Joseph Ciardiello.

My studio is on the 2nd floor of an out building behind my house, in (still fairly rural) western New Jersey. Most of my time is spent at my drawing table which is usually surrounded by reminder notes and lists. The older I get, the worse my memory is becoming. There’s a day planner, job folders, and piles of drawings (mostly false starts). The remotes for my Bose radio/CD player and XM Satellite radio are always within reach. I alternate between progressive talk, NPR, Jazz and Blues. My computer is a few feet away and is a great tool for research, but more importantly for procrastination.

There are file cabinets, lots of books, artwork, overstuffed flat files and oh yeah… my drum kit. I’ve been playing the drums since I was 15 and still play gigs on a regular basis.”

Over his 35 plus year career, Joe Ciardiello has created illustrations for most major magazines and newspapers as well as for agencies,book publishers and record labels. Some clients have included Barnes & Noble, Capitol Records, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Sports Illustrated and Time. His portraits appear regularly in the New York Times Book Review. Among his awards are 4 medals from the Society of Illustrators in NY.

FROM YOUR DESKS: What time do you like to work? 

JOSEPH CIARDIELLO: I seem to be most productive in the morning or late afternoon/evening. Usually between the hours of 5 and 11pm…less distractions and interruptions.

FYD: What’s stashed in your flat files? 

JC: Paper, illustration assignments, personal drawings and prints. Every few years I purge and get rid of some old jobs that I don’t want to hang on to. I’m overdue for that. Pretty much everything created in the past 12 years has been scanned and saved on disc. Much of the earlier stuff hasn’t been.

FYD: What is your Favorite pen/paper combo?

JC: Most of my drawing is done with Rapidograph pens and occasionally a dip pen. I’m always searching for the perfect paper (which doesn’t exist). At the moment I’m mostly using Arches hot press watercolor paper.

FYD: You draw various musical personalities and play the drums. What artists are of particular interest?

JC: I grew up on rock and roll and enjoy all kinds of music, but primarily jazz, funk/R&B and blues. I’ve been listening to a lot of blues because of a project I’ve been working on involving portraits of well-known blues musicians (Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, etc.). It will be a hand bound, limited edition book available in early 2011.

FYD: Where are most of your gigs?  

JC: I play locally, in the Bucks County area, with a blues band called Kane Trio and several times at the Society of Illustrators in NY with a jazz group comprised of illustrators including Barry Blitt and Michael Sloan. Since moving away from the city, I don’t get much of a chance to go to jazz clubs like I used to.

FYD: Any up-and-comers on the drums lately

JC: My personal favorite contemporary drummers are, Bill Stewart, Brian Blade, Stanton Moore, Steve Gadd and Steve Jordan.


1 Comment For “Joseph Ciardiello.”

  1. Randall Enos says:

    Great to see the master’s workplace. I’ve always loved seeing where artists work ever since I was a kid. When going into an artist’s house, the first thing I always want to see is the studio. So nice also here not to see a computer dominating the scene.
    Joe is not only one of the very best illustrators at work today but he is also one of the nicest and kindest humans on the planet.

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