In late 2018 Anthony Lazorko‘s estate generously donated to the AP/RC more than 700 proofs, woodblock matrices, drawings, test prints, studies, and related materials. This collection presents a unique opportunity to study in depth his work as an artist.
Lazorko passed away in 2017 after retiring from a long career in the newspaper business in Philadelphia and St. Louis. A graduate, many decades earlier, from the Pennsylania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia (where he met his wife, also an artist), he returned full time to creating art. He moved to southern New Mexico and settled in Mesilla where he set up an art studio and print shop.
Most of the 180 print matrices are wood carved on both sides and still have the artist’s printing notes or instructions. These matrices vary in size from 18” x 24” to 4” x 5”. The test prints include color and registration proofs. Lazorko also printed different color proofs of an image on acetate sheets to determine how the colors were going to work together. Through these supplemental materials, Lazorko’s processes are well-documented and reflect the steps he took to achieve the editioned version of a print.
Everyday life in the Mesilla and the Las Cruces area of southern New Mexico, just 25 miles north of the border with Mexico, influences Lazorko’s imagery. Scenes of interstate highways, hardware stores, adobe brickyards, local diners, the Organ Mountains to the east of his home, and unassuming neighbors fill his prints. The textures and grain of his wood matrices reflect the depth and richness Lazorko found in his adopted southern New Mexico. Lazorko’s words best express how he felt about his surroundings: The focus of my work has always been to depict something about the American experience, no matter how ordinary, and to say it in an aesthetic manner with tactile surfaces, color and composition.