We are artists Daniel De Blasio and Catherine Hart, collaborating on our dream to bring tools of self expression all around the world. Because we are creating art, we never know what photographs the students will bring into discussion and what mural will grow out of that conversation. As leaders, it's imperative that we listen clearly to our students (what concerns, opinions, needs, thoughts, goals, and visions our youth bring to the table) and help organically nurture the most powerful direction of the project as it takes shape. This ensures our broader objectives are met while the students still feel the reward of determining the final manifestation of the project. We believe this is how a work of art truly comes about and how the experience of collaboration actually leads to transformation for all.
Daniel DeBlasio’s passion for working within a community was solidified in 2005 when he volunteered for Americore. During his ten months of volunteering, he worked in disaster relief studies and education, and lead many groups building houses with Habitat for Humanity. DeBlasio discovered that not only did this work inspire him, but that he thrived as a creative leader. He continued his work through community-based projects with the Red Cross, serving as both a teacher’s assistant and team photographer documenting all of their projects. A natural behind the camera, DeBlasio went on to receive his BS in Photography from the Art Institute in Philadelphia in 2010. He has since worked in every facet of the photography industry (i.e. weddings, portraits, photojournalism, street photography, advertising, extensive photo retouching) but nothing brings his heart to life like the creative process of photography in conjunction with serving the community. So in 2015, Deblasio created the Occupy Art Benefit to raise money for the cameras to launch an amazing photography workshop for twelve young men at the Paul Bogle Vocational Training Institute and Trade School, in Lyssons, Jamaica.
Catherine Hart is a drawer, painter, and mural artist/collaborator. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from California College of the Arts in 2004. After completing her BFA, she continued her art education in the art material business for 8 years in Austin, TX. Her love of craft, drawing, painting and glass pulled her back into the studio to pursue a full time career as an artist and art maker in 2012. Hart considers herself a mark maker above all, and she enjoys expressing herself through works as small as 2" x 2" as well as through large scale murals. In 2013, Hart was an apprentice on a two month community-based mural project in Waco, TX through the Mid-America Art Alliance. Her life was forever changed and the process of collaborative community mural projects has been her focus ever since. Hart has both lead and assisted mural projects in Kentucky, Texas, Tennessee, Kansas, New Jersey and North Carolina. She is currently the assistant director for the Jersey City Summer Youth Public Art Program and resides in Jersey City, NJ.