For over a century, our region has been home to extraordinary artists. Local Arts Index highlights the work of individuals who continue our community’s rich creative legacy.
Meet studio artist Joseph Capasso.
How Did You Become An Artist?
I have always loved people who create. The artist’s temperament comes about from being an artist, you don’t have that temperament and become an artist. It is that temperament, that jealousy that you have within yourself, that makes it hard on you to be who you are. And the better you become, the harder it is.
If you ask anyone, any creator, what’s the best thing that you ever did, you’re always going to get the same answer, ‘I haven’t created that yet.’ It’s a constant looking. It’s that thing that you have from an early childhood that makes you want to create.
What Kind Of Art Do You Make?
I’m called a studio artist. I belong to a group called the Studio Society, which is supposed to be America’s top four percent of furniture makers. We don’t make factory pieces; they’re made in the studio. When I’m making four chairs they’re are all going to be a little different, and really I’m not trying to make them different, I’m trying to make them as equal as I can, but if they don’t come out that’s cool because they have their own fingerprint.
We’re constantly thinking— I look at a piece of wood and I think ‘what could that become’ and it sits there for two years. I’m not going to just cut it up and say ‘I’m going to make that.’
Everything is made in a studio. I don’t say to people I’m going to my shop, I’m going to my studio, it’s not a factory, it’s not a cabinet making shop, I’m not a carpenter. The only similarity between me and a carpenter is that we both wear shoes. Everything is a thought process. A lot of people make drawings of what they’re going to do, I don’t do that. I immediately start cutting wood. I can make light shine through wood. I can carve a rose and make it weep.
What’s Your Muse?
It’s just creation and nature really. I’m amazed at nature. In nature, nothing’s a mistake. We make mistakes. People make mistakes. I make mistakes, but nature never makes mistakes. I’ve never seen a mistake in nature, every little thing has a purpose.
I work with nature and I respect nature and I see the beauty. Now people might be nice, and they might not be nice, they might be beautiful, and then they’re not beautiful, nature is always beautiful, it’s a constant. You’re looking for something that’s constant, not something that’s going to change on you, nature changes and then it comes back and it’s still nice. And then you cultivate it and the better it comes out.
I am giving woodworking classes. My forty years of “searching” are very present in my teachings.
Classes start out with a five class introduction to woodworking. After that classes are built around each individual student. Presently I have a seminar with women (over 18 years old only). My belief is that women may feel intimidated by the presence of male students. After the basic seminar, believe me, NO ONE should feel any less a woodworker with the skills that they will have achieved.
My approach is the “studio style ” of woodworking, as well as the traditional classic form of woodworking. Sessions are held at my studio at 27 North Franklin Street on Saturday morning at 10:30a. I supply the tools for the seminars, but I encourage students with staying power to acquire their own tools, and I guide them in the acquisition process. After the basics, students can learn all aspects of woodworking, from wood identification, tool sharpening, steam bending, bent wood lamination, wood carving, and most importantly: design.
If you are interested in taking woodworking classes, contact Joseph at 845 353-2865
Local Arts Index is sponsored by Maria Luisa, 77 South Broadway and ML by Maria Luisa, 75 South Broadway, Nyack, NY