Published on April 3rd, 2014 | by gatsbyadmin0
Dreaming in Color: SoCal Artist ANTO
In my recent search for unique art pieces for my home, I came across local artist and all-around renaissance man, ANTO. After viewing some of his work and an exhaustive process of having to choose just a few of the many amazing pieces available, he was kind enough to sit down with me and discuss his work and how he got started in the art industry.
Born and raised in Southern California, ANTO grew up around a family that was incredibly creative, albeit in a completely different area than he currently works in. Both his father and uncle had been restoring and customizing old cars and motorcycles since their teens while his grandfather, a former mechanical engineer and renaissance man himself, restores antiques and creates his own unique models out of ordinary objects . As he got older, ANTO realized that he had inherited the family’s creative gene as he began to show an interest and talent in art.
Looking at his work now, you would never guess that ANTO hasn’t had any formal training in the medium that he typically works with. With the exception of one fine art class, he is mainly self-taught and to this day continues to teach and inspire himself by observing other artists. He did however, attend the Make-up Designory (MUD) in Burbank, California and is also an extremely skilled make-up and special effects artist. In addition to painting and make-up, ANTO also dabbles in sculpting, set design and, just like the other males in his family, car and motorcycle restoration/customization.
Among his influences, ANTO lists artists Dali, “Craola“, Jeff Soto, Blaine Fontana and Bob Ross. Yes, that Bob Ross. Thinking he was joking when he rounded out the influences with the latter name, I let out a little giggle thinking he had thrown that last one in as a joke. Turns out that he was serious. After observing his work as he explained, it made more sense as I realized that a great many of his pieces featured gorgeous landscapes which are a common enough subject. However, there are a few things that make his work memorable and unique.
One of the things that drew me to his work immediately was his use of color. Most of the paintings I was able to view featured stunning color contrast. He is able to combine different colors and shades in such a way that your eye is drawn to all the individual elements that come together to make up the work as a whole. As he had pointed out before, his work also features a lot of landscape work. However, within these natural settings are placed subjects that are surrealistic and completely out of place. In one piece entitled “Learning to Fly”, the background is a serene forest landscape while the foreground features a tree branch on which is perched one of ANTO’s creatures, an eyeball with the body of a bird. Another, titled “Higher Plane”, features a grassy plain with a house hovering on a raised piece of land, completely unreachable from the ground.
ANTO describes his work as “vivid… like a lucid dream.” It certainly captures that dream-like aspect, displaying the juxtaposition of the ordinary with elements of fantasy and unreality. He typically works with the same materials; acrylic paint on either canvas or wood, but enjoys experimenting with different mediums. He has been commissioned to do murals in private homes, sometimes stretching across all four walls of a room and worked on a series where he used giant saw blades as his canvas. Although there are common themes throughout ANTO’s pieces, his work is continuously evolving based on wherever he finds inspiration.
Check out his work on his Instagram handle, @ANTOART4 or at #ANTOART. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for purchasing inquiries or custom work.