The Convoy in Lilac, 2011, Mixed Media/B&W Photograph on hand made paper, 20" x 24" (Collection of the artist).
Julio Nazario is an acclaimed New Jersey photographer and educator. His intimate and highly personal Neo-Pop photo-etching cycle entitled "The Purple Heart Series" is charged with raw expressive force. For the viewer, Nazario's extremely expressive "Purple Heart" images conjure memories of the Vietnam War. His recurrent, deeply moving, penetrating and exceedingly personal use of the USA's "Purple Heart" medals alludes to the 1960s' Pop master Billy Al Bengston's persistent repetition of sergeant stripes. Recently, Nazario described the intention behind his work as being:
"This work reflects my experience of reality. As a human being, I have multiple experiences, each based on location and time. The image of the Purple Heart is a reflection of traumatic experiences in Vietnam. The image was formed on a metal plate using a photo-etching process. The size of the image reflects the depth of the experience. The use of black and white reflects the intensity of the experience."
In 1782, the Purple Heart medal was first initiated by Gen. George Washington, during the New York campaign. Since that time; over 20,000 Latinos have been awarded this venerated military honor, which Washington first authorized "For those that have shed their blood in defense of their country!" Yet, today, in certain states (e.g., Arizona, Virginia, and Oklahoma, and others); the rights of Latinos are either under threat or are being diminished. Yet, at this time in history, a large cohort of Latinos serves in the US military.
Julio Nazario is a graduate of Mason Gross School of Arts, Rutgers University with an M.F.A. in Visual Arts and Queens College (CUNY) with a B.A. in Philosophy He is an artist working primarily in black and white photography. He was an Instructor of Photography at the International Center of Photography in New York City for ten years and an adjunct associate professor at La Guardia Community College (CUNY) for 17 years. He served in the Vietnam War and was awarded the Purple Heart. Currently, Julio Nazario works as Assistant Dean II for Outreach, Special Initiatives and Assessment in the School of Arts and Sciences' Honors Program, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
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