"Blissful" by Jonathan Centeno

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The universe has a way. As it turns out, the "unlikeliest" of commissions came as a truly welcomed diversion from across the globe. As the conversation went back and forth between the collector and our curator, it became apparent we were dealing with a person with a passion for good design, art and life itself. It soon became clear that we had much in common.

I thought about our common ancestry- from a tiny spit of land called Calabria to two huge nations in Canada and Australia. The irony might be that if we broke into our ancient dialect, we might actually understand each other. Those languages have all but disappeared in Calabria, despite efforts to preserve them. Lord knows it would take some time to pick up on the Aussie accent. I'm sure he'd also have a tough time talkin' Canadian eh? But a common culture can span time and space. Art and music do the same.

And so I am toasting the completion of "Blissful" with a panino and a glass of Barbaresco. She'll soon be on her way down under to adorn the wall of a beautifully designed home for a young and happy family.

Grazie mille, e tanti saluti !

Pietro


P.S....ahhh...that was good. Topping it off with a canoli, and espresso sambuca. Salute!


"Blissful" 40x48 acrylic on canvas, 2019 by Pietro Adamo. Private Commission, Sydney, Australia

Sunshine Smile by Jonathan Centeno

Sunshine Smile 56” x 46” Acrylic on wood panel (Private Collection)

Sunshine Smile 56” x 46” Acrylic on wood panel (Private Collection)

Icons have become somewhat of a tradition in today's art.  I came to them quite by accident.  In doing so, I summoned memories of having grown up in the sixties, and of having felt the "real" presence of some of these larger-than-life stars.  For some people, there is always a positive, happy vibe associated with that time, and with some of those icons, despite the tragic nature of some of their fates.  

For me, the Icon series has always been about the nostalgia.  I recall, as a young boy, growing up in the Christie Pits area of Toronto, passing by the Gibson Broom Company on my way to Essex Street Public School.  As a young kid, I was always interested in things that were drawn or painted.  In those days, sign painting, and advertising by signage were prevalent, and perhaps more important as an ad medium than they are today.

In evoking the image of an icon today, does the artist then forego the notion that the Icon is the subject?  Does the true subject, considering all of the interpretations in today's flooded art supermarket, now become the artist's take on the icon?

Some faces have been rendered so often, and by so many, that they have been left as soulless.  

I'll admit that in depicting Marylin, I wanted to know as much about her life as possible prior to paying homage, and, as such, throwing my hat into the ring.  I did my research, and I am satisfied that I have continued to treat the subject with respect.

We are borrowing the image, as artists: so that we can express what we want to say, very often with little regard for the "essence" of the icon.  Their images have become a commodity.  

My Icon series is centered on the signage.  The fact that these pieces are made in an old-school manner, and that the imperfections are celebrated rather than polished and hidden is actually part of the subject.  Those old signs, painted and re-painted, exposed to the elements were gems.  I can still see them in my mind's eye.  Colours seeping through, rivets, rust, running paint, layer upon layer.  The passage of time recorded for the world to behold.  It all depended on how you looked at it.  Perhaps the passage of the years has softened everything and made it tolerable, less acidic.  Ours was a truly pre-graffiti era, and so I have rendered my pieces in that spirit.  


Once Upon A Time by Jonathan Centeno

Once Upon A Time 56” x 46” Acrylic on wood panel

Once Upon A Time 56” x 46” Acrylic on wood panel

When I finished painting the Once Upon A Time, the Raptors were down 2-0 to the Bucks.  It looked grim, but a steadfast, even-keeled #2 told an interviewer that to be a championship team, they'd have to overcome adversity. 

I was inspired to go to my studio the night of the "shot".  I've never sketched and painted so quickly. To create the final image is a process, however, and so the Raps would be down by two by the time the piece was ready for showing.  

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Tonight, however, on this Thursday night in May, the completed piece rests in the window of Hazelton Gallery.  My curators decided to "launch" it at the right moment as the Raptors have won 3 straight since then.  On Saturday, #2 and his band of brothers will get a chance at Raptor history.  My personal good luck charm in the form of a tribute painting, judging by the furor on Facebook and Instagram, has played a small role in all of this.  In this season of finales, in this season of magical moments,  the piece acquired a GOT vibe to it, but unlike the final season of the drama, the piece has not disappointed.  And the Raptors, no matter what happens, have not disappointed their fans, and this city.

Monsieur LEONARD was born a Raptor forever on the night he sealed the deal with Philly.  On that night, he shone as if he was the Northern King, come to steal the iron throne.  Since that night, his legend has continued to expand, and in the minds of basketball fans everywhere, he has been placed in the company of the game's all-time elite.

So the moment, as I saw it, had him in  golden glow, with the ball on fire, and himself a crimson and purple Raptor in emergence.

Signed, sealed and delivered.  Everything from here on in is gravy.

At this writing, the team is up 3-2 on the monstrous Bucks, and may advance with a victory on home court.  

Artistic inspiration can from anywhere, any moment.

Once upon a Time there was a Raptor King....



Check out our "Four Leaf Clover" in the window at Hazelton Gallery, Yorkville...TORONTO!

Rebirth of Venus by Jonathan Centeno

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Standards of beauty change from century to century, or  from generation to generation.  In this era, they seem to change with each passing tweet.  Nonetheless, we can gaze into the past and catch a glimpse of what an ideal Renaissance standard might be in Botticelli's Venus.  Appropriating such a piece means treating it with the respect it deserves, and so the one and only Marylin could ever possibly grace the Rebirth of Venus.

She seems comfortable and at home in the midst of the classical figures by Botticelli. Picked out of a series of black and white stills, she seems to usher in her justifiable technicolour debut which should come into focus any second now. Or maybe never.

No, there is no graffiti.   No Mickey Mouse.  No Einsteins holding up Love is the Answer placards. Ah, but of course, there is a bird!  It's springtime. Rebirth. Of course!  "I've got sunshine...and the month of May"....my girl...of course!!!


RELAX.  It's a painting.  Just a painting.  Make of it what you will. 

But it is the month of May, and if you are in town (Yorkville) and wish to witness the Rebirth of Venus, do visit the Hazelton Gallery.


….I guess you'd say, what can make me feel this way...


Rebirth of Venus, 48x60 acrylic on wood panel, Hazelton Gallery, Toronto 

The Stars in my Studio: A Special delivery in this time of Easter and Passover by Jonathan Centeno

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What are we made of? What comprises us?  We are at once sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, partners, friends, mothers, fathers, nephews, nieces, aunts and uncles.  A universe in each and every one of us.  In each and every one of us a unique perspective. No two are alike. Not even twins.  

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Some science suggests that we could be nothing more than part of a matrix, a simulation, and that the truth can be found in mathematics.  Math is a man-made concept, is it not? 

Our inherent arrogance leads us to believe that we can eventually get to the bottom of it all.

Do we truly want to arrive at the nothingness that is the all-knowing, collective everything?

We are comprised of the encapsulated moments that give our lives meaning.  Meaning, significance, spirituality: perhaps they are losing steam as science marches on and attempts to replace them with pragmatism.  

I would beg to differ. I admit to not being able to wrap my head around some of the latest discoveries, and that the notion of earth itself being but a grain of sand in the universe freaks me out. 

Why then, does it all seem to become clear and make perfect sense when I stare into my grandson's Aegean blue eyes?

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Today I delivered a piece which is not about ego (mine or the subject's) or any kind of narcissism.  Rather, it is entirely about Gratitude.  It speaks of family pride and love, and of the special moments which comprise a unique life. A one-of-a-kind, never again, forever and -a-day special, meaningful gift of a life.   

We should take a moment each day to remember that there's a place where there's no space or time.

A special thanks to Andrea at ADM Design Inc. for making it all happen.



Nirvana: Begrungingly Yours by Jonathan Centeno

Nirvana: Begrungingly Yours 40 x 48 acrylic on wood panel

Nirvana: Begrungingly Yours 40 x 48 acrylic on wood panel

Nirvana altered the course of music history. Cobain’s life like all life on this planet was brief. His life was cut short. Like a shooting star his was one brilliant, shining moment. Many thanks to a collector who privileged me with this commission. -Pietro Adamo

Woodstock 50: Unearthed by Jonathan Centeno

Woodstock 50 : Unearthed 60” x 48” acrylic and mixed media on wood panel.

Woodstock 50 : Unearthed 60” x 48” acrylic and mixed media on wood panel.

I was fourteen years old and could only salivate after the thought of what had transpired in the summer of '69.  

An entire generation was going to the moon.

Literally.

Everywhere was a song and a celebration.

The jet bombers turned into butterflies.

We were stardust.  We were Golden.

Was that it?  Was that our School of Athens moment? Was that truly the dawn of a new age?

THAT WAS FIFTY YEARS AGO.  

Today, the only line that seems to ring true is credited to the WHO: .......same as the old boss.  We did get fooled again, and again.


I painted " Woodstock 50: Unearthed " as an archaeological fragment, a slightly worn out figment of my imagination dug out of the fondest rose-coloured memories of a youth who waited in the wings, watched longingly from the sidelines.  Too young and Catholic to truly participate, but old enough to know what was going on.  Fifty years on, I wouldn't trade my vantage point for the world.  I gave it a passing thought that summer-how could I possibly get there, and how much would it cost? 

But I had to work.


 At my grandfather's grocery store.


Didn't stop me from dreaming about it, though.



Plus it was in New York.


Oh well....


My dream will have to do.

"Woodstock 50: Unearthed" , mixed media on wood, 48"x60" by Pietro Adamo.


Enjoy responsibly.

Exploration & Discovery by Jonathan Centeno

Exploration 58” dia. circle  Acrylic on wood panel

Exploration 58” dia. circle Acrylic on wood panel

Discovery 58” dia circle. Acrylic on wood panel

Discovery 58” dia circle. Acrylic on wood panel

Exploration and Discovery are the two circular pieces currently receiving much attention.  True, the circle seems to be all the rage today as a preferred shape, and spheres can be seen as part of, or central to art installations in many exhibitions.

My decision to fill the circles with simple, fragmented patterns came as a result of where my mind always goes when confronted by the wonderful circle: globe, universe, exploration, discovery, and archaeology.  I have worked within the framework of the circle many times, and always, I tend to feel the allure of new boundaries, and no boundaries.  

For Exploration and Discovery, I went back to the fragments of pottery excavated and displayed in the museums of Athens, Rome, Madrid, London, Sicily and Crete.  The worn finishes from frescoes in Iraklion and Pompeii. These seemingly simple patterns can be found around the globe.  The simple geometry acts as a universal visual language, like music for the eyes.  These patterns link us more than we might give them credit for.  They can be found anywhere: On clothing, on utensils, as architectural motifs in government buildings or wooden huts- in temples, cathedrals or primitive worship circles.  They randomly appear, and practically everywhere on the planet, in every culture, in some form or another.  Humans have been discovering and re-discovering these patterns as if they all were mandalas.  Universal visual truths perhaps.  Perhaps they tell us more about our similarities than our differences. 

Wherever you go- there you are. 

Exploration and Discovery, 58" diameter acrylic on wood panel 2019

60’s Mona by Jonathan Centeno

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Did it really happen? The SIXTIES. That time, that decade, that Generation. Talkin' bout my Generation. 

We did go to the moon, didn't we?  Or did we? Did we really wear bell-bottomed elephant pants in purple, pink, orange and turquoise?

Every epoch has its Mona Lisa.  Twiggy was ours.  No, it wasn't Marilyn or Raquel or some voluptuous goddess. 

It was all in her.  In Twiggy we see the whole notion of that period.   The emergence of a new consciousness which has since faded somewhat as the generation that questioned authority and the status quo eventually seized it and became "the new boss"- same as the old boss.  The generation that questioned and demanded answers eventually settled into its lazy boy chair for life.

Today, those who question and demand answers are often regarded as "conspiracy theorists".  We seem to have to sift through more truths than at any time in history.

Today we have the internet.  Omnipotence.  Big brother. Super Bowl commercials. Huawei. Massage Lazy Boy chairs.

Maybe the Sixties required some form of innocence in order for the revolution to happen.  Or did it?  The current generation, through no fault of its own seems to have been lulled to sleep.  Death by smartphone.

Careful.  We might wake them up.

Let me ponder that notion while I sit back in my massage "Chaise Lounge". 

"Sixties Mona" acrylic on wood panel, 48x40

Highlights of 2018 by Jonathan Centeno

 I will state emphatically that this has been a very busy year which has been filled with many late surprises.  A year-end review of the most important pieces seems to be in order.  The year provided many opportunities for me to stretch as an artist through commissions, both in Canada and abroad.  I was able to connect through abstracts, Giardini and Icons.  Three particular commissions, all involving the Giardini series made me realise the special place these works hold in the hearts of their owners.   Seeing the expression on their faces after placing the pieces never gets old.  It is a gentle reminder as to why I paint.  

Pensiero Bello 54” x 54” Acrylic on canvas

Pensiero Bello 54” x 54” Acrylic on canvas

"Per Lei" is the title of a 36x72 brilliantly-coloured Giardini that found a home in Pittsburgh.  A west-end Montreal home is the site of another 36x72 "Nuova Gloria".   A softer, more subtle 54x54 Giardini (Pensiero Bello) adorns a wall in a beautiful east-end Toronto home.  These pieces were all painted and placed in the autumn of 2018, and seemingly came all at once, out of the blue.  What is interesting is that they all wrote to me to express the happiness and joy they derive from the work. 

I cannot begin to tell you how humbling it is.  And how heartwarming. 

I was called upon to participate in a "Soiree" as one of the "headliners" for a quartz company called Han Stone.  Little did I know that November 22, 2018 would turn out be a magical date in my career as an artist.  I had to pull out all the stops to fulfil the obligation.  The venue was superb, the music cool and the food and drink top notch.  The art had to spectacular.

The abstract pieces named for two new quartzes in the Han Stone product line had to reflect the elegance and sophistication inherent in polished stone.  I chose two 48x48 canvases and a monochromatic palette.  These pieces possibly point in the future direction of my freestyle abstraction.  

Portofino 48” x 48” Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Portofino 48” x 48” Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

The circular piece, painted especially for Han Stone hangs on a concrete wall in the central showroom.  In it, my entire experience for the strange but wonderful year that 2018 was is expressed.  New Atlantis summoned my work to new heights, new aspirations. In a sense, the globus suggests all that is possible, and nothing impossible.  

When I dare to allow myself to ponder where my work is on this planet- I feel the tremendous weight of the rare opportunity afforded me.

The year ahead looks busy and promising beginning with Hazelton Gallery in London, England and possible shows in Collingwood (Bright's), New York, and Miami.....I'll keep you posted.

I would like to thank all of the people who support my work throughout the world.  My gallerists and reps are second to none.

I would like to thank J.M.Centeno, curator and special assistant.

I especially would like to thank my family as they are my greatest inspiration.

May 2019 shine brightly as a year which sees the world moving toward peace.

New Atlantis 72” dia Circle Acrylic and mixed media on panel.

New Atlantis 72” dia Circle Acrylic and mixed media on panel.

Monterey by Jonathan Centeno

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Inspired by the natural beauty of the west coast, today’s Showcase Piece is “Monterey”, a 44” x 44” Acrylic and mixed media work on canvas. For more info on Monterey, contact Erica (Head Curator) with our provided form.

-Pietro Adamo Gallery

Showcase piece: Chantilly by Jonathan Centeno

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We are proud to showcase “Chantilly”, a beautiful 44” x 44” acrylic and mixed media piece, painted on 1.5” gallery stretched canvas. For more info contact Erica (Head curator and Studio manager) with our provided form.

-Pietro Adamo gallery

CANFAR: Bloor Street Entertains 2018 by Jonathan Centeno

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Once a year, during the Bloor Street Entertains CANFAR event, Toronto's heart shines a little brighter, and beats a little stronger.

Erica and I were privileged  to attend the annual dinner and after party held at the Four Seasons Wednesday evening.  

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I have been donating art to this charity for a number of years, and the cause is supported by so many of Canada's who's who.  The well-organised event centred around a silent auction in which two of my icon pieces were grabbing much attention and bids.  "la Bionda D'oro (Marilyn) and Joan of Art (Gaga) did their part in raising funds.  The best feeling one can have is that of giving a helping hand, and knowing that we have contributed in some capacity drives home the true purpose of this life.  

Add one hell of a party, and well, it's all good!

Heartfelt thanks to our friend Logan and all the people who work hard to put together such a classy affair!  May the money raised continue to help in the fight and continue to bring some comfort to those who suffer.



Inspirational New works by Jonathan Centeno

We’re proud to introduce 2 new works by Pietro Adamo. These beautiful abstracts are part of the Hanstone series of works. For more information please contact Erica at the studio with our provided form.

-Pietro Adamo Gallery

Portofino 48” x 48” Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Portofino 48” x 48” Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Saint Laurent 48” x 48” Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

Saint Laurent 48” x 48” Acrylic and mixed media on canvas

New Atlantis (Hanstone Collection) by Jonathan Centeno

New Atlantis 6’ circular panel Acrylic and mixed media on panel

New Atlantis 6’ circular panel Acrylic and mixed media on panel

It's just cool to paint on a circular panel or canvas.  It's even cooler when the circular panel is part of the statement.

New Atlantis (6' circular panel, acrylic on wood, 2018, HanStone collection, Vaughan, Ontario) was meant to be painted on a circle, with subtle use of colour to create the suggestion of a sphere or globe.  My view of the scope of HanStone's enterprise grew clear as I researched the company, its product and the attitude of its staff.  I knew the piece would be there to reflect a time-honoured tradition of international cooperation in enterprise.  It would have to speak of quality, of the past, present and future.  It would have to somehow indicate the modern pace, but with roots in the global visions of the early explorers.  It would have to, after all was said and done, still be an Adamo.   

As I overheard business dealings going on in the beautiful showroom via portable device and at a seemingly calm pace, I realised I had stumbled into the future of enterprise (all this without eavesdropping, I swear).  

Confidently and calmly, these young Hanstonians were communicating with the world and trade was happening.  Exchanges of all kinds.  In an instant, material quarried and refined in Canada could be allocated to practically any destination on earth.  

I was transported back to my childhood and to my library books of choice :"They Put Out To Sea", "The Golden Hind" and "Explorers".  I was quickly engulfed by the notion that there could still be a romantic and noble side to the idea of global enterprise and collaboration.  The piece, then, would have to cause one to pause and reflect, and perhaps discover something new in it every day.  A reminder of the brighter, bigger picture, and of how cool it is to be part of it.  It would have to be as polished and beautiful as the quartz itself, and quietly command attention unto itself.  It would have to inspire confidence. It would look to the future without compromising the present or revising the past.  And since a picture is worth a thousand words, it would have to be a work of art.

New Atlantis, 6' diameter circular wood panel, mixed media, acrylic pouring medium, 2018 by Pietro Adamo

Dedicated to all who still aspire to building a better world.


Many thanks to HanStone

Up Close and Personal by Jonathan Centeno

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And so it ends.  And so it begins.

Two days after what turned out to be the most important show of my career to date, the social media buzz is still going. Go figure.  A light-hearted approach to a show meant to entertain and be a part of the "ticket" became the show in which I actually witnessed people truly engaged in looking and discussing- actually taking in and digesting- the art.  My art. Their art. They looked, they read and they even touched- ART. The space is so, so cool.

As the HanStone Soiree ended on Thursday evening, I was hearing the final note of A Day In The Life in my head.  As the sun rose this morning, the Verve's Lucky man was playing.  Humbled.  Honoured.  Entrusted.  Fire in my hands.

The Horizon seems far away this morning.  Keep swimming, I tell myself.  You'll never get there.

Ahh...but the journey...the sweet journey.

A journey fuelled by love.  Friends and family. Laughter. Sorry, no stories of angst and anguish here (although if we really wanted to dig deep...).  

I got this from many people at the show: "It's all positive, uplifting, and still so interesting..."

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Alrighty then, it may have been just the atmosphere and the wonderful music or maybe my uncle's fabulous wine.

But if that's my mandate, I'll take it.  Engaging people, making them feel positive...there have been worse fates.



The art of my past, my present and my future got together for one evening and left me alone at the crossroads with a single direction.


Deepest gratitude to all those involved.