From the streets, rooftops and subway tunnels of Philadelphia in the 1980’s as a prolific graffiti artist, to the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program in 1986 mentored by Jane Golden, to the advent of digital art in the new millennium, to today's world drowning in vainglorious pixels, my art is about rebellion, the oppressed, the overthrown, the survivor, the ghosts of a past we cannot bury or run from.
As a graffiti artist, my alternate identity PEZ helped me survive an extremely traumatic upbringing in a family and neighborhood plagued by multigenerational addiction, alcoholism, and violence.
I am an artist who refuses to be boxed into a style. I strive to create unique images that drive an emotional response, a prompt to a question not yet asked, a shot of adrenaline. I seek to visualize moments of intensity, my interpretation of history, the terror and beauty in the dissonance.
I experience moments of satori in the meditative process of painting and digitally manipulating self-shot photos, snippets of public domain imagery, textured surfaces, acrylic, spray paint, oil stick, paint marker, stencil based designs, output on canvas, panel, fine art paper, aluminum and steel.
Artist Bio of Rocco Albano
My artistic journey began as a graffiti artist in the post-industrial wasteland on the brutal streets of Philadelphia from 1980 thru 1988. After destroying a mural created by the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network (now Mural Arts Philadelphia) painted by Jane Golden, she offered me the chance to redeem myself based on my artistic talent and an apology. Jane mentored me in mural painting, community relations, and art history from 1986 thru 1989. During this time I assisted or led in the creation of 100+ murals, some five stories tall and hundreds of square feet in scale.
From 1991 through 1994 I studied drawing and art history at Philadelphia Community College and painting at Temple University's Tyler School of Art. In 1992 I began teaching myself Adobe Photoshop and started using paintings, drawings, 3d animation stills, and self-shot photography and snippets of public domain imagery to create integrated digital art and unique works on canvas.
Today I paint in a variety of medium on canvas, digital works, and mixed media construct and assemblage pieces.
I have traveled across the US and internationally to experience fine art firsthand in galleries, museums, and churches in Philadelphia, NYC, Los Angeles, Kansas, Chicago, Denver, Rome, Nuremberg, and Tokyo to name a few locations.
Professionally I have worked in strategy, marketing, technology, and experience design across 3D animation, web sites, owned social platforms, and app development for 27 years. Currently I'm VP Customer Experience Strategy for one of the largest marketing and consulting firms in the world. I have traveled the globe for work including: 37 of 50 US States, Canada, Brazil, London, Germany, Vietnam, and Japan.
1991 to 1992 - Philadelphia Community College: Drawing and Art History minor
1992 to 93 - Tyler School of Art: Painting
1994 to 96 - Temple University Radio, Television and Film School: Film production major
Representation and Exhibitions
SYNC Gallery – Denver, Colorado - Santa Fe Art District – Full Membership January 2023
2016 - Mural Arts Philadelphia Gallery – “Roots & Wings A Story of Transformation”
1989 – Silicon Gallery – “Paintings and Digital Work of Rocco Albano” – Philadelphia, PA
1987 – Franks Bar in University Arts District Philadelphia – “The Art of Rocco Albano”
2004 - Ellen Powell Tiberino Memorial Museum of Contemporary Art – Philadelphia, PA
2004 - Mural Arts Philadelphia Gallery including curatorship – “Where Are They Now”
1996 – Silicon Gallery – Philadelphia Digital Artist Group Show
1986 through 1989 – 30+ group shows sponsored by the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, select venues below:
- Parkway Central Library “Color Fields Exhibit” – Philadelphia, PA
- DoubleTree Hotel – South Broad St. Philadelphia, PA
- Philadelphia City Hall – Center City, Philadelphia, PA
2022 - Merkle Inc. inaugural employee Artist in Residence program – “The Art of Rocco Albano” digital showcase of work accessible by 8,000 US employees
Sample of Collections
Merkle Incorporated (owned by Dentsu)
Esta Jo Schifter
Steve and Jocelyn Frattarelli
2007 – Marcia Hughes and James Bradford Terrell: “The Emotionally Intelligent Team”, page 45, published by Jossey-Bass a Wiley Imprint
2002 – Jane Golden, Robin Rice, and Monica Yant Kinney: “Philadelphia Murals and the Stories They Tell”, pages 35-36, 37-39, 43, 81, published by Temple University Press
2016 – Carly Rapaport-Stein: “Roots and Wings – A story of Creative Transformation” published by Mural Arts Philadelphia https://www.muralarts.org/blog/artist-interview-rocco-albano-reveals-behind-scenes-stories-mural-arts-roots/
News and Magazine Articles
2019 – Bethan Ao: “City Murals Get Respect from Street Artists” – Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News
2004 – Julie Stoiber: “Mural Program has Colorful History” – Philadelphia Inquirer
1991 – Dan Finnigan: “Graffiti Vandals Brush up on Good Citizenship” – Los Angeles Times
1989 – Catherine Barnett: “Taking it to the Streets” page 23 – Art & Antiques Magazine
1988 – Dick Pothier: “Flying Colors Anti-Graffiti Network Makes Its Mark With 600 Murals” – Philadelphia Inquirer
1988 – Dana Bartlett: "Down with Graffiti – Up with Art” pages 50-54 – Delaware Valley Magazine
1988 – Mike Capuzzo: “Street Smart Art with Hordes of Helpers” – Philadelphia Inquirer
1987 – Dick Pothier: “Now the New Writing on the Wall” – The Philadelphia Inquirer
1984 – Edgar Williams: “Graffiti Artists – Now Their Writing Is Off the Walls” – Philadelphia Inquirer
1984 – Steve Powers: “On the Go – Philly Aerosol Monthly” First Edition page 1 and 3
1984 – Russell Cooke: “A Clean Slate for Scribblers – Youths Make a Pledge” – Philadelphia Inquirer
2016 – Mural Lab Live panel discussion: Jane Golden, Rocco Albano, and Darryl McCray (AKA Cornbread)
2010 – 2011 Board Member of Mural Arts Philadelphia