Adam Colangelo: Copper on Fire
By Lisa Scheid
There’s a sense of magic and destiny in the way Adam Colangelo describes how he began
working with copper. He found his first roll of copper in his grandfather’s
garage. It was as if it was waiting to be discovered, Colangelo recalls..
Somehow, he kept going back.
Maybe it was the opportunity to experiment and coax new
colors from metal. For this self-taught artist, learning is what fuels his art.
“I’ve always been a hands-on learner, and working with copper has been no
different,” says Colangelo. ”I’ve adopted an experimental, trial-by-error
approach over the years, and I’m still learning new things about the medium on
a regular basis. Not every experiment I conduct is a success, and this is what
helps me grow.” Colangelo grew up in Toronto, Canada, and currently lives and
works in Niagara’s wine country. With a mostly North American client base, he’s
exhibited internationally as well.
“Copper’s versatility always keeps me on my toes,” Colangelo says. “I often get
asked if I’m a painter, because I’m able to achieve patinas that look like they
came out of a paint tube. I like to think of copper as the underdog in the art
community, because its potential is endless.”
Colangelo said he sees his art as therapy - for the client
or viewer and also for himself. “I’ve been fortunate to create site-specific
installations for hospitals in Canada and the U.S. It’s truly an honour that my
art can provide respite for people in need,” Colangelo says. “Whether art is
abstract or figurative, the beauty is that the user controls the narrative. In
this way, art is something for everyone. It can inspire, comfort, console, or
Colangelo’s discoveries aren’t limited to the medium. He has
also found insight into mental health through his work.
“Working on one of my pieces includes a number of steps,
many of which are repetitive,” Colangel reveils.”When I first started my career
in art, the repetition could be tedious, but over the years I’ve found the
process meditative. A sense of calm emerges through the mindless, repetitive tasks.”
He said he challenges himself to create work that speaks to the viewer.
“This means being open to new ideas and re-inventing
myself,” Colangelo says. “It would be easy to create the same work year after
year, but trying new processes and styles keeps things interesting for me and
my clients.” In 2018, he was selected to take part in a public art project to
bring awareness to brain health. Called The Brain Project, it is an annual
initiative which funds research for dementia and Alzheimer’s at the Baycrest
Foundation, located in Toronto, Canada. “I was lucky to have been selected to
participate in the 2018 show,” Colangelo said. “Each artist is tasked with
interpreting themes like brain resilience and memory onto a blank,
brain-shaped, three-dimensional form using a medium of their choice. The brains
are displayed in public places around Toronto, with the hopes of sparking
conversations about brain health.”
Colangelo’s work will be exhibited in July in the Toronto
Online Art Fair. He shows his work in Florida, Ontario, British
Columbia and New York.