Osheaga Arts and Music Festival

This year (2016 ), I was nominated for the 2016 Osheaga Arts and Music Festival. It’s a multi-day, indie, music festival that is held annually in the summer at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Sainte-Hélène in Montreal. I hope that you stopped by the Osheaga Arts Village to see what local artists created for the festival.

It was very exciting to be a part of this amazing festival once again this year working with En Masse Pour Les Masses on some bigger and even better installation works! Check out the visual artists line-up. It was great – Kirsten McCrea, Peru Dyer Jalea, Gracia Dyer Jalea,  Olivier Bonnard, Jorden David Doody and so many more!? Fred Caron killin’ it once again.

Osheaga has established itself as the most important festival of its genre in Canada. It attracts over 100 bands and over 135,000 music lovers from North America and Europe last year. Osheaga is also considered one of the best music events in the world in line with Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.

Pictured here is the mural I had the pleasure of doing for Osheaga. On the flip side – AIR element and celestial mapping done with nails and line wire in hot pink, of course.

It was an amazing experience with so many talented artists. A huge thanks to @fredifredfred for the opportunity, to @kway_official, @neweracap @newerator, @vanscanada for the awesome gear, to my boyz @earth_crusher, @peru143 for helping me reach the high spots and to master chef @chefchuckhughes for feeding us in Artist World all weekend- you put together an impressive spread.

The Osheaga music festival Montreal was an unforgettable time!

 

My Birds up Close

People know my work best for my dramatic, large-scale paintings and murals of photorealistic birds. It’s a passion that I have had since childhood. However, it would be wrong to consider me a naturalist or wildlife artist. When I do a painting of a bird, I am not aiming for realism. I am trying to capture not only their image but the stillness of their souls. That stillness is meant to inspire reflection for those of us whose lives are in constant movement.

Visualization is key for me.  It is a kind of zen process. I have to see the painting as a completely finished piece, in my mind.  I establish the subject, the layout, the colors and the size… I even sometimes see it hung in a particular setting or establishment. If it’s street art, then I visualize it as part of the whole environment and everything around it.

When I do a painting of birds, I always start with the eyes because I feel like they need to communicate to me. I need to be able to relate or communicate with the subject and then it morphs from that point on. Because the bird is a single theme for me, I always put a plain background in a solid colour. I really want to emphasize the bird. I want its true character to shine through.

Birds have long been strong symbols for aboriginal people throughout the world. The crane has represented longevity, the owl wisdom, the parrot word magic, the cardinal power and enthusiasm, the canary illumination and the crow prophecy. Birds have also been symbols of spiritual growth or transcendence and man’s striving to attain that goal. Their flight has symbolized our own journey of release, renunciation, atonement and compassion.

For me, birds have always symbolized freedom and our awareness of our own forever-fleeting present. I feel that my paintings of birds not only show us the beauty of the bird itself but are also telling us to enjoy each of life’s individual moments – “Carpe diem; seize the day!”

In the painting pictured above, “The Merkaba in Flight”, I painted a Black-Capped Chickadee in flight. Behind it is the Star or Double Tetrahedron, also called the Merkaba, perhaps the most astounding geometric and all encompassing of all designs in Sacred Geometry. In early Jewish Mysticism, it was a vehicle (Merkavah) by which Ezekiel ascended into heaven. In Ancient Egypt, this primal pattern was called the Mer-Ka-Ba (Mer or light, Ka or soul, and Ba the body or reality) or rotating light that would take the spirit and the body from one world into another.

I hope that it touches you in some way.

I painted the Merkaba also in the Montreal offices of Shopify. In this high-tech environment, the Merkaba now becomes a symbol for personal and business growth and transcendence to a higher level.

To see more birds, please visit my Fine Art Gallery and my Studio Store! See the Shopify Merkaba in Commissions.

The Crow Takes Centre Stage

Wall art, public art, urban art or street art has evolved! It started as an underground movement linked to the hip-hop culture. At one time, it may have been called illegal art, graffiti art and even wall therapy.

Now, it’s international festivals in many major cities (Montreal, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Dallas, Lima, Buenos Aires and more), with artists who have fine-arts degrees. Google’s Art Project has dedicated a web site to Street Art. When the festivals are over, they leave behind revitalized neighbourhoods, more tourism and increased access to art in an engaging, open-air museum.

I have created a number of large-scale, street-art creations on walls in both Montreal an Miami both individually and collaboratively.

In 2015, I was humbled to be chosen as one of only 10 Quebec artists to participate in Montreal’s Mural International Art Festival. Another 10 artists were international talents. St-Laurent Blvd. was closed between Sherbrooke Street and Mount Royal Avenue for a record 11 days, as artists produced their works.

I chose to paint The Crow. I’ve been fascinated by crows since I was a child. They’re often regarded as evil omens, messengers of prophecy or even birds of death — I was trying to take that all away so people could see how amazingly beautiful crows really are. Hopefully, by allowing The Crow’s beauty to shine in happy, positive light and color, all our childhood fears would fall by the wayside. Then people might not be so negative about crows.

Thousands of visitors, aided by a site map (3522 St. Dominique, Montreal), admired the progress of the wall-works. They walked on their own or as part of guided tours that included films as well as visits to market stalls and street art galleries. Many Montrealers were introduced to my work and became fans. They captured The Crow on their phones and cameras and tweeted or re-tweeted it, facebooked it, blogged it or instagramed it. Carle Bernier-Genest, well-known blogger on his site, “C’est toi ma Ville”, writes about the City of Montreal – its beauty, pleasures, diversity and future. He said,”Le Corbeau de Melissa Del Pinto (MURAL 2015) est un véritable bijou. Elle réussit à nous faire admirer cet oiseau, qui autrement nous laisse indifférent, sinon craintif. Une œuvre, qui réussit à nous faire sortir du ‘cadre’ social habituel, est une œuvre importante.”

Many people stopped by personally to tell me how much they admired my work. On June 14, 2015 Bono was one of them. Bono is the lead vocalist of the rock band U2 as well as a singer-songwriter, musician, venture capitalist, businessman and internationally-renowned philanthropist.

Mural 2

Please visit my Street Art Gallery to see more!

Painting the Emperor’s Son

In March 2015, I was commissioned to paint a work of art inspired by L’Aiglon (The Eaglet), an opera in five acts, set to Alexandrine verse by Edmond Rostand. The Opera paints a picture of Napoleon’s son, Napoléon François Charles Joseph Bonaparte, who was at birth proclaimed King of Rome. While he sought to free himself from the shadow of his illustrious father, he ended up simply following in his father’s footsteps.

I was asked to execute my portrait of Napoleon II in real time at the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal (OSM) before and during intermissions of the March 17th, 19th and 21st concerts.

In addition, under the direction of the marketing firm LNDMRK, Montreal video production company BLVD streamed a video of me painting in the lobby onto the outside of the street facades of the Kennedy Pavilion of UQAM and the Maisonneuve Theatre located in Montreal’s entertainment district. Thousands of intrigued, street spectators watched me as I worked in the Theatre lobby and as conductor Kent Nagano led the world-class musicians of the OSM in concert.

Del Pinto OSM Montreal 4

I also had the pleasure of meeting Kent George Nagano who is an American conductor and opera administrator. He has been the music director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra since 2006 and is general music director of the Hamburg State Opera since 2015 through 2020. Photos are by Koralie Woodward.

Del Pinto OSM Montreal 3

Please visit my Press Room for 2 videos of this event!

La Petite du Musée

I have completed a significant number of commissioned pieces for various Canadian, American and international clients.

In 2012, I was commissioned by The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal’s largest museum and amongst the most prominent in Canada, to do a painting for their 2012 – 2013 school bulletin.

I decided to re-interpret William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s painting Parure des Champs. Using elements such as the crafts young students created during workshops at the Museum, art supplies, a school bag and running shoes; I turned the little girl into ‘La Petite du Musée’.

I also included a Montreal skyline in the distance and, in keeping with my theme from my WANDERLUST exhibit, I painted a sparrow on some spray cans. It’s a typical bird you would see all over urban Montreal.

Please visit my Commissions page for more information!

My Wanderlust

In May 2011, I held my first solo exhibition entitled “WANDERLUST, our innate desire to wander, travel and explore the world”.

My WANDERLUST collection of birds and sculptures were meant to take people away. However, the stillness of the birds in the paintings is almost counterintuitive and asks us to take time for stillness. In an often demanding, overwhelming world of constant speed and stress, the birds give us a strategy to cope. WANDERLUST proposed to us that although we have the ability to fly to different places; we sometimes choose to stay and be still and, in that stillness, lies a kind of magic.

Some of WANDERLUST pieces are presently at The Judith Liegeois Designs Gallery in Naples, Florida. Liegeois Designs is a well-established, interior design firm with 4,000 square feet of gallery space.

My work has also been exhibited at the famous Las Olas Fine Arts Gallery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It has been the primary venues for contemporary art for over 22 years, featuring original works by over 50 award-winning international artists.

The following is a list of selected group exhibitions:

  • Midway Gallery San Francisco (2015)
  • Art Basel Miami, Déja vu Decor Gallery, Miami (2012)
  • Art Basel Miami, Del Toro Shoes, The Wynwood Building, Miami (2012)
  • God Save the Queen, Foufounes Electriques, Montreal (2012)
  • Salon Masse, Galerie Pangée, Montreal (2012)
  • En Masse, Scope Art Fair, Miami (2011)
  • BIG BANG, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal (2011)
  • Lancement magazine Décover #12, Saint Denis, Montreal (2011)

Please visit the Exhibitions page for more pictures or my Studio Store to buy!

En Masse

I am a member of En Masse, a Montreal-based, multi-artist collaborative drawing project.

En Masse, currently under the direction of Botkin and Rupert Bottenberg, was started in 2009 and has worked with over 250 international artists. It draws life from the many creative individuals who take part in the projects that create large-scale, highly spontaneous drawings in black and white. EN MASSE explores the creation of a collective vision; works created together that are greater than any one person could create alone.

I participated in numerous projects with other En Masse artists – Chuchai; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Michel de la Cheneliere Studio; Excalibur, Fima; The Salon Masse group exhibition at Galerie Pangée in Montreal; Studio 301; Surface Jalouse; Miami Scope and Fountain Art Fair and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts  Big Bang exhibit.

In December 2011, En Masse was invited to participate in the Miami Scope and Fountain Art Fair. Since 1970, Art Basel’s three fairs – in Basel, Hong Kong and Miami Beach – rank as the premier shows of their kind, presenting 20th and 21st century art with a strong curatorial perspective. Their reputation for showing high quality work has attracted leading international galleries and collectors, offering visitors the most important art from around the world.

In 2012, En Masse was again in Miami and completed the large monochromatic wall (pictured below) in the Wynwood Arts District.

Please see more En Masse pictures and videos by visiting my Street-Art Gallery.

Florida 2013

“Fattal” Attraction

The Chromatic Festival was conceived as an annual Montréal arts party/festival designed to showcase art and artists. It organizes special events and takes art out of traditional spaces and introduces it into places that one might not expect.

In the summer of 2015, part of the Festival was held in Saint Henri area, near the Fattal lofts. The lofts are home to a variety of Montreal artists, many of those within the punk community and others hoping to preserve an alternative lifestyle.

I was invited to do a mural. Unfortunately, the festival organizers had not cleared the painting-over of the wall that was assigned to me. So, when I started prepping for my artwork, some people were understandably upset. Understandably, some local residents saw me as not respecting the art of the graffiti artist. The unwritten rule of graffiti artists is not to touch or vandalize public artwork.

I went ahead with my art piece and completed my Montreal Pigeon, a bird that is the standard in all major cities. The pigeon is in flight, raising the hopes, dreams and spirits of the Fattal community.

Sharing the Space

I noticed, a few months later, that the graffiti art had partly made its way back to the bottom of the wall. I am ok with that. The unknown graffiti artist repainted his art but also respected my pigeon. I see it as sharing the wall-space.

 

Please see more pictures by visiting my Street-Art Gallery.

Have You Seen the Sky?

I love painting skies! If emotion could be painted it would be in the form of a sky. Someone once said that sky is a medium of revelation through which God shows himself to us.

Do you remember as a child looking up at the clouds floating by and seeing each cloud as a bird or a face or a car? Do you remember the myriad of color shades in the stormy, angry, rain clouds coming across the lake at the cottage? Do you remember your favorite, burning-red, sunset sky?

What is your favorite museum, landscape or cloudscape masterpiece – Constable, Turner, Van Gogh?

My landscape paintings are in the abstract painting style. Abstract Art doesn’t even try to look like anything from the real world. The subject of the painting is simply the colors used, the textures in the artwork and the materials.

My landscape paintings give me a great deal of personal creative expression by inputting into it emotions and feelings. By definition, paintings done in this style are intentionally different from real life – colors are more vibrant, forms carry more emotion, details and texture add life. All of this allows us to see the landscape in a totally new way, as if infused with emotion, hyper-energy and a life of its own. All of a sudden it speaks to us; communicates something. I do not add materials to my paintings for added visual or tactile texture. I allow the composition and the interwoven combination, the intensity and the iridescence of the colors themselves to speak to us.

Please visit my Landscape Gallery to see more of my paintings!

My Studio My Art

Artists’ studios are as varied as their art but they are always sacred places dedicated to creating. The studio can be a rented space, a back yard, a movable location that changes from time to time, a location under a willow by the pond, a corner room or a corner of the bedroom or – my re-purposed solarium.

I am lucky that my studio is in my home. Once my other life’s work is under control, I retreat to my studio, a re-purposed solarium, to execute my art. It’s my sanctuary where I can lose myself in my work.

It’s a light-filled space that brightens up my soul. All my supplies are close at hand. I have a place to hang up my inspirations and Carmen Rizzo’s electronic music to listen to.

I don’t have the luxury of time – or peace and quiet for that matter, so meditation for inspiration is not how it “comes to me” as it may for most artists!

Visualization is key for me. Before I begin a painting, I have to see it as a completely finished piece in my mind. I have established the subject, the layout, the colors and the size… I even sometimes see it hung in a particular setting or establishment. My visualization happens while I’m busy doing everyday mundane stuff. Then, when I can, I retreat to my studio.

I know it doesn’t sound very rock and roll, spiritual or romantically poetic – but it’s real.

To see more of my art, please visit my Fine Art Gallery . To buy my art, please visit my Studio Store.