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The Art of Teaching

Professional artist Joseph Fiacco explores his studio experience

While teachers aim to inspire their students, they are often inspired by students. When Joseph Fiacco started teaching, it was at a privately-owned kids' art program in California. He was struck by how fearless and eager his students were. Fiacco went on to open his own studio 33 years ago.

“It has always been my belief that if you let students choose the subject matter and style, they will focus on it with much more enthusiasm,” says Fiacco. “That is what I wanted when I was a young art student. I wish I had a program like I teach when I was a kid.”

Fiacco’s students come to him for several reasons. Some are serious about their art, while others intend to learn how to focus and build confidence. Although he believes that teaching art will be his lifelong career, he faced adversity during the pandemic. In one day, he went from 240 students to zero.

“I was fortunate that my students hired me to make art for their homes to keep me afloat until I could teach again. I missed them,” says Fiacco. “I have made wonderful friendships along the way. Many of my students from long ago contact me to say hi and thank me. Many have gone on to be professional artists themselves.”

Despite his passion for teaching, Fiacco’s favorite place to be creative is his home studio. It’s a space where he can lose himself to music, ranging from progressive rock to big band. Along with his diverse music taste, Fiacco works with a variety of subjects. This includes musical legends, Hindu gods and goddesses, and his Rustscapes series.

“I don’t consider what I do a ‘job,’” says Fiacco. “When it stops being fun and magical to me, I’ll stop making art. I don’t see that happening.”

Joseph Fiacco

Freelance Fine Artist & Illustrator

Fiacco still remembers his first day of kindergarten, when his teacher was incredibly impressed by his drawing. To this day, that piece can be found in his home art studio. Years after his initial brush with drawing, Fiacco attended the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California, where he graduated with honors. It is there that he gained a better understanding of the elements and principles of design. Fiacco can now be found teaching at The Studio, creating unique images for commissions, and painting live at The Lucky Rabbit in Jonestown.

TOP: “Home James” oil painting

BOTTOM: “George Strait” oil painting