Why He’s Interesting: A Land Studio project manager by day, the designer and illustrator is leaving his artistic mark on Cleveland. Lanzilotta collaborated with other local and national artists on the Brief Wondrous Life mural along the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s Red Line as part of the InterUrban project and recently finished a solo mural in Hingetown featuring bright yellow walls and lots and lots of heads.
Art History: Lanzilotta blends a very structured design with an illustrative feel for his small-scale pieces such as President Barack Obama taking a knee or an Indian chief holding a baseball bat. “I try to err on the side of humor. I like to riff on popular culture, media, American politics and current events.”
Quick Draw: He started drawing as soon as he could pick up a crayon. “In elementary school, I would draw pictures of Looney Tunes characters for my friends. It became this thing where all my classmates wanted me to draw a picture for them.”
Now and Then: Lanzilotta still loves cartoons. But Looney Tunes has been replaced by Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Adventure Time and Rick and Morty. “Rick and Morty is a very vulgar Adult Swim cartoon. Love that.”
Off the Wall: When artist Jasper Wong asked Lanzilotta to contribute to the Brief Wondrous Life mural, he was excited and nervous. “I had never used spray paint before. This mural was probably about 15 feet tall. And I’m like, I’m going to f--- up your mural. You have this beautiful mural here, and I’m going to f--- it up. And he goes, ‘No you won’t. Not a chance.’ ”
Change Artist: Lanzilotta recently painted a mural live in Hingetown as part of the Creative Fusion project. A take on gender roles, the bright yellow mural was meant to feature a bunch of heads outlined in just black and white. But as he was working, a resident started commenting on all the white people Lanzilotta was painting, thinking it was a symbol of the neighborhood’s gentrification. “So I’m sitting there on a lift being yelled at about how I just created this racist wall.” After talking to residents and friends, he realized that his vision was getting misinterpreted, so he made all the heads purple. “I am not here to make a statement about race.”
Social Norms: You’ll often find Lanzilotta at Jukebox in Ohio City. “Their DJ is amazing. It’s a new bar but it feels like it’s been there forever. I know there’s always going to be a good crowd in there.”