Modern-Day Michelangelo: Jago Jacopo Cardillo

Most little boys say they want to be a fireman or police chief when they grow up. Not Jago Jacopo Cardillo. He told his parents he wanted to be like Michelangelo. Now, at 31, he has achieved star status, winning myriad prizes that range from the Holy See’s Pontifical Medal in 2012 to last year’s Arte Fiera Bologna’s Public Award, affording him the indulgence of being known simply as Jago.

Self-taught, with only a brief stint at Rome’s Accademia di Belle Arti, Jago’s ability to manipulate stone, making it appear to be soft and alive, turning it into “flesh,” boggles the mind. And, he doesn’t hesitate to create artworks sure to make some uncomfortable, expressing oftentimes radical ideas.Donald

Decidedly of his generation, Jago live streams his daily toil via Instagram and Facebook, engaging over a quarter-million admirers, affirming his belief that “art is for everyone.” Currently, he can be seen online sculpting Veiled Son, which he describes as “the son of humanity . . . with no importance attached to where he comes from or the color of his skin.” Commissioned by the city of Naples, Italy, to be its new symbol, Veiled Son is being crafted right here in America.

Why here? He explains. “I’ve always wanted to work with American marble and was approached by ABC Worldwide Stone,” a New York purveyor of fine natural stone from around the globe, and Vermont Danby marble. “I liked how they viewed art as an essential part of life, wanting to foster the continuance of traditional carving as an artistic medium.” Partnering with the North American Sculpture Center, ABC is providing Jago with housing, supplies and studio space in its Long Island facility.Habemus Hominem

Jago summons Michelangelo’s quote, “The sculpture is already complete within the marble block, before I start my work. It is already there, I just have to chisel away the superfluous material.” Jago says of his piece that it will be “born from a six-ton block of Danby Marble.”

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