Artist Mark Ciocca’s colorful & historic murals in Taylor, Moscow and the Anthracite Museum at McDade Park have really brightened up our local landscape. He works in many difference mediums such as linocut printmaking, pen & ink, and painting. Stop by and check out his work in person at Arts on the Square!
Tell us a little about your background.
Like everyone else my art started at a very early age. I remember drawing countless stick figures and x-ray vision of buildings and geographical images. In high school I lettered in track and was a member of the art club but definitely knew my art was stronger than my running for the next level of participation which was college. From there it has been a great enjoyment and passionate affair to keep reaching forward making public and personal art.
We see you work in quite a variety of mediums. Can you share some of your favorites and something about them?
I like working with line, either in pen and ink or linocut printmaking. These “scratches” that are made can turn into many shapes and forms and are really just an extension of the lines I made as a child. My series of pen and ink architectural drawings of the buildings in the greater downtown Scranton area first started as appreciation, then gifts and then sales. I presently have about thirty of these drawings and many more as commissions for businesses and private individuals.
Linocut printmaking is my other favorite form and is a very traditional process using hand carved plates and roll-top printing presses. This style of art goes back hundreds of years as the first mass-produced forms of communications (Guttenberg). I like the carving of the blocks and the smell of the ink and the power of pressure in making a print a success. Think of this as a rubber stamp and image but a whole lot more involved.
It’s clear you have a lot of local pride especially in seeing the murals you have created. Do you have a favorite?
I truly believe in a sense of pride and heritage being an area artist. My grandfather was an Italian immigrant who worked the mines and my mother a German immigrant who started a new life and family in the United States. This reflection is portrayed in many of my personal works but a little bit more in the Taylor mural on Main and Union and the mural at the Anthracite Heritage Museum at McDade Park. This museum, by the way, is a gem for our area. You should see this museum, soon! These works reflect the time and place of our personal and shared histories. My mural on the Moscow Train Station building also incorporates historical imagery along with personal “cookies”.
I’m looking forward to Arts on the Square this year. Last year, I worked the event through the Lackawanna County Arts Program and thought it was great. What an opportunity for our local artists, crafts people and vendors to showcase their creative endeavors. I will have my pen and ink illustrations and original prints. For those that like variety, I will also have linocut prints with a political and social edge to them. What can I say, I’m working through some social angst!
Where else can our readers find your work?
If anyone would like to see a more complete body of work see www.markciocca.com. I’m also on Etsy under “Print Effects”. And, currently there is a national printmaking exhibition at Afa Gallery, Lackawanna Ave., Scranton. I brought this group to our area from Philadelphia and what an outstanding show. It’s up for the month of July , check it out.
Find out more about Mark Ciocca: