It started with a phone call from Dr. James Harken and Jim Sullivan, board members of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. “Can I set an appointment to speak with you?” they inquired. Figuring I was about to be hit up for a donation to the museum, I agreed, as I have always supported the arts, albeit usually from a musical perspective.

I was wrong. I was being requested to provide artwork in the stone medium for their annual auction. “You guys know that I’m not an artist, don’t you?”, I responded, being taking off guard with the odd, yet intriguing request. As Jim and the good doctor looked around our showroom, at various oddities of marble and granite, they begged to differ. “True, I’m no artist, I thought to myself. But after two decades in the stone business, I’ve amassed enough skill to be dangerous“. (My inner voices were laughing hysterically at this point.)

And just like that, I was thrusted into the local art world. Joey Marcella, artist wannabe.

My first piece for the MAC, entitled “Crevasse”, won the Patrons award at the event, along with a $1000 check. Figuring “bad juju” would ensue if I kept it, I decided to donate the $1000 back to the MAC on Mario & Son’s behalf. The recognition alone was more than enough, and perhaps good Karma will come our way after being bruised and beaten by the economy for the last several years.

I’ve now completed several works as of late, including “The Weeping Tree” out of a single piece of green marble, and my latest work, “Mantis”, out of a 500 pound block of Italian Carrara marble. You can watch the complete creation of that piece on YouTube.

Getting back to basics, getting back the feel of the stone, has been therapeutic. The carving of “Mantis” brought out the full range of emotion in me. At first it was physical and violent, hammering the living crap out of the stone, but then over nearly six months of effort, gradually ended with the softest touch and finesse, and a renewed appreciation for this awesome material and business that I’m fortunate to earn my living from.

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