By: Parker Davis

Photos: Heidi Lee

Brooklyn-based Joseph Algieri associates experimental and artful theater with his continuously developing body of work. “Where yes meets no'' is what you’ll find in his Instagram biography. 

Our conversation with Joseph explores his New York experience and curious approach to his unconventional work, developing his style by pushing materials to their limits.

You grew up in New Jersey. Tell us about what inspired the move to New York. 

I desperately wanted to go live somewhere else. I also grew up very close to NY, so naturally it was a viable option to join my other friends going over the river. 

You’ve been in New York for 13 years. What were you doing when you arrived, and how has that evolved?

Initially, I was going to school at Pratt. From there, I found work immediately after school ranging from working in an interior design office to ceramic studios to a massive public works project involving Kara Walker. I’ve done it all. 

You’ve mentioned significant back pain from your work. How have you started incorporating MINERAL into your treatment?

Usually I like to apply MINERAL after work. I really enjoy MAISON on my shoulders. It’s like being gently massaged for hours. The RELIEF body oil is essentially nice in my hands. I usually apply it to my webbings, knuckles, and back of my hands. I also enjoy the scent of everything--really subtle and smooth, and distinct the second I open the lid. 

Five qualities that you lead with when describing yourself?

Funny, loyal, understanding, quick, and chill. 

How do you divide your time between preparing for your work and physically creating it?

This isn’t set in stone for me; I can make things happen various ways. Sometimes I think and plan something out for awhile, while other times I have it logged in memory and immediately start making something in a three dimensional form. 

What’s your taste in music? Do you incorporate it into your process?

I do really enjoy international radio (Radio Garden, check it out), 80s, music from my childhood, disco. I think there is a certain energy in genres I enjoy that are captured within the work. 

What’s your relationship with mediums?

The ceramics came to me as an elective, and fell in love with how freeing it was. I enjoy pushing the boundary of the material as well, seeing what could potentially happen with it. The foam and, more recently, fiberglass were founded on tons of experimentation, trial, and error. The relationship is more about understanding how I can work with something in its infancy, and seeing how far I can skew it toward a direction that fits me into the medium. 

What do you do to escape from your work?

Everything you can’t do now. Go on road trips, go be out amongst people. I enjoy being outdoors, but also enjoy my alone time at home. Sometimes I just shut off and will go walk around Manhattan. It doesn’t seem incredibly exciting, but I always document something special about that time with myself. 

You tend to play strategically with color. Is that something that you realized about yourself, or intentionally made part of your process?

It’s a learned process. There was definitely a period of time when I didn’t know or understand a good deal about color, but I use it in a way where I can see how dramatic it could make something. I want the pieces to be theater, and color is center stage. 

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