When Anthony Mavilia creates art, he prefers to use media like charcoal and acrylics. The artist said that charcoal is “almost an extension of the hand.” Given how ingrained art is in his life, it comes as no surprise that he would prefer a medium that extends that dedication.
Ever since he was young, Mavilia has spent his time drawing or painting whatever caught his eye, even to the point where it got him in trouble in the classroom. But that enthusiasm paid off in the long run, as he pursued his interests through college.
“I remember my parents were proud of what I did and invited people to see my work,” he said “Eventually, I began taking classes at Parsons New School and the Art Students League.”
In 1991, Mavilia joined Abingdon Square Painters, an organization that offers a space where artists can work freely in any style they choose. While originally located in Manhattan, it ran into financial trouble due to rising rent in the late 2000s. Mavilia spearheaded a plan to move the studio to Long Island City. He is now the director of Abingdon Square Painters.
When it comes to art, Mavilia’s work is abstract and mood-setting, a preference that evolved over time. Originally, he
drew and painted in a realistic style, but grew to appreciate and take inspiration from the abstract.
“I also looked at and read about Asian art. In those cultures, depictions of living things like bamboo and plum trees stand in for human values like flexibility and beauty under adversity,” he said. “My vine drawings are a way of dealing with the way that society coerces individuals to conform to its values and restrictions and in some cases, suffocates individual aspirations.”
His work depicting nature was inspired by his own home setting, as he lives in a Kew Gardens complex situated in Forest Park. He is very involved in the community’s gardening.
“Most of the values that apply to art – line, color, texture etc. – apply to a garden, with the added complexity that it is a
three dimensional space which changes over time,” Mavilia said.
For those who wish to pursue art as well, Mavilia recommends that they take a good foundation course that will expose them to essential elements such as composition, value, color theory and more.
“Drawing is essential as is daily practice, whether in a sketch book or at the easel or table,” he said. “It is also
important to look at other art, both contemporary and historic, to inform one’s taste and expand one’s notion of what
is possible in art.”