An artist’s life is often an exercise in hope, an intrinsic belief that the beauty captured on some medium might resonate into the hearts of others who can connect with the maker’s creation. Artist Federico Carosio III has gracefully achieved this milestone in part because of his South Miami landscape paintings that helped elevate him to his venerated status today as an internationally renowned master artist.
As a 2 year old child growing up in Barranquilla, Colombia, Carosio was mesmerized with an informal pastime his father enjoyed, creating clay sculptures. He also had formally trained and recognized artist relatives in Genoa, Italy from his family’s Italian lineage, but it was his dad’s humble works that truly inspired him initially.
It is a long, fascinating and circuitous route that eventually brought Carosio to South Miami where his work blossomed and grew. His children, Federico and Bianca, whom he recognizes as his “best work of art,” appeared to have paved the way. Back then, in the early 90s, his son attended South Miami Middle School and became a part of the wrestling team.
Explains Carosio, “I had been a professional artist since 1974 living and working in New Jersey, New York City, Saint Louis and Canada, but after we moved to Miami my kids attended South Miami Middle School. My son joined the wrestling team at the school. And of course you get involved in the curriculum of your kids and at the time the wrestling team needed money for travel to compete and so I would go to local businesses and promise them a poster of my work for every $50 they donated to the wrestling team.”
“It was only after my kids were born that I began to do reproductions in posters to help make a good living to support them. When I moved here I was already doing landscapes but South Miami was great fodder for my work.” Carosio, whose work is a cross between impressionism and realism with a bit of pop art thrown in, was dazzled by the tropical beauty enveloping the city and sought to record it from his unique perspective.
“Most people cruise along Sunset Drive amidst the beautiful scenery and don’t even notice. We walk straight through life and often miss the images of the world around us like how natural light reflects on lush vegetation, how shadows change and highlight the mood of a Royal Poinciana in bloom. I try to capture this in my work.”
His mission to draw out the natural environmental beauty around us appears to be working since Carosio has designed the official poster(s) for the South Miami Rotary Club Art Show, the Chamber South Miami Art Show, the Coconut Grove Art Show, Key Biscayne, and Pinecrest.
His booths at the South Miami art shows and Coconut Grove shows are located in the center of the action; prime booth location. “The shows are hard work but it is such an amazing way to connect with the public and develop relationships with art enthusiasts that value your work. Obviously the crowd attending appreciates art and I have been blessed to make many enduring friends and clients through the shows.”
Carosio is too humble to name names but he does unwittingly drop a hint or two about the A-list supporters of his work who connect with his vision and promote it in their own circles, often gifting his work for holidays or special occasions.
The Kampong in Coconut Grove houses his classic enormous originals and they actually call him when certain exotic plants are blooming in hopes he might drop by to paint them. The Biltmore Hotel has reproductions of his work in their suites and his famous Main Highway landscape is often mistaken as the official Coconut Grove poster of 1985. The truth is he and his team situated themselves that year just outside the arts festival grounds and sold the posters from their cars so as to not get in trouble with the organizers.
Unswayed by the vicissitudes of the artist life, the majestic trees like the Banyans and Live Oaks that come alive in his work led Carosio to urban reforestation efforts sponsored by corporations. He has been invited to exhibit at the state capitol and throughout the United States. He has thrice been nominated to the Florida Artists Hall of Fame yet not yet inducted.
Carosio is no brooding artist but rather maintains a childlike sense of wonder and contagious joy about the beauty in the world around him and jokes that once he is long gone or in his 80’s and oblivious he may actually get inducted into the Artist’s Hall of Fame. He feels true achievement in the fact that his work has become a visual symbol promoting South Florida to the world.
Carosio describes his creative essence as painting layers and layers upon layers of intricate details in his pieces. He appears to have three categories of work these days: the classic landscapes of South Florida that have made him so famous, a Jackson Pollockish abstract impressionism, and his pop art work begun in the early 70’s in New York whereby he paints aluminum soda cans bent into a shape resembling a face.
“I met Andy Warhol in the 70’s in New York. I still use pop art in my landscapes when I paint a fire hydrant or yellow dotted street lines included in a natural setting.”
Federico Carosio III permanent art exhibits can be viewed at the First National Bank of South Miami, Kampong, and The Biltmore. His next exhibit will be at the Vizcaya in early October.
For more information visitcarosioarts.com or call 305-385-7866.