Every artist is a storyteller, but what makes Art Unified artist Dan Monteavaro so alluring are the pieces of a story he chooses to exclude. This New York City native has lived all over the world - from London to Italy to Korea - and he's pulled inspiration from each's city's unique urban landscape, art culture and modern media. This urban influence presents itself in Monteavaro's work as an unraveling narrative, an overheard conversation that makes its viewers want to linger and eavesdrop a little longer to hear its conclusion. Though it would have been well worth the effort, we're relieved we didn't have to resort to eavesdropping to hear what Monteavaro had to say about stealing his mom's art supplies, arguing with art professors and finding decent pizza out on the West Coast in this week's installment of Inside the Artist's Studio.
“It’s like Lichtenstien. If he grew up in the South Bronx surrounded by graffiti.”
Art Unified: What about Southern California made you decide to create your work here?
Dan Monteavaro: The weather plays a big part. I do miss NYC a lot though…
AU: Describe the turning point in your life that made you realize you were an artist.
DM: The turning point was probably when I stole my mom’s art supplies and tried to paint (It’s not “really” theft if you’re 10 years old though)
AU: Are there aspects of the art world that you do not approve of? Did any of those reasons lead you to move towards Art Unified?
DM: (In my best diplomatic voice) Yes, but because art is so personal, the disagreements can change from artist to artist. I was drawn to Art Unified because the collection was extremely well curated.
AU: What materials do you use to make your art? What about those materials made you choose them over others?
DM: I stick to brushes and paint, but sometimes experimenting with anything from crayons to hardware tools can be very exciting.
"There’s never a 'give up' moment. You don’t ever stop creating."
AU: Favorite or most inspirational place in Southern California?
DM: Like any east coaster I could say the beach, but when I find a decent pizza place it will be there.
AU: What is your studio or preferred place of work? Do you have particular habits while you work?
DM: My studio is really, really close to where I live. I spend so much time there it would be hard dealing with traffic to get there. My usual routine in the studio is playing Netflix documentaries while I work or audio books.
AU: What is one of your favorite quotes or piece of advice you have been given towards being an artist?
DM: “The moment you finish a work and as an artist don’t feel that there’s anything to change or do better and it is the absolute best you can do, you stop being an artist.” – Bob Ross
AU: Did you study art, were you classically trained, or not, how did you discover your ability and unique style?
DM: I went to University for fine art, got into shouting matches with Professors and faculty, dropped out, went back, etc. This continued until I graduated.
"It’s not really theft if you’re 10 years old, though."
AU: Has there been a moment where you wanted to give up a career as an artist? Why did you continue to pursue a career in art?
DM: There’s never a “give up” moment. You don’t ever stop creating.
AU: What has someone said about your artwork that resonates with you today?
DM: “It’s like Lichtenstien. If he grew up in the South Bronx surrounded by graffiti.”
AU: How do you go about managing your time between your creative and personal life?
DM: Personal life? What is that?
AU: When you’re working, what does a typical day look like for you?
DM: Wake up, check email, drink coffee, go to the studio, work on canvases, remember emails I forgot, drink coffee, remember to eat lunch (or I try to), and in this way I pretend that it’s more glamorous and not hard work. (I still get excited to see a new work in the morning after I finish it the night before.)
"Sometimes experimenting with anything from crayons to hardware tools can be very exciting."