“Working on a film set is exciting and it’s really invigorating, but now that I’m getting closer to graduating, I’m putting it all into perspective.” — RIC student Michael Mollicone
“Ever since I was a kid, my father got me into watching movies. They always really excited me, but I never thought of working on movies as a career,” says Michael Mollicone, a studio art major at Rhode Island College.
In high school, Mollicone got involved in the theater program and began working backstage building sets. But it wasn’t until his cousin, Allison Melillo, a film industry production designer, got him working as a production assistant on the set of an independent film, that he became “hypnotized” by the industry.
“Allison introduced me to this world and it felt right. It was a very different energy than theater,” he says. “Films are fantastic to work on.”
During his four years at RIC, Mollicone has worked in Rhode Island and Boston on commercials, film productions and a TV pilot either as production designer, art director or on props.
“The biggest movie I worked on was an action film called “Johnny & Clyde,” filmed in Providence [coming out soon] and starring Megan Fox. We had to deal with a lot of special effects. It was also the first time I worked on an action film.”
Mollicone says he’s inspired by movies made in the 70s because of the way they look and make people feel. “I especially like the film ‘Mikey and Nicky,’” he says. “I enjoy watching a movie and noticing all of the design elements that went into making that film. I can see how the design reflects the story and how it works with the lighting and the camera.”
Now that graduation is getting closer and Mollicone has been accepted into RIC’s M.A.T. in art education program, he says that he is re-evaluating what he wants to do for a career. “My mom has worked as a teacher her whole life and I can see myself doing that, as well,” he says. “Education is something I find interesting.”
“I begin classes in the fall and I’ll be working as a substitute teacher at the same time,” says Mollicone, “but I’d like to stay in touch with the film industry. It’s an exciting business to be in. I’m between two fields, but I know one is more secure than the other.”
“My time at RIC has been a great opportunity to educate myself,” he says. “I had fantastic professors who really care and helped me through a lot, especially my sculpture professor, William Martin. Dr. Martin had an answer for every question I had. He’s had a huge impact on my work.”
During his time at RIC, Mollicone also engaged in extracurricular activities. He was business manager of the Anchor and president of the branch Epsilon Chapter of Kappa Delta Phi.
“Working on the Anchor was fantastic,” he says. “I joined initially to work on the arts section. I also got to write movie reviews, which is what I love.”
Last March, Mollicone won the Senior Award for his sculpture “Mousy’s Bar,” which is a miniature bar scene set in the 70s, not unlike the setting of a film.
“It has that classic look to it that I really respect,” he says. “When you look inside, there’s all these interactions going on. It’s the craziest thing I’ve built. What makes it exciting for me is that I got to create all these characters and place them in this scene.”
He says his sculpture foundation classes helped him develop his conceptual ability and to find his voice. “My classes also helped me tap into my love for film and grow into making my own living pictures.”
Mollicone’s Senior Award sculpture will be on exhibit at the Bannister Gallery for the Graduating Senior Exhibition. Once that exhibit closes on May 19, it will move into the Chazan Family Gallery until the fall.
The B.A. in studio art program offers instruction in ceramics, digital media, graphic design, metalsmithing & jewelry, painting, photography, printmaking, and sculpture. Visit the Department of Art website to find out more.