Joe MacFadzen, Fine Arts, Photography
“I decided to study what I love. Now it’s my career.”
When Joe MacFadzen saw South Campus, he had a feeling he’d fit right in. He wasn’t sure what to study, so he took general education classes while thinking through the options. Then, his mother said what he needed to hear: study what makes you happy.
“I realized that art and photography make me happy, so I became a fine arts major,” says MacFadzen, a photographer who now makes his living as an artist and musician.
Shortly after making his decision, MacFadzen traveled to Mexico with Prof. Arno Minkkinen’s Spirit Level international photography trip. He began taking portraits of people and places he found interesting, subjects he still enjoys. MacFadzen also got involved with the local music scene, playing bass and singing in several bands and supporting fellow musicians.
After graduation, MacFadzen began working at the Revolving Museum in Lowell through the Mass Commonwealth Corp. and became the organization’s carpenter and art technician. Growing up, MacFadzen had helped his father with carpentry projects and building maintenance, experience that has led to him sharing his love of art through the organization’s educational programs.
“At the Revolving Museum, the sky’s the limit,” says MacFadzen, who now leads teens in creating murals and works on larger projects at the museum. “I’ve always had lots of ideas and now I can put them in motion. Any creative idea can be my job that day.”
Those big ideas also exist in MacFadzen’s musical life. His band, Los Bungalitos, which formed at UMass Lowell has toured throughout the country and internationally. MacFadzen’s other band, The Big Sway, has also found success and continues to build its following. Meanwhile, he puts his design skills to work creating posters and logos for local musicians, spreading the word about Lowell’s expanding music scene.
During each of his adventures, he has kept his camera close by, capturing shots of both ordinary and extraordinary life events. A selection of his work can be viewed in his online portfolio
MacFadzen is part of a growing community of young alumni making Lowell more vibrant by producing and promoting exciting new music and art. He says that there is work to be done to bridge the gaps between native Lowellians and newcomers, older artists and young, but he’s energized by the recent progress.
“Lowell is a town all charged up about art,” says MacFadzen, who works with several fellow alumni and friends on creative pursuits. “By day we talk art and by night we talk music. We’re proud to be part of the community.”