Artist Anthony Montanino discovers sometimes unlikely subjects from his daily activities – walking, bike riding and playing in a band. His paintings are noted for their bold colors and light and shadow. His bright urban and landscapes are often void of human form but contain human evidence – a lone boat on the river, a glimmer of sun or street light on the edge of an alley dumpster. Conversely when he does capture the human – musicians rehearsing, recording and performing – his work evokes dim and sometimes smoky interiors.
There was no time in his life when Montanino was not making art. As a child he entertained his eccentric vaudeville family with his drawings and his third grade classmates with his demonstrations on how to draw a palm trees. Over the years these young roots sprouted to masterful paintings that often feature performers. Or palm trees.
An early influence was a Southern California foster brother employed as a commercial artist who gave and critiqued drawing assignments. Montanino made his first profit from art charging ten cents to draw “tattoos” on his classmates arms. But his formal training really began in Sacramento schools where he studied under Jack Ogden, Gregory Kondos, Larry Weldon and Oliver Jackson.
In 2010, with the release of the first iPad, Montanio unexpectedly adopted a new medium when he experimented painting with his fingers, not his brushes. He shares his technique in classes and workshops and it is now an important tool to prepare for oil painting and create digital prints.
Montanino paints nearly every day either in the field or in his Sacramento studio. He recently finished a private commission of 150 small paintings of Hawaii. Domestic and international collectors include hospitals, hotels, civic buildings and celebrities. A common denominator is that his collectors usually own multiple “Montaninos”.
Montanino has received awards from Sacramento Contemporary Arts, Sacramento Fine Arts Center, California State Fair, Yolo Arts Commission, and Robison-Witt Memorial Fellowship.