Meeting Artist Chad Cocilo was an honor. When writing this I was more focused on who Chad was as an individual and who he was as an artist. But I have added a link to The New London Patch which goes more in depth on his art style and technique.
“I pay no attention whatever to anybody’s praise or blame. I simply follow my own feelings.”
― Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
“Fuck em all.”
We were on our way to meet Chad Cocilo but right beforehand, he asked us if we wanted to come to his studio. I was totally siked. When I think “studio” I think of Jackson Pollock, alcohol, cigarettes, and wet canvases with paint brushes balanced on them. My co-pilot, on the other hand, thought in the opposite direction and felt it wasn’t a good idea. So, I said, in my oh-so-convincing voice, “We’ll just drive by the club [his studio resided over and check out the scene.”
We parked across the street and while Melissa smoked, we assessed it together mentally. I felt her tension ease, which I’m sure was only because she forced it to, knowing how excited I was. It didn’t take much assessing to know the area was questionable. I text him to let him know we were there and he met us outside. We walked up to the building arms brushing against each other. We got to the door and I noticed he has those ocean eyes. He was standing there tall and brave, eyes kind of sad looking. Cigarette in hand, while he was waiting for us in jeans and a button down. I would have never guessed him to be an artist. Then again what exactly should an artist look like?
He held the door open and allowed me to lead the way up a dark and narrow stair case. As I began to walk up the stairs I couldn’t even see a door at the top. I put my hand against the wall to guide my way. The building was old but the stairs were sturdy. We got to a door with no lock. I was afraid to open it because this wasn’t my door to open. I admitted out loud that I was scared and stepped aside. Melissa stepped aside as well, saying with her eyes, “O no, it’s not gunna be me.”
He strolled up with his broad shoulders and casually opened the door. I turned to look in the studio, my mouth dropped and I was completely awe struck. It was like the Willie Wonka of art factories. I felt like dancing, but there was artists at work. This was more than I had imagined. It was creativity heaven. Any medium you could think of in every shade. Paint in cans, bottles, jars, and on canvases that were strewn from the floor to the ceiling. And it was a high ceiling. There was nails, wood, glue, artist made tables and fixtures everywhere. I felt creative just walking in. I was amazed. Where have I been? How could this wondrous place be in my town and I never knew about it?
After shuffling around and attempting to contain myself. We found a table to sit at and began to talk. He seemed a bit unsure, at first. He began to warm up after a few questions, a cigarette, and a finished can of something alcoholic. I enjoyed listening to him speak. He spoke soft and monotone. His voice was so easy to listen to, even with the noise of the art demanding my attention.
Chad had started as an artist after the passing of a friend which led him into gifting art for others. He surprised the family, band mates, and close friends with portraits he created. After some time, he broke away from stencil work and graffiti and started doing work that came straight from his own mind. It felt more like his work. It’s a challenge for him as an artist to put his art out there for the world to see while facing criticism.
“You can’t take anyone personal ever because that’s their own insecurities. You can pick and choose what to take from it to better yourself,” he says. He even shared that he’s been called a phony because he’s sold expensive pieces around the world. Even so, he feels a freedom with his art. He focuses on that freedom and not being stuck. When he says stuck he doesn’t mean literally. He means, he doesn’t want to be stuck in the 9-5, “counting sheep” work week.
“It’s just nice to know there’s something else out there.” His freedom has ruined relationships and gained new ones. When asked by an ex-girlfriend if he was just going to skateboard and paint for the rest of his life, his reply was, “hell yea!”
On my way out the door he says, “You can ask me anything. I am an open book.” I respected his transparency, gave a genuine nod, and turned to the staircase where we had begun.