Last fall, Miami artist JeanPaul Mallozzi participated in Illustrated: From Sketch to Finish, an exhibition that gave visitors a look at the artistic process of several artists who have studios in Bakehouse Art Complex. Coming up with ideas for works for the new show proved frustrating for Mallozzi.
“I ended up going through a massive mood swing one afternoon in my apartment,” he recalls. “After it was done, I quietly giggled and thought, ‘This would be kind of fun to re-create somehow.’”
Afterward, he created “Mad,” “Sad” and “Glad.” The mixed-media-on-printmaking-paper works depict a boy on a swing, each time in a different posture to reflect the portrayed emotion. “I thought it would be a cheeky way to play off the word mood swing,” Mallozzi says of the first three works in his series, Moodswings. The trio is now hanging atWashington, D.C.-based gallery Art Whino.
While Mallozzi doesn't consider the works an outright departure from his previous ones, he admits they're “definitely another way of thinking.”
“I'm a fan of painting, and I was doing some dark, narrative type of works,” he says. “I enjoyed making up those kind of stories and painting them out.”
Moodswings, however, combines media and styles he's worked with before, but rarely together. “I wanted to make something that showcased my love for rendering, but also my admiration for the loose and free way of working intuitively,” he says.
The precisely drawn bodies represent control, while the heads — smudges of paint with facial features scribbled upon them in a childlike manner — symbolize freedom from precision. In “Glad,” the boy has a sunshiny yellow head. In “Mad,” it's red. In “Sad,” it is, unsurprisingly, blue.
The most-significant indicator of the emotion for which each work is titled, however, is the figure's body language. The boy in “Glad,” for example, swings with feet and hands stretched outward in a “look, Ma — no hands” gesture. The “Blue” boy leans to one side with an arm folded across his chest and legs hanging down and off to the side.
Mallozzi's most-recent additions to Moodswings include “Aloof,” which shows a skinny kid in high-tops flying a remote control plane. The backpack slung over his shoulder hangs open and is full of hearts, one of which appears to be falling from the bag. Behind the boy is a trail of red blobs, presumably broken hearts, but he appears to be too busy playing with his toys to notice them.
“It's a very open-ended series that has a lot of room for growth,” Mallozzi says of Moodswings. “I like to challenge myself with each new piece, taking on more-complex emotions and trying to convey them successfully. I'm working on new ones now involving girls, since I've already been asked a few times if there will be girls featured in this series.”
He's not quite ready to talk about the girls, though. “I'd rather not say too much yet,” he says. “But I have spoken with a few close female confidants about the ideas and they gave me a thumbs-up.”