Copper in the Arts

June 2020

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.

1-artist-feature.jpgArtist Adam Colangelo with his work.
Photograph courtesy of Adam Colangelo. 

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.”

Butterfly-Effect-32_x40_.jpgThe Butterfly Effect, by Adam Colangelo.
Photograph courtesy of Adam Colangelo. 

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 honor 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 reawaken us.”

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,” Colangelo 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. 

My-Heart-to-Yours-12x36-x-3p.jpgMy Heart to Yours by Adam Colangelo.
Photograph courtesy of Adam Colangelo. 

“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.


Adam Colangelo, St. Catharines, Canada

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