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John Salozzo highlights St. Louis icons through realistic paintings

Artist John Salozzo is known for making paintings that resemble real life photographs. Two years into his latest project, “St. Louis Icons,” he has completed 12 realistic board and canvas paintings of different St. Louis icons, including the Goody Goody Diner, Blueberry Hill, Ted Drewes and The Tivoli Theatre. The project is a 10-year effort that will consist of 40 to 50 total images.

An exhibit of “St. Louis Icons” is on display at Third Degree Glass Factory through July 18.

Salozzo began his painting career painting as a side job. He chose to paint artwork that depicted realism to give viewers the sense that they are looking at the actual image, instead of a painting.  “I think with these images, the people who are looking at them should know what it is,” Salozzo said. “I don’t want them guessing.”

During the process of choosing the landmarks for “St. Louis Icons,” Salozzo explained that many of his ideas came from St. Louis natives who would tell tales of their favorite places and memories of the city. “I’m interested in what the common person does,” he said. “What they’re looking at and who they really want to recommend. It has to be visually interesting and something that’s currently here. Things that every day people visit, not tourists.”

With eight years left in the project, Salozzo also plans to feature Union Station, Crown Candy, The Fox Theatre, and Busch Stadium, to name a few.

“It matches my personality,” Salozzo said of his realistic paintings. “I like to see how it looks—real.”

Watch the video below to see a time lapse of the process of making Salozzo’s “Sandwich Shop” painting, and view the slide show to see other samples.

Related Events

“St. Louis Icons” by John Salozzo

  • When: June 19 - July 18
  • Where: Third Degree Glass Factory's East Gallery, 5200 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108
  • More information

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.