21 Under 31 | Michael De Brito

SAUSAGE MAKERS, OIL, 63 x 47.
SAUSAGE MAKERS, OIL, 63 x 47.

By Bonnie Gangelhoff

BORN: Newark, NJ.

ART EDUCATION: Parsons School of Design and the New York Academy of Art, both in New York City.

STYLE: Modern traditionalism.

FIRST ART SALE: “To collector John Paxton, when I was about 22 and still attending Parsons. The painting was of the people I rode with on the train between New Jersey and New York.”

SECOND-CHOICE CAREER: Art teacher.

OTHER PASSIONS: Listening to music. “It helps me escape to my own world when I’m painting.”

MANTRA OR MOTTO: “Art comes first.”

QUIRKIEST TRAIT: “All of my traits are equally quirky.”

BIGGEST FEAR: Not being able to paint.

FAVORITE STUDIO MUSIC: Scores, usually from movies. “To me the best scores are by modern-day composers who are influenced by both the old and the new.”

BEST ADVICE RECEIVED: “A good artist knows that he is always a student of art.”

PET PEEVE: Dirty brushes.

FAVORITE ARTWORK BY ANOTHER ARTIST: JUAN DE PAREJA by Diego Velazquez.

PRICE RANGE: $2,000 to $22,000.

NEXT BIG GOAL: Teaching.

CREATIVE SPARK: Looking at Velazquez and John Singer Sargent paintings.

I’LL KNOW I’VE MADE IT WHEN: “I’m always setting new goals to achieve, so the phrase ‘making it’ doesn’t really apply.”

GALLERIES: Eleanor Ettinger Gallery, New York, NY; www.michaeldebrito.com.

Featured in our annual “21 Under 31″ article in September 2008