As a child, Mario Tucci always loved art and painting. With hard-working immigrant parents discouraging him from a career in art, Tucci got an MBA and worked at Hewlett-Packard for 18 years.
After taking an early retirement package WHEN?, the Floral Park resident’s next move was clear.
“I thought ‘screw this, I want to do what I always wanted to do,’” recalled Tucci, now an award-winning painter. “Since then I’ve been painting.”
Tucci, who held an art show at the Floral Park Library on Oct. 7, learned from top talent, including Sean Crosby, Michael Nadai and Pascal Amblard. He learned the techniques of murals and the French Renaissance. Particularly memorable was meeting John Howard Sanden, an American portraitist who spent an hour and a half painting Tucci.
“He’s an incredible painter,” said Tucci. “He just finished portraits of George Bush for the White House.”
At the start of his new career, Tucci most enjoyed doing murals featuring people, especially painting the faces. That eased him into portraits, and his prior training in French Renaissance art allowed him to make his portraits more three-dimensional and realistic.
While portraits and murals are what Tucci most loves, he admits that picking a procedure for painting wasn’t easy and the market for the genre isn’t easy.
“Every artist grapples with that a bit,” said Tucci. “The problem is the market [for portrait painting] is gone. Now I do still-lifes and landscapes, but most of my money comes from teaching.”
Tucci has taught at the Nassau County Museum of Art and Haven Art in Port Washington. He usually teaches one-on-one lessons in private studios for an hour and a half. Tucci encourages adults by his own example, since he started this career later in life. Students can learn the details of mural painting, portrait techniques, and the business of painting.
Painting and teaching aren’t Tucci’s only connection to the field. More recently, he has become very involved in the local art community, serving on juries for the Floral Park Art League (2008 and 2009), the Art League of Long Island Portrait Exhibition (2009) and the Huntington Art Council (2009).
As far as his own work, one painting he’s particularly proud of is the portrait that won him an award from the American Artists Professional League at the Grand Nationals.
“At first the young girl was studying, reading a book,” Tucci recalled of the portrait. “She wore her Halloween costume. It was a beautiful pose.”
Coming full circle from a child who loves art to an adult who puts his love for art to work, Tucci has some words of experience for those who wish to do the same.
“Keep painting, keep working,” advises Tucci. “Don’t be afraid to self-promote.”
Interested in art lessons or having a mural done? Email firstname.lastname@example.org