Staff Superstar: Sgt. Jeff D’Angelo

McKensie Curnow, A&E Editor

Campus Safety Officer Sergeant Jeff D’Angelo has served the Marywood community for more than eight years. Many know D’Angelo as a kind-hearted funny man – if he’s ever helped you get out of a pickle on campus, chances are he also delivered you a witty joke.

What some people do not know is that when D’Angelo steps out of uniform, he can usually be found creating beautiful works of art.

D’Angelo developed a passion for art early in life. He said he remembers sitting on his mother’s lap and drawing his first cartoon: one of the elves on the box of Rice Krispy Treats cereal. When he was 6-years-old, he received a box of 72 crayons and a coloring book. He soon began knocking on his neighbors’ doors, selling them the finished pages of his coloring book.

“I thought I was pretty special until my mom found out and made me go back to every house and give them their money back,” recalls D’Angelo.

D’Angelo never went to art school. Everything he knows is self-taught. In fact, he went to business school and worked as a men’s clothing buyer for his father’s store for 35 years. D’Angelo attributes his strong work ethic to his father.

Throughout his career as a clothing buyer, he would constantly get requests to create realistic cartoons for peoples’ birthdays and anniversaries during his free time. Eventually, that led to bigger projects such as designing rooms and creating large scale props for events.

D’Angelo said he likes wabi-sabi, which is known as the art of imperfection.

“Wabi-sabi is where you take old things that people would throw away, things that are imperfect, and make beauty out of imperfection,” said D’Angelo.

Some items D’Angelo often uses when practicing wabi-sabi include old tables, boxes, crates, and room dividers.

D’Angelo owns Jeff D’Angelo’s Design Group, a prop shop in South Scranton. D’Angelo’s business rents out props and cutouts for large events. In fact, you may have seen some D’Angelo’s painted props in the Steamtown Mall, at events held at Mohegan Sun or The Woodlands, and even on campus this past April during the annual Kidstuff event.

His artwork transforms a room into an entirely new place. His shop has more than 75 themes and more than 5,000 pieces to choose from. Some themes include Hollywood, Superheroes, Saturday Night Fever, and Disney.

“The reason I like renting is because I don’t like to give it up. This way I don’t have to sell it and it’s gone. I can rent it out and get it back,” said D’Angelo.

D’Angelo also mentioned that his business hires Marywood interns.

“My most successful intern was fashion illustrator and blogger, Dallas Shaw. I want everyone to look her up and see how far she’s gotten.”

Shaw is a pretty big name in the fashion world. She also happens to be D’Angelo’s niece. She has worked with designers and companies such as Oscar De La Renta, DKNY, Anthropologie, and Victoria’s Secret.

However, Shaw isn’t the only big name associated with D’Angelo. Years ago, a friend of famed actor Robert Redford asked D’Angelo to draw a cartoon portrait of the actor.

“Robert’s friend said that when he gave Robert my drawing, he started crying instantly,” said D’Angelo.

Ever since, D’Angelo receives a Christmas card from Redford every year.

“I give so much from my heart to this artwork; I just don’t want it to stop. I want it to keep going. I want my kids and my kid’s kids to see it…I want to make a mark. I want people to say, ‘Jeff D’Angelo started that’,” stated D’Angelo.

I think it’s safe to say that D’Angelo is indeed making his mark.

For more information about Sergeant Jeff D’Angelo’s work, and follow Jeff D’Angelo’s Design Studio on Facebook.

Contact the writer: [email protected]