At the age of 17, Aldo prepared a portfolio of his work and went to the Syracuse Museum and met with Lee Brown Koye, who was teaching painting there. Upon Koye’s recommendation, Anna Holmstead, Director of the Museum, hired Aldo to teach painting, making him the youngest person on staff. Aldo found out later that Lee Brown Koye was the highly regarded illustrator of the pulp magazine, “Weird Tales,” and other fantastic horror story magazines. He also illustrated scientific medical books. During one of Aldo’s visit to his studio, he encountered hundred of white mice which Koye kept out of the cages as pets. As Aldo was sitting on the floor, the mice came over to him and literally crawled over him covering his body.
Not yet two years in the United States and at the age of 18, Aldo joined VEDET, a group of artists, some from Syracuse, some from New York City. Among them was Hilton Kramer, who would later become the conservative critic of the New York Times. The group was avante-garde and everyone shared the rent of a large studio which could be accessed anytime and they all exhibited in a gallery which was housed downstairs from the studio. Aldo exhibited one painting of a woman done in green who was standing by a window holding a skull bathed in the light of the moon. Through this group, he was exposed to modern art as well as the haunting sound of Billie Holliday, as well as the work of Composer Giancarlo Menotti. One of the members, James Kleege, who was later appointed by Stanley Hayter to run his workshop in New York, encouraged Aldo to submit a portfolio to Syracuse University applying for one of their two scholarships. Aldo was awarded a full four-year scholarship in the Arts. Aldo received his BFA from Syracuse University in 1954.
After receiving his degree, Aldo taught a year at Rosary Hill College in Buffalo, New York. He received a Teaching Fellowship from the University of Oregon where he matriculated, one year transferring to another Teaching Fellowship at Notre Dame where he studied sculpture with world renowned sculptor, Ivan Mastrevic. He received his MFA from Notre Dame in 1959.
The Funeral (1948)
The Annunciation, Le Moyne College