Jay Bellicchi, a Boston native, moved to Miami in 2000. Shortly thereafter he started “FIFTYTHREE”, a limited edition apparel line. Since then Jay has adopted the name “FIFTYTHREE” as his creative identity, painting and designing under that moniker”. “FIFTYTHREE” has been featured in local Miami publications such as the Miami Herald, New Times and 944 Magazine as well as a feature in the Erotic Signatures book “World’s Greatest Erotic Art of Today” Volume 3. In 2007 Bellicchi founded and co-managed AltSpace Art Gallery in Coconut Grove. In the spring of 2009 Jay founded GRAFFTOYZ a graffiti toy company. GRAFFTOYZ creates interactive toys and art objects inspired by graffiti art.
Do you hold a formal degree in the arts?
I went to school three separate times for art and design. I first went to MASS ART in Boston right after high school, then dropped out after six months. After some years of traveling, painting and snowboarding I went back to school for graphic design in Tempe AZ at Collins School of Design. Lastly I went to school here in FL for web design and multimedia at The Art Institute. I learned the most about ART in design school; however, I feel my most valuable lessons and influences have come through my life experiences traveling and the people I met along the way.
What careers besides Art have you had?
In the past ten years I’ve founded and co-managed AltSpace Art Gallery in Coconut Grove. I then started GRAFFTOYZ, a graffiti toy company. GRAFFTOYZ creates interactive toys and art objects inspired by graffiti art (grafftoyz.com ). All the while doing graphic and web design as well as mural painting for various clients.
Some of your paintings are “stream of consciousness” in their style….how do you achieve this?
My work is not planned out. The act of painting for me is an organic spontaneous process that is directly influenced by my mental and spiritual state at the time. I use many different mediums: latex and acrylic paint, all types of aerosol paint, paint markers, graffiti remover, goo gone, sand paper, razor blades – the list goes on. I mainly paint on wood panels. This allows me to fully manipulate the surface and achieve the desired effect.
When beginning a painting…what inspires you?
To me, each of my paintings represents a story within a dream or a meditative state of mind. The work is open to interpretation, of course. My goal, however, is to evoke positive dynamic emotions within my viewers.
In your own words…share with AT readers something unique about you personally?
“I create abstract reflections of urban decay. The process that graffiti goes through as time progresses involves things getting erased, gone over, crossed out, etc. This process creates an aesthetic that speaks to me, one that I find beautiful. I achieve this aesthetic one way or another in each of my paintings….