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Joe Servello

Altoona native, artist and illustrator Joe Servello continues doing the work that he loves so much.  He is currently working on a book called "Senor' Frog".

Servello began his life after high school graduation, working in the shops for about six months before joining the Navy, during the Korean War.

After the Navy, he went to Penn State and graduated with a degree in Art Education.  Then, he worked at Penn State in television and graphics.

A couple of years later, he went to New York City to be in an Off-Broadway play called The World of Gunter Grass, followed by working in theater in Buffalo as an actor for about two or three years.

After that, he went back to New York City.  Servello says that all of this time, he was always drawing and was interested in illustrating books, illustrating anything.  "I was always working.  I did the posters for the theater."

When he got back to New York, he hooked up with his old friend from college, William Kotzwinkle and put together a children's book, which he took around to different publishers.  Then, finally, it was accepted and printed.  That was their first book. It was called "The Fireman".  It was about a little boy who got a toy fire truck.

After that book, they worked on other books, together, mostly children's books.  "We worked together in the city until he left and then we worked by mail together."  They did about twenty different books together including books for adults and other kinds of projects.

Servello moved back to Altoona in 1986.  He continued to illustrate, working with authors by mail and mailing stuff back and forth to publishers.  Over the years, he had some exhibits, including exhibits in group shows in New York City.  He also did murals including one in a theater on Long Island and a hospital in New York.

**To read the complete article, please check out the new book They Came From Blair County Volume 2 due out by the end of the year.

**Information for this article was obtained through a phone interview with Joe Servello

**Photo provided by Joe Servello

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