By MARIEPET MANGOSING, July 2022
Concetta Antico is a visionary artist but not just because of her superpower-like color viewing abilities. Tetrachromacy, the term given to those with the specific genotype that provides the person with a fourth receptor, is a rare genetic mutation that provides Antico thousands of more colors than what is normal to the human eye. Antico shares, “In the early discovery days, a student of mine had said to me that I’d often point out colors that they couldn’t see. One of my students who loved to read science articles told me about tetrachromacy. They said that I might have it.” Luckily, Antico was already painting before even realizing what her eyes could do, but since she’s found out, it’s been a whole other world that she invites us in to see in her work.
Antico explains that she has had to train her eye to really tap into the entirety of the gift’s spectrum. "It is something that you grow,” she says. “You basically develop it and practice. The more you use it, you can get the full potential of the ability.” From constant iteration of paintings and focus on articulating what exactly she is seeing, Antico was able to turn her gifts into a specific skill set, one that is at the helm of her current practice.
Discussing her process, Antico works alla prima, utilizing a specific brand of oil paint as her mainline modus operandi on each of her impressionistic pieces. “I use a value palette so I can make hundreds of colors from this one palette. I paint all my work in a way where I create it in one sitting without any correction from start to finish.” She continues, “I only use oil paint. I’m very particular about my process that I’ve developed over the years, and I have been told that it seems systematic. The whole thing feels like a journey because I’ll start and then build parts of it, step by step, until the last stroke.”
Having previously taught the craft, Antico has taken her inherent curiosity to the digital art realm and world of NFTs, saying, “I’m thrilled to be launching into the NFT space with SuperRare. It’s a new world and new way of seeing and sharing art. All exciting and evolving!” As with the more analog approach to her work—paint on canvas—Antico leaps into the digital space and looks forward to exploring how her eyes interpret and convey digital work. She hopes to further sharpen her abilities while adding an extra dimension to what is already there. “I painted a galaxy and we made it move. It’s exciting.”
When explaining what exactly she might be seeing, Antico notes, “If you see a pink rose, I can also see the blues and purples at the edges. It’s not an effectuation or an artistic embellishment.” With that, one can experience the same pink rose with a brand-new perspective. Essentially, Antico serves as a translator of a language that has not been tapped into yet. She can project the beautiful parts of nature and the world in a more nuanced way that lures and intrigues people. Antico shares, “Psychologically, if someone can engage with something more intimately, they are more inclined to value it. I think with my art, when they see it, they can love it and eventually they will want to care for it.”
That “care” extends to the conservation of the planet, as Mother Nature is an important subject and inspiration for Antico. She adds, “My paintings of nature produce an image of something that’s not going to always be there. There was a canary palm called Lady Gray Bay in Australia that I painted once, and when I went back a year ago it had been cut down. The whole scene was gone. In that way, my work becomes collectible.”
Antico’s abilities are rare and vast in scope. When it comes to leaving a legacy behind, Antico mostly wants to use her images to honor her values of nature and all the gifts it has given her. On a macro level, her work exists as a liaison between the viewer and a world that isn’t readily seen. On a more intimate level, Antico hopes to incite an excitement for the things that are possible, inspiring new ways of thinking about the things we might already know.
For more information on Concetta Antico and tetrachromacy, please visit her website here. WM
Mariepet Mangosing is a bi-coastal writer and graphic designer from Jersey City. She has worked in brand packaging, web and print design for the past decade. Her feature length screenplay The Batholiths has been shortlisted in the Macro x Blacklist Feature Screenwriting Incubator program. In her work, she advocates mental wellness and accurate cultural representation in film, television and other media. She examines relationship dynamics through a first-generation immigrant lens. She has her BA in Visual Communications from Ramapo College of New Jersey and is an MFA candidate in Screenwriting at Loyola Marymount University.
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