and don't know exactly what it is, I like it even better.
What are your other passions besides making art and graphic design?
I like gardening and cars. I have an S2000 in my garage. I enjoy designing all sorts of things but, it all seems to come back to artwork doesn't it?