For his solo exhibition Artist Seen at the Art Institute Of California – Orange County, artist Tony Pinto has created a series of painted and photographic portraits of creatives—artists, gallerists, curators, designers, critics, musicians and writers, the people he considers his tribe, as they share his values and interests in sustaining a creative practice. He sees this body of work as a chance to document these important relationships and to reinforce his connection to this creative community. Beginning with photographs, Pinto has amassed a number of portraits whose source material is being presented in its own right. Shown in a grid, the format compels viewers to ponder the ‘tribe’ as a microcosm of humanity, where both difference and universality proliferate.
Pinto states, “The photos were originally shot as reference for the paintings, but have now taken a life of their own. Photographing creative people is a way of forming a connection, a bond, with them. We are compelled to create, and have shared a creative moment. Something new exists that wasn’t there before.”
Some of Pinto’s photographs are then transformed into large-scale oil paintings. Pinto isolates and carefully cuts the shape of the head from the wooden panel, transforming the works into quasi sculptures. Each portrait has a unique shape that is derived from the specificities of the subject’s head. Pinto is an accomplished painter who finesses his expressive brush strokes to create realistic representations. Each painting captures the essence of the sitter and together the disembodied images become a compelling portrait of the local art community.
Tony Pinto is an established artist, designer and educator currently living in Anaheim Hills, California. He received a BA from the University of Massachusetts, Boston and an MFA from California State University, Los Angeles. He currently teaches courses in design, painting, and art appreciation at Coastline Community College in Newport Beach, California State University, Fullerton, and Irvine Valley College, Irvine, CA. Pinto also exhibits his artwork on a regular basis. Recent group exhibitions include Text Me at the Museum of Design, Atlanta, GA (2017); Like Mark, Coastline Community College, Newport Beach, CA (2016) and MAS Attack 13, Torrance Art Museum, CA (2015).
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