May 25 2016 11:59 AM

Tom Cocozzoli’s ‘Capitolfest’ kicks off City Pulse’s Summer of Art

Local artist Tom Cocozolli specializes in "artography," digitally-altered photography, like "Guitars," shown here.
Courtesy Photo

City Pulse and the Arts Council of Greater Lansing have teamed up for the Summer of Art, which puts original art by area artists on the cover of City Pulse each week for 15 weeks, beginning with this issue. Today’s cover features “Capitolfest,” created by Tom Cocozzoli from a photo taken by his wife, Carol Ann Cocozzoli.

For 61-year-old Tom Cocozzoli Cocozzoli, his work as a book cataloger at Michigan State University is not his primary passion. In recent years, his digital “artography” — digitallyaltered photography — has become an essential part of his life. This pursuit started when he wondered what he would do once he retired.

Cocozzoli started to fill his free time by learning to play guitar, writing some songs and drawing cartoons.

“I’ve always been the creative type but mostly in the field of music,” Cocozzoli said. “When I hit a dry spell in music, I discovered that music wasn’t the only endeavor that could satisfy my creative drive.”

While touching up some digital photos, Cocozzoli began to explore some of the more abstract effects offered by photo-editing software.

“I accidentally stumbled on the concept of digital artography,” Cocozzoli said. “I just started taking other photos and manipulating them for fun.”


He was pleased with some early results and decided to print and frame some of the photos. He even landed an exhibit of his work at the East Lansing Public Art Gallery in the Hannah Community Center earlier this year.

Cocozzoli enjoys taking photos and turning them into something “almost unrecognizable.”

“I’ve always seen the world with a slightly different pair of eyes than most people,” Cocozzoli said.

The focus of his art is not a political statement or promoting any cause. Cocozzoli warns against looking for deeper meanings in his images.

“I don’t take myself too seriously,” said Cocozzoli, “I’m having a blast doing it, and I hope others will find it fun and whimsical.”

While Cocozzoli has no plans to quit his day job yet, he has had some success selling his photographs.

“A year ago, I had no concept of digital artography, but there’s been some nice recognition and financial uptick,” he said.

As for others thinking about dabbling in art, Cocozzoli’s advice to them is simple: “Try it. You might like it.”

City Pulse’s Summer of Art

To submit your work for the Summer of Art, please go to Please read the rules carefully. Pay particular attention to these: 1. If selected, the original art must be given to the Arts Council of Greater Lansing to be auctioned. The artist receives 30 percent of the sale price. 2. Published art will be used horizontally. City Pulse reserves the right to crop or rotate art. 3. Photographs of art that is not intended to be donated (e.g. large sculptures) will not be accepted. Artistic photographs, including photographs of art, will be considered. Please be clear if you are offering the art piece or the photograph for auction. Questions? Email or call (517) 999-5061.