'Nichelangelo' no Renaissance master but very talented

by Len Lear
Posted 1/15/21

You never know where interesting stories will come from. I recently Googled the name Nick D'Angelo, an artist from upper Roxborough whom I wanted to know more about after learning about him.

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'Nichelangelo' no Renaissance master but very talented

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You never know where interesting stories will come from. I recently Googled the name Nick D'Angelo, an artist from upper Roxborough whom I wanted to know more about after learning about him. If you have ever Googled a name, you know that information about similar names might come up as well.

That's what happened here. In addition to Nick D'Angelo, an item popped up about “Nichelangelo Painting and Artistry, Glenside, PA.” Since I am a sucker for puns and thought this was a really clever play on the legendary Michelangelo, I just had to learn more about Nick, especially after looking at his sculpture and painting and being blown away by it.

So it turns out that Nicholas D’Amico III (“Nichelangelo”), 35, is an artist, sculptor and muralist from Glenside who studied at Abington High School and the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, majoring in sculpture with a focus in stone and metal fabrication. Nick furthered his education in Florence, Italy, where he studied stone and ceramic sculpture. In recent years Nick’s main focus has included murals, wood carvings and large canvas projects.

So I contacted Nick and asked him the following questions:

When did you graduate from the University of the Arts?

“I spent four years there but did not graduate due to a lack of funds. That was in 2009.”

When did you study in Florence and for how long?

“I studied marble carving at Studio Arts College International in Florence for four months in 2007.”

How did you happen to come up with the name Nichelangelo?

“My mother made a joke that I was her Nichelangelo because I was a marble sculptor and muralist living in Florence. The name was made then. It stuck.

What kinds of jobs did you have, if any, before starting your own business?

“I had many jobs. A mason in the summers and weekends with my father since I was 14. I worked for Kurtz Roofing for two years after high school. While at UArts I worked for Al Paris (founder of Paris Bistro) at a restaurant called Montra. After college, I had various construction and painting jobs until I started my company in 2012.”

Have you mostly done murals, wood carvings or large canvas projects?

“I have done more murals than anything. Many restaurants, bars and VFWs. Kids' rooms and entertainment areas in private homes as well. I did all the murals for the 2015 and 2016 Macy’s flower show In Philadelphia. I have done a couple very large exterior murals such as the Roberts Block building in Glenside.”

What is your favorite medium to work in?

“Wood carving, by far. It is more forgiving than stone and much faster to carve. Shaping wood with a chainsaw is unbelievably satisfying. I put on some music and let the engine and imagination make it happen.”

How has the pandemic affected your life?

“The pandemic hasn’t really affected me or my company. My painting company was able to work through the lockdown due to us being in new construction vacant homes. I was also able to focus on some art projects at my studio that I had been wanting to do for quite some time.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“It came from my grandfather, Nick D'Amico Sr.: 'Patience, Nicky. If you don’t have patience, you’ll never finish anything.'”

What artist, past or present, do you admire the most?

“Leonardo da Vinci. Not because of his art but how far he could push his imagination and then make it come to life. Anyone can think up something interesting or useful. Making it happen is what matters.”

What person has had the greatest impact on your life?

“My father has had the greatest impact for two reasons. One is his unbelievable work ethic. He will work seven days a week as a mason to this day, and he is in his mid-60s. He taught me to work hard and not to do anything half-way. The second reason is he is very hard to impress, I’ve been trying to impress him for most of my adult life, and I believe I’ve succeeded a couple times. And my mother, Mary Henkels, who wants everything I ever made. She is very proud.”

If you could meet and spend time with anyone on earth, living or dead, who would it be and why?

“Thomas Edison. Talk about nothing being impossible. The man tried 2,000 different filament fibers until he found one that worked for the lightbulb. His response to the amount he tried was 'Now I know 2,000 ways not to make a lightbulb.' That is a perspective on work that I truly respect and live by. I’d also like to mention my grandfather, Stan Henkels. He is the reason I have this gift. And my fiancée, Adair McCune, who stood with me when I started my company broke and scared.”

For more information, visit nichelangelo.com. Len Lear can be reached at lenlear@chestnuthilllocal.com

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