Joseph Barbaccia creates organically-shaped sculptures covered with sequins. These decorative objects begin with a vision, followed by a quick sketch with notes. Next, he draws various three-dimensional views of the imagined object in color which he then models in plasticine, resulting in small maquettes of the envisioned works. Once Barbaccia is happy with a design, he begins to carve the polystyrene form that becomes the foundation for the final sculpture. The polystyrene base takes three to four days of concerted effort to construct. The artist employs hand saws, knives and sanding to produce the final shape which he finishes with a thick coat of white gesso followed by a substantial layer of colored latex paint. The thick paint helps to hold the pins tight as well as assists with the placement of the sequins. Pinning the sequins to the underlying sculptural form is done piecemeal. Barbaccia comments that application of the sequins takes, by far, the longest amount of time, but can be achieved in intervals of as short as ten minutes, so he can work on the sculpture as his schedule permits. Titles for the works emerge after he has a vision and are sometimes directly related to the form of the piece. If there is no direct reference discernable to suggest a title, then Barbaccia chooses it from words and phrases collected on his studio wall.
Barbaccia sees his artwork as a straightforward product of visions. He comments, “There are no hidden agendas or secret meanings. What you see is essentially what you get. They are created neither as a puzzle to be solved, nor a complex entity to be taken apart and analyzed. They are simply a product of the universe at play, filtered through a human being, to be enjoyed by all.” He considers there to be as many valid definitions of his creations as there are viewers, and he feels that all interpretations are equally legitimate. Barbaccia believes that the various interpretations of his work inform him as an artist and contribute to his creative process. He states, “The acceptance of the indefinable makes the impossible, possible.”