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Orlando Museum of Art presents John Rocco exhibition

The Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) is presenting the work of award-winning artist John Rocco, well known for his cover art for the bestselling Percy Jackson series as well as The Kane Chronicles in the exhibition From Alice to Zeus: The Art of John Rocco. On view through October 28, 2012, the exhibition is the eighth in the OMA’s Art of the Picture Book Series. It includes more than 60 preparatory drawings and finished illustrations by Rocco as well as rough sketches and doodles offering a “behind the scenes” look at the artist’s creative process. Rocco will appear at the OMA on September 29 at 1pm for a free presentation and book signing.

John Rocco We went up and up and up to the rooftop and found…the lights, 2010, inkjet print (digitally colored from scanned graphite drawing) for Blackout, written and illustrated by John Rocco. ©2010 John Rocco

Rocco grew up in Barrington, Rhode Island and studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Following his graduation in 1991, Rocco collaborated with actor and comedian Whoopi Goldberg in creating the picture book Alice. The next year he moved to Los Angeles, where he worked for a number of years in the entertainment industry. At Walt Disney Imagineering, he designed many attractions for Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and served as an art director for DisneyQuest, an interactive theme park in Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney. At Dreamworks, Rocco was the pre-production art director for the hit animated film Shrek, producing hundreds of illustrations that helped animators create the final look of the film.

In 2004, Rocco moved back to New York City. The following year he began writing and illustrating children’s books (Wolf! Wolf!, Moonpowder, Fu Finds the Way, Blackout, all published by Disney Hyperion Books) as well as illustrating books for older readers. Although Rocco discovered he enjoyed writing when making the picture book Wolf! Wolf!, he considers himself an illustrator first and foremost.

Rocco’s picture books have won a variety of awards. Among the honors given to Wolf! Wolf! (published in 2007), was the Borders Original Voices Award for best picture book. Art from his next picture book, Moonpowder, was included in the Original Art Show at the Society of Illustrators, NYC, and was also selected for a special nationwide traveling exhibition. In 2009, Fu Finds the Way, a modern parable full of adventure, heart, humor and a gentle message about the importance of focus and finding joy in simple tasks was released. Rocco’s most recent picture book, Blackout (published in 2011), was selected as a 2012 Caldecott Honor Book, one of the highest awards given in the world of children’s books.

Rocco, whose working method involves a combination of traditional and digital media, is enthusiastic about providing young visitors with insight into his creative process. He feels it is important that young people are encouraged to be creative and try new things without fear of failing along the way. This lesson can be seen in the many preparatory sketches and drawings that eventually lead to a published book. Featured in the exhibition are a number of examples of early doodles, sketches, and rough layouts for books that demonstrate how illustrations for a picture book evolve. Also included is a large wall label created by the artist describing his working method, demonstrating how early ideas for a book are developed into the final color illustrations.

Orlando Museum of Art
2416 North Mills Ave
Orlando, Florida
407 896 4231
[email protected]

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