photo © Beverly Kaye

After a back injury, Joseph H DeMarco left the field of masonry and became a sculptor. His first creations were mailbox people made from rims of trucks and cars. Birds of all sorts were his next focus, and many a fine eagle or stork is posed on the shore of CT ponds and streams. Metal masks, musicians, carved heads, birdbaths, ballerinas, lovers, and life-sized horses and moose became his oeuvre in later years. The creativity of this self-taught man always was a delight to behold. He was proficient in stone, metal, wood and even concrete.

Joe's property was a junk man's treasure, filled to the brim with ageing school busses, old farm trucks, recycled tools, and car and motorcycle parts. All became fodder for his work. He kept several projects going at a time, and miraculously many became finished works of art. At times, Joe would drive into NY City in a truck which had holes in the floorboards, iffy brakes, and jerry rigged supports holding his precious cargo. He had no compunction about pulling right up in front of the Museum of Modern Art, or the Met, depending on which had less police attention that day, and sell work off the back of his truck. More than once, he had to continue on to posh areas like South Hampton to deliver sculpture to delighted buyers who happened to be passing by.

Small in stature, big in spirit, his memorial service drew hundreds of people during a fierce New England snowstorm. The reception, featuring a grouping of his metal and stone musicians, along with live music, celebrated a life not soon forgotten. His works can be seen in private collections throughout the country and at the Marrietta Museum of Art and Whimsy in Pensacola, Florida.

 

by Beverly Kaye

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