Q&A: Anthony Ricciardi

by Sabrina Gamrot

May 2, 2018

 

 

 A piece from Anthony Ricciardi's Enjoy the Moment exhibition

 

The Toronto-based artist stages a new mixed-media exhibition exploring celebrity

 

Toronto-based artist Anthony Ricciardi hasn’t been in the art world for very long, but that hasn’t stopped him from finding international success. Since he quit his corporate job and started painting a year ago, he’s had exhibitions around the world. Not to mention his collection of custom vintage jackets, which have been worn by the likes of Migos and Justin Bieber. A quick search of his name will reveal articles in Forbes and Toronto Life, pictures with celebrities and reviews of his latest work. His newest installation, Enjoy the Moment, is currently on display at Yorkville Village until May 28. We spoke to Ricciardi about the new installation, what inspires him and his plans for the future.

 

How would you describe your creative process? 

 

I believe that consistent vision and persistent creation leads to the most creative work. I never truly set out to create a specific piece of art—I use layers to naturally build depth and interest, and I continue to work on pieces until I feel they are complete.

 

From looking at your work, it is clear you draw inspiration from contemporary culture. What about it inspires you?

 

Icons, abstracts, inspirational quotes and layers are the building blocks in my artwork. I love the idea of old mixed with new—after all, modern culture is often influenced by something from the past. Whether I am working with recognizable imagery or an abstract piece with text, I strive to portray a comforting yet contemporary feeling with positive messages from the lessons we learn from iconic people and everyday life.

 

Marilyn by Anthony Ricciardi

 

You’ve had exhibitions around the world. What does it mean to have your work displayed here in Toronto at Yorkville Village?

 

Yorkville Village is a premier luxury destination and cultural hub in Toronto. While my work takes me internationally, Toronto is my hometown and to me it's very special to be recognized in your own city. To have a high-profile and interactive space that allows guests to experience artwork in uncommon settings, surrounded by the best of the best, along with other engaging activations, makes this space an incredible overall atmosphere.

 

How is this installation different than other ones you have created? 

 

The Yorkville Village gallery is something completely different and unique for me. The bright and welcoming centre space allowed us to create a 360-degree gallery that the viewer can be immersed in. The floating gallery, with lots of natural light, showcases the artwork from every angle, which encourages viewers to discover something new each time they pass by. Traditionally, my works are displayed on gallery walls or done in large-scale format murals. This installation, which is perfect for photo ops and social sharing, is completely new and different from any other exhibition we've done in the past.

 

How did you come up with the idea for a floating gallery? 

 

Yorkville Village had a neutral hanging sculpture installation up prior to my show, and, as we were brainstorming the location and set-up of my exhibition, we thought that putting paintings back-to-back and hanging them from the ceiling would drive interest, inspiration and excitement to the space.

 

Anthony Ricciardi's Enjoy the Moment exhibition © Steve Blackburn

 

What would you say to someone who is thinking about working in the creative industry but is hesitant to start?

 

Start! "Dream Bigger" is my motto and as I mentioned in my creative process, I believe in constant work and executing daily. We never know what we are capable of achieving or creating if we don't aim high and continuously work to achieve it. Nothing big ever came easy. Planning, sacrificing and never letting fear or what others think get in your way is key. Taking that leap of faith of following your passion or leaving a "comfortable" job to pursue a creative gig is not easy—however, with perseverance, discipline and relentless ambition, I believe that anyone can execute and achieve their dreams.

 

This past year has been extremely successful for you. What are you planning on doing next?

 

We have big plans to continue expanding on a global scale with exciting projects in the works in Europe, Los Angeles and Hong Kong. We're also in the midst of exploring a few significant international brand collaborations.

 

Anthony Ricciardi's Enjoy the Moment exhibition © Steve Blackburn

 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever gotten?

 

Believe in yourself. When it comes to creating art, it truly does not matter what anyone thinks. What matters is what you think. For every person that thinks your work is beautiful, someone will think the opposite. As long as you are following your heart and putting in the hard work, success will come.—Sabrina Gamrot

 

Madonna + Minnie by Anthony Ricciardi

 

This interview has been edited and condensed.

 

View more of Anthony’s work on his website.

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