Bridgeport, Connecticut Artist Overcomes Painful Childhood And Makes His Mark With Whimsical Style


No matter how the buyer interprets a purchased piece of art or where they choose to hang it, a sale always cushions the checking account - even if the fruits of your labor places your creativity in the family bathroom above the towel rack. In the case of Bridgeport, Connecticut artist Tony Juliano and a piece he recently sold, that location suits him just fine, but not because he lacks pride or only sees his work in the bottom line colors of Black and Red. "Some couple bought it for the bathroom," he says of, "Attack of the Chili Beans,"

and the pained man portrayed on the toilet. Regardless, the whimsical style of art that he is becoming well known for in southern Connecticut rises above both the bathroom and his bottom line.


Mostly, he says, these satirical parodies on famous art and pop culture move admirers because they relate it in some way. "April 15" went to accountant, "Back Alley Dentist" to an orthodontist and "The Amazing Iron Lung to a respiratory physician. "He has it hanging on his office wall," says Mr. Juliano on the sly, but like many artists a certain amount of pain paved the way for the success he's having now.

He suffered from anxiety and depression growing up and took a fair amount of infantile teasing from his classmates. In doing so, they dubbed him Agoo, he thinks, although is not sure, because the word sounds like a baby noise.

Today, the pain is long gone but he held onto the name and now calls his work Agoo art. He also credits a little childhood cruelty to giving him the humorous outlook on life that inspires his work. Still, the curiosity on the origins of Agoo lingers (even if the animosity doesn't). "I Googled 'Agoo' and besides the stuff that comes up for me," he says, "the rest is like Japanese porn."

Sticking to his hits, something like "The Last Sausage" takes four or five hours to complete, but that only is if he is inspired enough to put acrylic paint to canvas and work start to finish. Otherwise, an idea such as "Yodeling in the Nude" goes on file in his brain until he can figure out what do with it.

Then again, maybe not but Agoo Art first found its place in the form of a conundrum that probably melts near and dear to the hearts of many vegetarians. "Vegans Don't Eat Ice

Cream" depicts a girl pondering a cup of ice cream with a question mark hovering over her. Local Vegan Restaurant, Critic's Cornucopia couldn't resist the temptation and hung it in bitter-sweet empathy to customers with the same punctuation on their minds.

From there, other local establishments became interested in his work and now his work appears in Galleries all over the tri-state area. His academic training came at Paier College of Art, which educated him in various techniques, but as is obvious to him now, "The real learning comes when you start looking for work," he says.

He did the freelancing - painting murals, landscapes and caricatures - without having a clue as how to make a living at this profession. When the "Vegan" exploded into a series, he realized, " Wow, I can be an artist."

Helping matters is the role his father takes in the non-artistic side of this profession. A successful salesman, he says, Dad handles that side and has shown me how to swing a deal.

That leaves him more time to expand upon what he can accomplish as an artist. For instance, a parody of the thinker, with head in hands and whisky bottle nearby, he says, "It's called the drinker."

Either way, admirers find the hidden meaning in his work and he doesn't worry when they find something that he never intended to express. "I'll take credit for it - sure," he says.

So he certainly can be impressed with himself and what he might be putting together. On the other hand, "I could say, this ain't coming out the way I like," he says, and way above the towels, it may find a place to die in his attic.

He lives, no matter, and has learned that art can nourish the soul. But how does he feed the artist when the spirit is left empty. Simple, he says in conclusion, "With a spoon."

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Article Written By richmonetti

I write and quite well

Posted on 04-07-2012 937 0

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