- December 22, 2014
What do Stephen King and All Angels by the Sea Episcopal Church have in common?
For now, art from local painter JoJo Fusco hangs on their walls. Fusco is an oil painter who alternates between abstract and figurative styles, and for the rest of May, she’s the featured artist at the Longboat Key church.
Fusco cites King among her inspirations, so to have her piece “Annexed Wilderness” purchased by him was exciting. It’s one of her original black-and-white paintings.
“It’s a big abstract piece with a splash of white right in it,” Fusco said. “I called it ‘Annexed Wilderness,’ which means that humans have taken over the wilderness so they can survive. I just get inspired by my surroundings and nature, and then I go from there.”
In the church’s gallery, Fusco has a mix of abstract paintings alongside scenes. The abstract ones are an eye-catching canvas full of thick paint that stands off the surface, with alluring names such as “Dancing Blue Moon over Myakka” and “Raging Fire.” There’s also a still life featuring a violin and a scene from an opera.
“I’m very interested in any kind of art,” Fusco said. “I kind of go by seasons, and what people like or need, or how I'm feeling. or what kind of materials I have. I'm spontaneous when it comes to my art. I just wake up and try to express what I'm seeing that day.”
Like many artists, the creative gene has been active in Fusco since childhood, when she drew all the time — even on the walls. She studied all kinds of art at Dominion University and is also a photographer.
“I've been focusing on art because art is, I think, my forte,” Fusco said. “It puts me in my element and puts me in a world where I can just be creative and the sky's the limit.”
All Angels gallery director and church member Carol Doenecke recruited Fusco to the gallery because they had met through the local chapter of the National League of American Pen Women. Doenecke was one of the board members who accepted Fusco’s application. As an artist herself, Doenecke uses her connections to find local creators to showcase in the church.
Fusco is a former runner who turned to both running and painting as her creative outlets. She and her family moved to Sarasota four years ago after picking the place out on a map and was delighted to find a thriving arts scene. She’s been in a dozen local art shows and has started her own gallery business.
“Nature here inspires me to paint,” Fusco said. “Everything is so beautiful. I just became a person that likes to wake up in the morning and just jump into life and express myself through my art or photography.”