Frank Morbillo Interview
Frank was born in Queens and raised on Long Island, but as a young adult moved west—first to Montana and eventually to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Frank’s work is clearly influenced both by the man-made landscape of urban architecture and by the starker, more abrupt western landscapes which stand as evidence of the forces that shape our natural environment. Frank’s first artistic love was ceramics. As an undergraduate at Alfred University (in upstate New York), Frank explored and pushed the structural properties of ceramics. His first exploration in metal came during a winter session in coal forging, where he glimpsed that the structural properties of metals offered a whole new language. Learning to work metal added volumes to Frank’s artistic vocabulary; metal could be cast, cut, welded, and otherwise shaped by a great many processes. With metal, the scale of Frank’s work was able to grow. After receiving his BFA from Alfred, Frank spent 2 years working in the building trades—thereby expanding his knowledge of construction processes—before attending graduate school at the University of Montana in Missoula. Some of the first works from Montana incorporated concrete and wood as well as metal, but over time the pull of working with metal became dominant in Frank’s creative process. The power of the natural environment, so immediate in the Big Sky State, also began to influence Frank during this time. His relationship with landscape intensified as he observed the hydraulics of western rivers cutting through rock, the freeze-thaw cycles of snow pack eroding the great Rocky Mountains. In 1984 Frank completed graduate school and moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he began working at Shidoni Art Foundry. His intimate relationship with all aspects of metal working, including the casting process, has enabled Frank to add an organic quality to his work, forging a connection between his own sculptural aesthetic and the forces at work in the natural environment.