Louis Cannizzaro
P.O. Box 931894
Los Angeles, California 90093



From "Celebrity Bulletin" (August 20th, 2003)

Louis Cannizzaro
Celebrity of the Day

Edited By M.A. Mooney

Louis Cannizzaro's work has been featured in W magazine, Apparel News, and Women's Wear Daily, and actress Kelly Lynch bought three of his silk-screen T-shirts when Aero & Co. held a gallery opening of his work. His painting, "Terra Incognita," which issues the proclamation "L.A. Slides in ocean: Madonna safe!" now hangs at Maverick. "Sometimes I feel as if I'm eavesdropping on another's personal diary," said Leeza Gibbons after receiving Louis' first book, I Love My Girlfriend, from her wardrobe stylist. Now publishers, agents, and TV and movie producers are wrangling over how to turn that simple yet profound little book into a film.

Born in Buffalo, New York, Cannizzaro moved to New York City soon after graduting from Bennet High School. Once in the Big Apple, he attended the Fashion Institute of Technology for a time, but got work in the VIP of the Limelight Night Club. "[I] made great money... Johnny Thunders came in every night... my girlfriend was beautiful and we were all going to live forever..." When asked why he decided to move to Los Angeles in 1990, Cannizzaro quips, "See above in a realistic light."

Once in Los Angeles, Louis found himself in a series of horrible jobs: at Aardvarks on Melrose, which he describes as "the worlds longest study hall," and for a "crazy screaming man who cleaned church pipe organs." A year and a half into his California adventure, Cannizzaro found himself living at a friend's place in Van Nuys where he shared a leaky air mattress with two large dogs and harbored a serious desire to get out of Oz altogether. Then a friend sent him a deck of Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt's "Oblique Strategy" cards, containing aphorisms such as, "back up a few steps," or, "put it where it will be found." The cards were created as a way to remind one's self of resourceful thinking habits -- to nudge the mind. Cannizzaro decided to draw a card, determined he would follow the cards instructions, whatever it said. The card he drew read, "What are you thinking just now? Incorporate."

"I was thinking about Andy Warhol specifically, and that if I made skeleton paintings and books, if I put down an abstract thought people will fill in the spaces." So he went down to the local art store that day and bought his first canvas and paints.

At first Louis just gave his work away to friends, then a photographer asked if she could take pictures of the paintings for a project, and called him later in the week telling him people were interested in buying his work. "For a while I would charge whatever my rent was. I paid my first years rent within a month."

Even with buyers showing interest, Cannizzaro couldn't get into galleries, so he created a set of postcards that quickly sold out. Then he made T-shirts that sold at Anthropologie, then his first book, I Love My Girlfriend hit an array of bookstores and specialty shops. Paris Hilton bought a handful of T-shirts featuring his work, "the aeroplane," which contains the darkly capricious inventory, "coffee, milk, heroin, cat food, bread." At Sonic Youth's induction into RockWalk on Monday, a girl sporting a pink incarnation of that Tee had to fight off Michael Des Barres' earnest appeals to obtain the shirt from her there and then (FYI: the shirts are available at the ArcLight Cinema bookstore).

Louis' website,, is receiving about 5,000 hits a week, prompting the DIY artist to start his own blog: "Painters don't just paint anymore. I love the idea of getting thoughts out quickly and getting immediate feedback. It's very self-generating, which is what my whole thought process and career is based on."

© 2001-2010 Louis Cannizzaro