The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Antonio Macioce

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature artist Antonio (Tony) Macioce.

When did you first get started in the arts?

As a child, my passion for soccer exceeded all others. However, growing up in the land of Michelangelo and DaVinci, I also developed a love of art. I was born in Alvito, Italy, a small town about 90 miles southeast of Rome. But when I left for America, my interest in art stayed behind in Italy. 

It was not until my senior year at the University of Notre Dame that art held a place in my heart once again. In a move that perplexed many of my classmates and professors, as well as my family, I switched my major from chemical engineering to fine arts. It was not a rational decision. 

I think, as graduation approached, I listened to my heart which told me that a life spent as an engineer would make me extremely unhappy. I opted instead for advertising design. 

After graduation, the long and difficult road to a career in advertising began. That career proved to be a long, exciting, creative, and ultimately, extremely satisfying one. I worked with many creative, wild, eccentric and wonderful people, most of whom had learned the value of making decisions that were not always rational. 

Painting, for me, has not been a career. It is a wonderful hobby. My advertising career spanned over thirty years and as that career moved toward its end, I returned to fine arts where it all began.

Painting has given me a way to continue my love for the creative process and an amazing way to pass my leisure days. There is no pressure to paint for profit but only for the pleasure of doing it. 

To my great satisfaction, I have been fortunate that some galleries and customers have found my work appealing. 

In life, we often miss the obvious. The signs directing me to a career in art were there at a very early age. Yet, when I moved to America, I ignored them for several years. The journey back to my childhood passion has been a long one, sometimes demanding, but always satisfying.

In addition to a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Notre Dame, my education also includes several fine arts courses at Wayne State University and advertising courses at the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. Also, I have had many drawing and painting courses at BBAC (Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center). Any time spent with fine arts is enjoyable. In addition, there is great satisfaction painting with other artists, having your work critiqued by others, and learning from seeing the work of other artists.

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?

I have not really had a mentor. A relative in my hometown of Alvito, who did ink drawings and oil paintings, inspired me to start drawing when I was six or seven years old.

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?

I am a member of the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center .

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?

My painting of the Coliseum and a section of my Italian hometown, even though they are more realistic than the way I love to paint, represent an important essence of who I am and where my life began.

Leonardo da Vinci once said that one never recovers from one’s own childhood.

Has your art appeared in any city programs or events, such as the Public Art Program at City Hall or Art on the Grand?

Yes. My paintings have been in the Public Art Program at City Hall.

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

The majority of my paintings are from my imagination. My approach to color is instinctive rather than predetermined. After three years majoring in Chemical Engineering, I switched to Advertising and Design. Therefore, I want painting to be anything but an exact science. It’s more enjoyable to be surprised by what an empty canvas has been transformed into when the brush stops. One of my favorite quotes is from Picasso, “I don’t know in advance what I am going to put on canvas any more than I decide beforehand what colors I am going to use.”

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?

My advice would be that whether your painting style is impressionistic, expressionistic, abstract or photo realism, you must enjoy it and feel a tremendous satisfaction when you put down your brushes. It shouldn’t feel like work, rather, it should feel like a moment of pleasure.

Learn more about Tony Macioce and his art here.

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