Illustrator draws out elementary students’ interest in art
Illustrator Ralph Masiello recently visited Northwestern Elementary because his friend David Biedryzcki, an author who visited the school previously, cannot stop praising the school’s staff and students.
Masiello shared some of his history with the students.
As a child, he lived with his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
When Masiello was in first grade, his teacher told his parents to help him become an artist.
Masiello, however, wanted to be a neurosurgeon. He learned to scuba dive at age 16 which led him to enroll at Tampa University in Florida, where he majored in marine biology.
When he was asked to dissect an animal in class, Masiello drew sketches. His notebook was 1-inch thick by the time he was done.
After viewing the drawings, his biology teacher showed his work to the art teacher.
That teacher told him he was in the wrong field, so he enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design.
Masiello illustrates magazines, newspapers and books but his specialty is painting on sneakers for charity.
He also met Jerry Pallotta, another artist who visited Northwestern Elementary.
After viewing his work, Pallotta asked him to illustrate his “Icky Bug Counting Book.”
At the close of his assembly, Masiello asked teachers to hand out paper and pencils so everyone could draw a silly alien design.
Music teacher Lora Krum had worked with the second-grade students by taking excerpts from Masiello’s books and setting them to music.
At the end of the assembly they performed their music.
After one of their performances Masiello exclaimed, “Wow! You Rock!”