Marsico has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and worked seven years in the field. During this period he documented the places of his employment, the declining steel mills of Pittsburgh. He left engineering in 1978 to enroll in a graduate architectural program, leaving after one year to pursue a life in art.
1979 to 1990
Marsico started to chronicle his personal and industrial photographs with a solo exhibit of large format dye transfer color prints at the University of Pittsburgh Frick Museum Gallery in 1982. In 1985 an exhibition was presented at the Dryphoto Gallery in Prato, Italy. For the first time Marsico fused formal architectural settings with staged human interplay. Also in 1985 he received a grant from the Graham Foundation for the Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, which resulted in a comparative photo-essay entitled The Italian Hilltown and the American Main Street Small Town. The photographs were exhibited at the il Diaframma Gallery in Milan and the Graham Foundation Gallery in Chicago. The photo-essay was considered to be on the forefront of the new urbanist movement. During this period his photographs were accepted for permanent collection in the Corcoran Museum of Art, the International Center of Photography and the Carnegie Museum of Art. In 1987, in collaboration with the Italian architectural critic Antonio Saggio, a second Graham Foundation grant was awarded. The project was a comprehensive study of the work of Giuseppe Terragni, an Italian neo-realist architect working in Milan and Como during the 1930’s. The photographs were published as a book entitled Giuseppe Terragni, Vita e Opere.
1990 to 2001
For a decade Marsico’s work centered on editorial travel photography. Travel Holiday, Travel & Leisure, National Geographic Traveler and The New York Times Sophisticated Traveler commissioned him regularly. In 1992 he won the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation’s Lowell Thomas Award for the best magazine black and white photography feature, entitled Winter in Tuscany, written by Saul Bellow. The next year he received the top color photography award for the photo-essay Paradise, a story documenting 13 towns named Paradise. In this same commercial period Absolut Vodka (1993) commissioned Marsico for a series of 16 travel vodka ads. Among those were Absolut Rome, Absolut Portugal, Absolut Seville and Absolut Polynesia.
2002 to 2009
Firmly based in a less global and more personal world and armed with new image-making skills, Marsico returned to being the social observer with the hope of addressing current societal issues. Works created in this period represent a radical departure from the photographer’s established working practice, integrating nontraditional printmaking techniques, encryption and viewer triggered lighting into his art. The first departure from a traditional documentary style of photography occurred in 2003 when he meticulously printed and bound the limited edition artist books Right Noise and Policing Pleasure under the Dionysus Press imprint. Books published under this imprint are in the artist or rare book collections of the Whitney Museum of Art, The Getty Research Institute, The Flaxman Library of the Art Institute of Chicago, University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon, UCLA, University of Iowa, Smithsonian artist book collection, University of Arizona, Notre Dame University and Stanford University among others.
In 2005 he started to integrate cryptic messages into his photographs. Passion and Politics, at the Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh, was his first installation using his encrypted printmaking process. In 2009 assimilated currency engravings were encrypted with their perceived (or the artist’s perceived) ideologies. The series entitled Face Value was exhibited at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio.
2010 to present
Marsico begins to obsess over age sensitive issues: physical, mental, sexual; realizing that the slow burn from invincible to invisible has commenced. He convinces similar aged friends to be photographed in a refreshed version of their youth. The sexually charged sequenced photographs evolve into the photo-story Age-Specific.
The Age-Specific portfolio of sequences was first released in April 2012 as a boxed set of accordion photo-stories cased with letterpress library cards. The '60s sex images of Age-Specific were exhibited in the 2013 Armory Show as part of special exhibit curated by Eric Shiner of the Warhol Museum. The large prints exemplify a refreshed version of the ’60s mantra: Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll as they explored the fast-forwarded fantasies of a generation, who 45 years earlier opened the door to sexual plasticity.
In 2015 the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts selected Marsico to be the Artist of the Year. The accompanying exhibit included a large screen 30 minute black and white video, which interacted with related photographs also on exhibit. In an adjourning gallery there was a “pay for view” exhibit of large format prints (the viewer was required to pay a quarter of a dollar for the lights to turn on for 5 minutes). The exhibit was entitled June 2015
In 2017 Marsico started work on an interactive video and still photography installation entitled Post-Work: Situating Everyday Life. At first glance this installation seems to document the mild pleasures and innocent interests of couples in retirement. But as viewers are persuaded to look inward, both the complexity of long-term endearment and the vitality of aged creativity are revealed. The installation places the viewer in the epicenter of an image bombardment that has the ability to clarify or cloud the intended meaning.