John Jodzio's schizophrenic cityscapes
are what would pop out if a Salman Rushdie novel had sex with a Henry
Darger drawing, minus the wining and dining typically associated
with the removal of clothing and entangling of limbs. The crowded
scenes are a palimpsest of under drawings that are visible beneath
the pre-drawings and re-drawings. Graphite smudges, unfinished vignettes,
and a splotchy application of media add to the visual cacophony
of Jodzios scenery. His drawings serve as a visual record
of neighborhoods whose history has not been erased completely despite
the 50-story office buildings and waterfront (over)development plans
that are grandfathered into actualization right in front of our
very eyes. They show layers upon layers of poverty, urban sprawl,
and the dirtiest sociological phenomenon of them all: gentrification.
More apparent in Jodzio's large-scale paper wall murals than in
his smaller and more intimate drawings is an encyclopedic explosion
of everything your parents feared would steal your soul when you
took the bus to the BIG CITY. Perverts, ethnic stereotypes, and
creepy catalogue models run rampant in Jodzios swollen neighborhoods.
Their bloodlust is palpable. They are coming to get you. Watch out!
Another deranged kid in a striped t-shirt will shoot: "hands up
motherfucker!" Or worse yet, some weird cat wearing piss-stained
pants will slash your face. These cat gang members don color-coordinated
jumpers that resemble garbage bags; they are the Crips and the Bloods,
the Jets and the Sharks, just itching to take control of your turf.
There will be blood, lots of blood all over your business casual
From whence do these multifarious collections of mom & pop
pizzeria logos, bodega advertisements, and mass gravesites for pigeons
appear? What has spawned such an annihilated, yet strangely, vital
impression of urban affairs? Are there actually people fornicating
in the streets? Are the disembodied Lenni-Lenape Indian heads, with
their plumes of feathers and noble faces, looking at this melt-down
also known as a city wondering, "what have these idiots done?
The visual detritus left behind from the uncontrollable urban growth
is Jodzio's tool in illustrating the parallels between the colonization
of the United States and the effects of sprawl and uneven distribution
of wealth on today's cities. The artist offers no solutions to the
madness that ensues when families are displaced from their tenement
apartments-cum-condos. Instead, he chronicles the radio-active mixture
of indigence and bling. The city is an organism and perhaps all
you can do is sit back and watch as it burns and breaths around
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