Adam Frezza (MFA Art ’07) is a multi-disciplinary artist working in paint, collage, photography, sculpture and installation. He currently lives and works in New York City, where he and his partner and collaborator Terri Chiao make up the American artist duo known as CHIAOZZA (pronounced like "wowza" or "yowza"). You can follow them on Instagram @chiaozza.
You create a wide variety of art in a wide variety of mediums. Tell me about that and how that came to be.
I love playing with material and trying to understand what different materials can do. For me, I do not have an instinctual compartment differentiating what makes a painting a painting and a sculpture a sculpture; it all feels like an effort to make art with the final medium being an experience of an object and an idea.
You just had an installation in New York. Tell me about that.
This year got off to an active start! From January to April, my partner and collaborator Terri Chiao and I worked with a team of colleagues, many of which I met during my time at UF, creating a large-scale installation for Nike. We filled the retail store at 5th Ave and 20th Street in Manhattan’s Flatiron District with an epic, colorful display of sculptures. The concept imagined that when the Nike running shoe was worn, the city became a playful wonderland.
Is there a project you have been most proud of? A memorable moment in your career?
Ahh, every project is so much fun! I have really enjoyed every moment collaborating with Terri. I think forming and building our shared practice together continues to be the most fulfilling project. CHIAOZZA arises from a multi-disciplinary background with a strong focus on craft and play. One memorable moment was walking into the Coachella Valley Arts & Music Festival in 2017 after months of working with a large team building an acre-spanning 32-sculpture garden and seeing thousands of people skipping and smiling and enjoying the work we put out there. One sunny afternoon there was a little ice cream truck in the middle of our 40+ foot sculptures and all was right with the world.
What do you hope people take away from your art?
I would like the work we make to inspire viewers to continue to be curious about the world and empower each other with encouragement to continue building thoughtful and wonderful experiences.
What advice would you give to young aspiring artists today?
Never stop working. One anecdote I like to use is the notion of a ‘switch’. People sometimes ask if we ever have to turn the switch off and shut down for a bit so we can return to the studio and turn the switch back on when we are ready to work again. That probably works well for some people; we tend to think of the light more as a ‘dimmer’ than ‘on’ or ‘off’. Sometimes the lights are full tilt and we are operating on all the energy we can muster. Other times, we may mellow out and rather than flip the switch, we turn it gently and keep a low glow and those are the moments where some really wonderful dreams and ideas are born.
What was your biggest takeaway from your time as a student at UF?
Foster relationships, they may last a lifetime.