This week we sit down with Curzio Aloisi. Curzio is a woodworker who specializes in custom picture framing and high-end cabinetry manufacturing and design. Hailing from Italy, now based in Brooklyn, he has been in NY for 10 years. Curzio has worked for Richard Ziello Picture Framing and Habiterra, GC for manufacturing of Interior Design Elements. He is currently Self Employed and has his own workspace at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, making custom picture frames and custom cabinetry and design for his clients. We appreciate Curzio’s skillset and insight, please enjoy this week’s Frank Talk below!
What was your first job in the Arts?
Working for Richard Ziello picture framing.
What was the most useful or important thing you learned at that job?
I learned so much there, every aspect and skill of contemporary art picture framing, but seeing such a high level of art being framed made my appreciation and taste for art exponentially increase.
Tell us a little more about yourself. When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in this industry?
I really didn’t know!!! It just happened. I always appreciated art but was a trained sound engineer. I helped Richard make some sound sculptures, but at the time was looking for more work and he kindly offered me a job in the framing shop…
What do you do now?
I have moved out and started making picture frames myself. I only do particular ones and I work mostly and directly with artists. I also make high end cabinetry, and do custom projects.
Where are you from?
I am from Italy.
What is the arts community like there?
There are many artists and woodworkers in Italy, not to mention collectors and galleries!
Has where you come from shaped what you do in the arts today?
As I said I became picture framer by chance. Manual labor, design and craft have always influenced me. My grandmother was an interior designer, my mother an artist, I’ve always been surrounded by art.
What is the best piece of advice you can give about working in the art world?
If you make art, don’t stop at creating. Network etc. Learn your trade well. Then learn more.
What is one of your greatest accomplishments in your career so far?
Framing for artists I love, like Tauba Auerbach, also when I was working for Richard Ziello I made a series of picture frames to resemble light boxes for a Guggenheim show of James Turrell. Those frames were jewels!
What has been a challenge for you?
Being self-employed/freelance is always a challenge, especially the first years when you are trying to establish yourself.
What is something you do every day at work?
Lose track of time/revel in the dust.
What is one of the weirdest things you have had to do on the job in your career?
I know there are a few of those, but nothing comes up!
What defines a good employee? What defines a good boss?
A good employee works hard, a good boss guides you to betterness, I.e. the best boss is a mentor.
What do you think makes a person hirable?
The good ratio of skills and price.
What is your advice to making yourself stand out in your workplace?
Professional attitude and old-fashioned etiquette go a long way.
What are things you can do proactively boost your CV?
Ask EVERYONE you know, then go online.
Are there any tips you can give people entering the workforce?
Be nice and respectful, hustle and be patient.
In your experience, what are things to do and things to avoid during an interview?
My interviews have always been very informal, but I always got the job! Just be natural, and don’t fake it.
Any other anecdotes about your experience in the art world that you would like to share?
Mr. David Hammons is a supernatural entity: I saw him sign a Delta airlines napkin a few years ago, transforming it into art. The closest I got to see first-hand alchemy: Turning a Napkin into Gold
What is the best exhibition you have seen in the last year?
Namsal Siedlecki’s Premio Cairo, Palazzo Reale, Milano, IT
Great young Italian Artist.
If you could own a work by 5 different artists, who would be in your collection?