Copper in the Arts

January 2013

Love of Human Form Basis of Sculptor’s Career

By Courtney H. Diener-Stokes

Angelo in his workshop. Angelo in his workshop.

Photograph courtesy of Angelo Di Maria

Seredipity struck when artist Angelo Di Maria discovered a natural vein of clay near his home in Delia, Sicily as a young boy.

“We would play with that clay all day long,” he says, resulting in making small figures and animals. These early clay creations would later mold his career as an artist, shaping his future, and solidifying his passion for the arts. It was Michelangelo who would later serve as Di Maria’s primary inspiration to focus on the human form.

“I love realism. I look at everything and I get inspired from everything I see,” Di Maria says.

He was eleven years of age in 1958 when his family emigrated from Sicily to Reading, PA in the United States, where he still resides.

“There is a vein of artistry in the family,” Di Maria says, noting his father, Giuseppa, was artistically inclined and three of his cousins became artists.

At the age of seventeen, the self-taught artist sold his first sculpture of a bust.

Vicky bronze sculpture Vicky. Bronze sculpture by Angelo Di Maria.

Photograph courtesy of Angelo Di Maria

While portraiture has been the basis of his professional work over the course of his 52-year career in creating primarily bronze sculptures, he also enjoys creating abstract work on occasion. Almost all of his art is done on a commision basis, for clients across the globe.

“I get very little time to do my own creative work,” he says. Playing guitar and photography are his other passions that consume his free time.

Di Maria has done extensive work for Penn State University’s donor appreciation program over the years. One such commission included a life-size sculpture of the late Joe Paterno, which was the recent subject of national news due its removal from outside Beaver Stadium, where it had stood for many years.

“That is in hiding,” he says of the sculpture. “Nobody knows where it is -- I don’t think they destroyed it.”

Di Maria’s life-size statues take approximately one year to complete between the time he begins to the six to eight months needed by the foundry. Di Maria usually sends his work to Laran Bronze or ART Research Enterprises, two nearby PA-based foundries.  

“What I do first is create an 18 or 24 inch model in clay,” he says. Next, he presents it to the family for approval.

Afterwards he has the model enlarged at the foundry which becomes the basis for the mold.

“I put the face on” at that time, he says, adding on occasion, depending on his workload, he has a team who assists him in the process as was the case of the Joe Paterno sculpture.

Regardless of those involved, Di Maria discusses how he is the one who always creates the face and personal details on his sculptures.

“The finishing touches – the details is where most of the work is involved,” he says. “Something very magical or spiritual happens at that time -- energy you can’t express in words. Once you learn the technical aspects, you put your own, personal creativity in it.”

Resources:

Angelo DiMaria discusses working with bronze

Angelo Di Maria, Reading, PA, (610) 779-6945

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