Typically New York and typically Italian, is the way Joseph Augustine Grassia, one of the founders of Phoenix Art Group, describes growing up in New Jersey, thirty miles outside of New York in the 1950's and 60's. What made his experience uniquely different was the unmistakable presence of his Aunt Mickey - his own personal Auntie Mame who introduced him to the wonders of the nearby metropolis and offered a glimpse of theatre, galleries and all the eccentricities and avant-garde the city had to offer. Augustine remembers it as love at first experience, and has never looked backed. Augustine's education at Fairleigh Dickenson University was interrupted by the war in Vietnam. He's interested in a wide range of places - from New York City on one hand, to the great outdoors with dramatic vistas, cliffs, oceans and forests. Says Augustine, one of the hardest things to learn in life is to live in the present moment. Augustine has carried his fascination with the unique and unusual into a wide range of multi-media artwork, including printmaking in oriental and art deco styles, as well as design of remarkable frames that are unsurpassed for their whimsy, innovation and theatrical flair.
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