BIO AND ARTISTS STATEMENT
Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania in 1968, Tom Mazzullo earned a BFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia in 1990, and an MFA from Syracuse University in 1993. Specializing in the medium of silverpoint drawing, he has exhibited in competitions, in curated museum shows, and in professional and experimental galleries all over the United States. Recent exhibitions include metalpoint showcases at the Lauren Rogers Museum in Laurel, Mississippi, at Didier-Aaron in New York and at the National Arts Club in New York, where his entry was featured in the Drawing magazine review of the exhibition. His artworks are in many public and private collections, including the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock, the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York, and the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia. He is the co-author with Susan Schwalb of Silverpoint and Metalpoint Drawing: A Complete Guide to the Medium, published in 2019 by Routledge/Focal Press. He has been a visiting artist and lecturer all over the country, and served on the faculty at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York and also at The University of Denver. Tom currently teaches drawing at the Art Students League of Denver in Colorado.
"All of my work is done from observation, and each drawing is a record of the struggle to understand something about the specific object sitting in front of me. I pick subjects based on what they look like, with no concern for what others may want to see, and I spread out the work over a series of dozens of drawings of similar subjects. Silverpoint is the main tool I use while drawing because it demands exact, patient work to produce anything good, and it offers a connection with those artists who first turned to the natural world to inform their work. I have always worked very simply in metalpoint by preparing medium-weight, hot-pressed paper with two thin coats of tinted casein, then working first in a light copper sketch, followed by cross-hatching in silver, starting over if any mistakes are made, and stopping when time runs out."
MORE ABOUT SILVERPOINT
Silverpoint, or more generally metalpoint, is a medieval drawing medium rarely practiced by artists today. Metalpoint drawing can be done with any soft metal – silver, gold, and copper are common, and exotic metals like platinum and bismuth can also be used. Metals are too hard to mark on plain paper, so a prepared surface, such as paper or board coated with a ground made of paint, must be used. The choice of grounds is myriad, and many people use gesso, casein, homemade grounds, and all kinds of commercial products like Golden Silverpoint Drawing Ground and common interior latex paint. The technique allows the artist to design with very fine lines of pale-gray color, but metals tarnish; while initially a silverpoint drawing resembles a graphite drawing, a drawing in silver left open to the air will begin to tarnish and the dull gray lines will take on a warm, sepia hue.
My preferred materials and techniques have not changed much since I learned silverpoint from my drawing professor, Chuck Schmidt, at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia back in the 1980's. I use hot press 140lb. watercolor paper, and a simple stylus made from sterling silver wire held in a mechanical lead holder. For a ground, I use white Plaka thinned with water, and I tint the liquid ground with watercolor.
© 2019 Tom Mazzullo