Cartellone is also a gifted fine artist — a professional painter. His artistry covers all of his personal interests in pop culture and scenic landscapes, as well as portraits of rock and roll luminaries. The full range of his art can be seen on his website at www.michaelcartellone.com.
Goldmine has partnered with Cartellone’s charity of choice to auction off a canvas giclée (a digitally reproduced fine art print) of one of his pieces of art — a portrait of the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd singer, Ronnie Van Zant (shown, above right). Proceeds will go to the Cancer Support Community (www.cancersupportcommunity.org), the largest professionally led nonprofit network of cancer support worldwide. The auction will kick off March 1. Go to www.goldminemag.com/collector-resources/music-auctioncalendar for detailed information.
Goldmine interviewed Michael Cartellone about his drumming, artwork and this particular painting that will be auctioned this March.
GOLDMINE: Besides the obvious reasons, what made you choose to do a portrait of Ronnie Van Zant, and in this style, with this medium (acrylic)?
MICHAEL CARTELLONE: Prior to painting Ronnie Van Zant, I had painted a portrait of Charlie Chaplin. The Chaplin was basically a soft-focus, black and white portrait, with full-color, realistic eyes. I was very happy with the outcome of the Chaplin, so decided I’d do the same approach with Ronnie. As for the medium, I’ve worked with acrylic paint most of my life.
GM: You’ve commented that Johnny Van Zant shared vivid visual memories of his late brother Ronnie with you. Can you elaborate on this? How did this help with your portrait of Ronnie?
MC: Although I had a few photos of Ronnie for reference, I didn’t want to work from anyone photo, wanting this to be an image of Ronnie that no one had ever seen. So, I created a composite of his face looking at various photos. I painted this in hotel rooms on days off, while the band (Lynyrd Skynyrd) was touring, so Johnny would come by my room often to look at the painting. His advice and memories of Ronnie was invaluable, offering details that photos could never give: the eyes need a few more green flecks of color… the beard stuck out a little more under his lower lip … that kind of thing.
GM: It’s quite a gift that you can paint in all different styles — expressionism, surrealism, pointillism, pixelism and realism, to name only a few. In fact, it is very impressive how you can mimic the masters. That’s not easy. For instance, you did a portrait of Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington in a Van Gogh style. Was there a reason why you chose that style to begin with?
MC: Thank you for the compliments. I’ve enjoyed experimenting with all styles and genres of art. This can especially be seen with “The Four Davids,” which I am very proud of. As for the Gary Rossington portrait, he and his wife, Dale, like myself, are huge Van Gogh fans. So, the idea to paint Gary in that style was an easy decision. The original painting hangs in their home, by the way.
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