'Sweet Spot' With Mike Sugerman: An Artist Who Gets Creative With Manhole Covers

August 23, 2018 - 8:00 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Some artists come from the streets, while others have street cred.

But you can’t get more street Paul Carluccio.

In this week’s Sweet Spot, WCBS 880’s Mike Sugerman met Paul Carluccio, who does paintings of manhole covers.

His canvas literally is the street, the city his gallery.

“This is the corner of Bond Street and Broadway,” he’ll tell you, as he points to one of his larger canvases.

You may even have walked all over one of his masterpieces. His method involves placing a canvas over the manhole and kind of tracing, abstractly.

“I change words within it, and put color integrated into the lines that I like of the manhole cover,” Carluccio said.

And while it is most assuredly street art, he can’t be out in the street too long.

“When I’m in the street I usually kind of dress up in a disguise, like a waste management worker. I have like a uniform, and I put cones out, and I get out real early, and I get out there and just paint,” Carluccio said. “And usually, when cops see that, they are, I think, confused. I try not to give eye contact.”

But those who do make eye contact with the final product are impressed.

“I never thought it would be a manhole,” said Don Donald as he perused a recent show at Morningside Park near his home in Harlem.  “It looks really good.” 

They seem to like the artworks and want to take them home.

“A thousand dollars? Wow,” Tabatha Dinsmore shrieked when told the cost of a larger canvas. “I’m saving for a house so I can’t afford a thousand-dollar painting. But when I get it, I will get it.”

Smaller canvases can hang on your wall for $200.

Carluccio isn’t getting rich. He has a day job delivering groceries. ‘

But the painting his passion.

“I like to do, you know?” Carluccio said. “And I’d rather have someone say ‘Look at that,’ than me run around and say, ‘Look at me.’”

And of course, his muse is showcased on every street of New York.