New Jersey artist Ricky Boscarino’s home is filled to capacity with inspirations from his life.
Artist Ricky Boscarino calls northwest New Jersey home.
“I live just down the street from where I used to go to summer camp — the scenic corner of New Jersey,” Boscarino says. “Many people don’t think of New Jersey as being scenic, but it really is quite beautiful up here.”
He calls his home Luna Parc, a wonderfully, playful oddity entirely of his own creation. He first purchased the property — then a small 900-square-foot, “dilapidated” hunting cabin, he says — in 1989.
“I was with my realtor and we walked up the driveway and across a little bridge that runs over a stream alongside the road and in the moment I first laid eyes on the house, I knew this would be the place I’d spend the rest of my life,” Boscarino says.
The process of transformation began almost immediately.
“I told myself, ‘I’m never leaving, so anything I do will be a legacy on this house,’” he says.
Layer after layer, Boscarino morphed the house into his own personal art compound. Nearly three-quarters of the home is covered in mosaic tile and woodwork — all of it personally hand-made: Stain-glass windows, funky portraits and his own self-described “epic tribute to hedonism,” his ancient Turkish and Roman baths-inspired bathroom.
The home is the kind of enchanted, wacky and creative space in which most artists wish they could spend their entire lives — “creative living” at its best, Boscarino says.
In December, Boscarino will join scores of other local and national artists and artisans for the Charlotte Fine Art Show. He’ll bring along plenty of his original artwork, including his signature jewelry and other miniature metal works that take the shape of insects, animals, kitchen utensils and more.
“None of them are larger than an inch-and-a-quarter,” Boscarino says of the bite-sized pieces. “I’ve done work on larger sculptural pieces that can be as much as a few feet tall and these smaller pieces require the same amount of concentration and sometimes the same or more number of hours.”
Some of his kitchen-themed jewelry and charms even have working parts.
“They are so incredibly time consuming to create from the original working model,” he says. “I’ve spent hours and hours on one small piece.”
Yet, it is Boscarino’s equal love and passion for biology and science that’s inspired some of his more engaging jewelry work.
“During my whole career in high school, I was very involved in the arts — painting courses, sculpture courses and jewelry courses,” he says. “But I was equally as interested in biology and, specifically, entomology, the study of insects. There was a point, actually, when I was debating if I wanted to pursue art as a career or pursue entomology.”
After years of artful living, he’s not given up on his love of science. A full room in his home is devoted to all things science — collections of bones, skulls and insects. Some of those pieces might soon find themselves in his new 2,800-square-foot museum and ballroom expansion where he’ll house his “art, artifacts and oddities” for public viewing during his two annual open houses and regular school tours.
And, had he become a scientist instead of an artist? Boscarino is sure he’d have sought out much of the same kind of creative living and thinking he now enjoys.
“I would have probably been the next Nicola Tesla — a mad scientist,” he says. “I’m sure I would have had some notoriety in that respect.”
Years later, Boscarino says he made the right choice. “Fortunately, my right brain took over,” he says. “There’s no doubt in my mind now that I followed my passion and made the right decision.” : :
Want to go?
The Charlotte Fine Art Show takes over the Charlotte Convention Center, 501 S. College St., Dec. 9-11. Advance one-day tickets can be purchased for $6. A three-day pass is $8. Children 12 and under are free. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit hotworks.org.