Emerging Artists | Anthony Salvo

Mixing it up

Anthony Salvo, Big See’s the Day, oil, 36 x 48.

Anthony Salvo, Big See’s the Day, oil, 36 x 48.

This story was featured in the March 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  March 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

In Southern California, where landscape paintings abound, Costa Mesa artist Anthony Salvo likes to spice things up. The landscape painter is just as smitten with the region’s beauty as the next plein-air artist, but he’s equally passionate about vintage automobiles and decadent culinary delights, especially the treats his Sicilian mother baked when he was a child. So naturally, Salvo chooses to paint it all, from an autumn view along Laguna Canyon Road to a rusty 1953 Dodge pickup to perfected renditions of his mom’s apple pie. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.

If last year is any indicator of what’s ahead for Salvo in 2017, the future’s looking bright. “All of these great things happened last year,” he says. In June, he took first place at Laguna Plein Air Painters Association’s Best of Plein Air for his portrayal of a breezy scene along a protected cove in Laguna Beach. He also became a signature member of the group and sold five paintings at its prestigious invitational in the fall. It’s taken 45 years of knowledge to get here, says Salvo, and to the loose, energetic brushwork he’s been aiming for.

Salvo learned to paint with oils at age 12, but he never guessed he’d become a full-time painter one day. Spurred by an affinity for illustration, Salvo studied graphic design at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and in 1988, he opened a boutique advertising and design firm that flourished for years. But in 2007, when the economy slumped and business slowed, the time felt right to pick up the brush again, and he began painting en plein air.

Over the next few years, Salvo took workshops with accomplished painters like Ken Auster, Jeffrey Horn, and Greg LaRock, who advised him to produce studio work, too, to hone his plein-air skills. Dutifully, Salvo started painting apples and pears. “I was so bored,” he laughs. But when he spotted food art at a local exhibit, Salvo foresaw an enticing venture in photographing and then painting mouthwatering fare—greasy double cheeseburgers, See’s Candies, the “delectable” stuff. He also roams Orange County foraging for old Volkswagen Beetles, buses, and other nostalgic vehicles to photograph and later paint. “I like it all,” he says. “You have to push yourself in different directions.” —Kim Agricola

representation
Studio 7 Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA; Studio 2817, Newport Beach, CA.

This story was featured in the March 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  March 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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