Through the Eyes of Concetta Antico: The World's First Tetrachromat Artist
Growing up in Australia's picturesque landscape and living in Southern California for the past twenty-five years, Concetta Antico has always been tapped into the beauty of her surroundings from a very young age. And although she's always captured much attention for her remarkable ability to paint these portraits of nature with vibrating arrays of color in record fast time, Concetta has suddenly skyrocketed to infamy as the world's first tetrachromat artist making international headlines.
Tetrachromacy is a rare genetic trait that only a very small percentage of humans share and while the average population has the ability to see approximately one million colors, a tetrachromat is born with a 4th color vision receptor that dramatically increases their range up to 99 million colors.
We had the opportunity to meet Concetta Antico and she let us in on the world through her eyes and her life purpose as an artist.
Can you explain what a tetrachromat sees, that the rest of us doesn't?
Let's look at a pile of rocks for example. What colors do you see? Most people would describe them as being drab gray or brown, but when I look at the same rocks I see many different shades of colors such as turquoises and shimmering pinks along with the grays and browns.
Were you always aware that you see the world differently from others?
No, I had absolutely no idea and I had never even heard of tetrachromacy, until three years ago when one of my art students suggested I get tested for it. I've been teaching oil painting for years and I've always asked my students, "Do you see the pinks here, the greens here..?" I never realized that they had just been politely agreeing with me this whole time, I guess because I was the teacher.
How did you feel when you first learned that you were a tetrachromat?
Actually I was pretty horrified. I think it's pretty shocking for anyone when they first find out that they're not the same as everyone else, no matter what the reason is. But then as I learned more, I began to accept it and I became really excited. I realized it was in the stars for me to have this genetic gift and it really confirmed my life purpose as an artist.
What is your life's purpose as an artist?
To teach people how to see again and how to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us in everyday life. Everyone has the potential to expand their ability to see colors the way I do, but our urban lifestyles and our focus on technology is really taking that away. I'm the one here waving the color flag, pointing out the turquoise in the gray rocks or the pinks and reds in the trees and also teaching people to tap into their own interpretations of what they see.
You're also considered somewhat of a trailblazer in the art world. Not only did you open the first retail art store to offer oil painting classes, but you even created your own color palette for teaching as well. Tell us about that.
When I sold my first house, I basically put all the proceeds towards opening my first retail space in 1995 and I decided it would be the ideal place for me to start teaching people who were interested in learning fine art oil painting classes. Nobody else was doing that at the time, so the "Salon of Art" really took off and the concept really caught on with other studios all over the country offering the same thing. Now it's basically evolved into a big trend.
But I think what still sets me apart though is that I've been able to use my ability to see colors and translate that into my process of teaching others. I created my own color palate that really helps people conceptualize the components of oil painting and a lot quicker too.
You also opened your own gallery, the Concetta Antico Fine Art Gallery in San Diego. Tell us about that.
Yes, I've been painting for most of my life so I have a pretty big collection of work and the Concetta Antico Fine Art Gallery allows me to show it on an ongoing basis. People can simply contact me in advance for a private viewing and we also have a lot of public shows there as well. In fact, we'll be having the eleventh annual "Salon of Art" student show at the gallery on January 31, 2015 from 6-10 pm. The student shows are always very exciting and they always draw a pretty big crowd.
You also host your own solo shows at the gallery as well. Tell us about the next one you have coming up.
I'll be featuring my Australian themed paintings in the show, "Gum Nuts, Bunyips and Billabongs - The Australian Collection," on Saturday, March 28, 2015 from 6-9 pm. This is going to be a really fun show with Australian musicians and we're having a didgeridoo player there as well.
What are some of the other projects you're working on?
I do a lot of public speaking and it's inspired me to start writing the book I'm working on now, "The Artful Spirit." I'm also expanding my "color expertise" into other fields as well such as working with oil painting manufacturers and even exploring the possibilities of working with companies like "Apple" who rely on colors in almost everything they design.
What are your plans for the future?
I'm one of those people who always wants to expand my horizons and go back to my roots at the same time. I'm actually buying a farm back in Australia so I can raise my family there, continue my career here and enjoy the best of both worlds traveling back and forth.
You can find out more about Concetta Antico, her entire collection of work and her upcoming events by going directly to her website at: http://ConcettaAntico.com
You can also find out about her oil painting classes by going to the Salon of Art website at:
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