Selected Works

Anthony Rondinone was born in 1984 in The Bronx, New York.

Rondinone, an American artist, a son of a carpenter and nurse, was raised in The Bronx before the burrows of New York became the trendy place to live. Back then they were just the outskirts of Manhattan where poor, immigrant families settled. NYC was a hard place to grow up; shoulder to shoulder, encased in concrete ash with a thin padding of roaches, rat and the occasional mugging. A city full of colorful characters and the mental toll and complications of what poverty brings. This dangerously romantic cinder block city had a way of teaching you to not show your true emotions, it makes you feel all alone even on a block full of people. This pressure has to be released somehow. It’s no wonder why some of the most influential music, food, and culture has come out of the burrows of New York.

Rondinone explores every aspect of the subjects he works on, almost like character development for a movie. He goes down all different avenues of thought to understand what led up to the moment he is capturing and it’s meaning. Through his use of abstract figures and characters from pop culture he is starting conversations about mental health and other social issues he finds important for the community he grew up in. Topics such as the Marge Simpson Series (The Simpsons) which looks at the idea of the “housewife” in low income America or the Cookie Monster Series (Sesame Street) which shows the many sides of addiction. Each character represents a type of person or issue in society that he is exploring. The results are the expressive portraits he creates, capturing the darker side of the human experience but also showing the color it can bring.

His expressive stylistic portraits are his tool to convey the raw emotions that are common in poor immigrant communities such as his, like addiction, isolation, depression, and anger. With his works, the artist aims to encourage self-reflection and tap into the viewer’s personal emotions, asking them to establish a personal connection with the featured characters in order to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and others. In sparking this personal moment of confrontation, the artist shows that there is a certain beauty in sadness or even in the ugly side of humanity.

Artist’s statement:

I’m an observer. I’ve always had a way of watching people and trying to figure them out, which surprisingly takes a lot of empathy. It was a good skill to have in a lot of situations back in the day. Now it helps to understand people and work through what I think about different issues. I try not to take a side, I just watch the game and express my feelings on it in a way that makes the viewer put a little more thought into a topic or even find yourself in the character and really connect with them. Painting for me is more of a stream of consciousness, I let the paint flow as I’m thinking through these topics and how I want to start certain conversations. I never fully know which direction a piece is going to take, once I can find myself in a piece I know it’s done.