Rocky retires

By JONATHAN CHARLES FOX
Posted 12/9/20

What was my reaction when I first heard the news that he was stepping down? “Say it ain’t so!” But it is so, and it has happened.

As the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance’s …

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Rocky retires

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What was my reaction when I first heard the news that he was stepping down? “Say it ain’t so!” But it is so, and it has happened.

As the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance’s (DVAA) man behind the curtain, Michael Rocco Pinciotti, aka “Rocky” to his many friends and admirers, has curated his last show at the DVAA and retired.

Pinciotti was born in Waterloo, IA, grew up in Toledo, OH and has a BA from the University of Toledo. In 1979, he moved to New York City to attend Pratt Art Institute, where he earned a master’s in Fine Arts in 1981. During that time, he began his association with Let There Be Neon, the SOHO gallery that single-handedly reintroduced neon as an artistic medium for artists and revitalized its use throughout the world. Pinciotti soon became one of the new artistic pioneers in the creative neon-art world and continues his association with LTBN today.

“My dad always said, ‘whatever you do, make it the best!’” Pinciotti told me last week when I asked him for a few words regarding his retirement from the DVAA. “In my life as an artist,” he said, “that translated [into] ‘make everything you do a work of art’ and that has always been my ambition. Even when I was a touring musician back in the ‘70s, I considered everything a work of art. One of my bands was even called ARTATTACK.”

After moving to Sullivan County almost 20 years ago, Pinciotti quickly became part of the local art scene in the Catskills, had a solo art show at the DVAA in Narrowsburg, NY, and became gallery director in 2005.

“I tried to approach the country, the gallery and this community with all its artists as one big work of art,” Pinciotti said, recalling his beginnings with the DVAA.

 “As a gallery director and artist, I did my best to connect with everyone who came in... including the amazing group of artists in and around this community. Relating to each and every one of them on a personal, creative and artistic level was important. Each new gallery installation was an adventure in creation,” Pinciotti recalled, “and each its own work of art. I did my best to put my ‘artistic stamp’ on everything I did with the gallery.”

Without question, Pinciotti has left his indelible mark on incredibly successful artistic ventures like Riverfest, the Radius series of pop-up exhibitions, the annual Art in Sixes exhibit and many other skillfully curated exhibits over the years. “[They] all provided me an opportunity to be creative,” he said, reflecting on the wide array of artistic endeavors.

Pinciotti may have stepped down as gallery director at the DVAA, but he will always be pursuing art in its many forms. “I’m still working [two days a week] at SUNY Sullivan,” he said. He’s been teaching graphic design there for 16 years. “But at the moment, we’re doing it all online, of course.”

When asked for a final quote, Pinciotti was quick to respond. “I would say, ‘Approach life as a work of art,’ [although] I’m pretty sure it’s not original.

“Someone famous must have said it and it stuck in my head... but I do believe it is the best way to approach each day and everything in it.”

For more on Pinciotti’s past, present and future, visit the man behind the curtain at www.rockypinciotti.com.

Ladies and gentlemen, Rocky has left the building.

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