Charlie Maiorana creates multi-media art work from his Alesia-Lineboro Road studio. (Ken Koons / Carroll County Times)
A selection of Carroll County artists will open their studio doors to the public this December as part of the 11th annual Studio Arts Tour. To help commemorate the event, now entering its second decade, the Times will feature profiles of participating artists biweekly in Life and Times.
When Charlie Maiorana was growing up, he said he didn't realize art was even an option for a profession. He said he grew up in a time where people had to be practical, so he went to the University of Michigan on an engineering track. While there, though, he began taking every art elective he could squeeze in.
"I loved being an engineer and feeling and understanding the physical world," Maiorana said. "But my heart would beat faster when I was in the art school taking an art class."
After graduation, he began teaching computer programing, while occasionally making art in his spare time. He said he combined his passion for engineering and technology with his love of art, through the creation of an art design generation program called ArtZee, which generated mathematical and artistic designs.
After retirement, Maiorana said he began focusing more seriously on his art, bringing acrylic paintings to local art fairs and learning a variety of techniques. In addition to his ArtZee pieces and acrylics, Maiorana has created work through welding, woodworking, mosaics-painting and more. Soon, he realized this is what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.
"I'm a little different than most artists; I'm not trying to get great at any one art," Maiorana said. "I want to have fun, and I want to learn. I'm constantly trying new media and learning things. That's my great joy, learning new techniques."
Maiorana said it's his engineering background that supports his interest in diverse forms of art. He said he's not afraid of trying anything, with his eye currently on plasma cutting as his next medium of choice.
After decades of creating work in Washington, D.C., Maiorana moved to Carroll two years ago and opened his current studio with fellow artist Thomas Sterner in Westminster earlier this year.
"All my life I worked out of a basement shop or basement studio," Maiorana said. "I decided I wanted to get out of the basement and into the sun."
At his studio in D.C., Maiorana created yard art out of a variety of materials that would break down over time. Over the years, he said, it became a bit of a local landmark as people would stop by specifically to see the abstract pieces. Maiorana said the one thing he hopes people take away from his work is a smile.
"I'm not looking for deep meaning, I have a different view of art in that way," Maiorana said. "I'm more into the joy of it, both in creation and having people enjoy seeing it. Kids would play in my yard a lot, and I even enjoyed seeing them break things. It didn't matter to me."
In his new space, Maiorana said he's looking forward to teaching classes in many of the media he's worked on throughout his art career. He said he's been teaching classes his entire life.
"I'm 75, I'm not trying to keep any secrets to myself," Maiorana said. "I love learning and passing it on. I always think I have something to say that can hopefully be of use."
He said he's excited to be a part of the Studio Artists Tour for the first time this year with his newly built studio.
"I feel like I've already been welcomed," Maiorana said. "I'm looking forward to being a big part of the community here."
Future artists in the series include Kelsey Wailes, Linda Van Hart, Teri Koenig, Sharon Schaeffer, Lori Baker, Carolyn Seabolt, Trista Fedoruk, Laura Wailes, Joyce Schaum, Virginia Sperry, Max Groff and Elisa Dasher.