During the Renaissance, famous masters were inspired and prospered through commissions from their wealthy patrons who felt strongly about an artistic concept but lacked the talent to create it outside of their imaginations. Similarly today, New York native Carlo D’Alessio has flourished in his long career as a commissioned artist through his ability to intuitively connect with his clients and make their dreams a reality.
D’Alessio has a quiet confidence about his work, “I have had the privilege of working with some very wonderful people – sometimes, very strong people who knew exactly what they wanted from their life and from me; sometimes, gentler people who had a simple idea and let me go with it.” Carlo’s spectacular range of paintings dramatically illustrates the inspiration provided by his clients when combined with his artistic genius and vision.
D'Alessio has a great sense of humor and can entertain with stories of his life and career, including his meaningful relationships with commission clients. Unlike many artists who view outside input as interfering with their creative process, it is the clients themselves that have made work so rewarding for Carlo.
To illustrate his success, a powerful businessman who had owned many hotels commissioned D'Alessio to paint a long mural down a wide hallway highlighting various properties that had been important in the man’s life. “He would cancel his business meetings at the last moment, upsetting everyone, to stay at home and watch me paint. When I was to start the job, I asked if he wanted the paintings on board, which is my usual medium. He said ‘no, just paint on the walls.’ I said, ‘what if you want to move?’ He said, ‘we normally sell everything with the house when we move.’ I said ‘well what if I become famous?’ He said,‘I’ll be dead by the time you’re famous … you’ll be dead by the time you’re famous.’” The next morning when Carlo went to work, panels had been meticulously installed overnight so they could easily be removed.
Born in the Bronx in 1954, D’Alessio’s artistic journey began at an early age when he was accepted into the High School of Music and Art in New York City (the movie “Fame” school). He went on to graduate from Fordham University in conjunction with New York’s School of Visual Arts and attend the renowned Art Students League.
Carlo paints using a technique used by artist Maxfield Parrish. Acrylic paint is layered with varnish, then color, then varnish, until the layers create a stunning three-dimensional effect. Though the subject matter may vary, a painting by D’Alessio always draws you in, through his perfect perspective, to a transcendent world of light and color.
Commissions have frequently come from restaurants where the artwork is the focal point for an elegant dining experience. Harpers Bazaar magazine made the owners of a restaurant perch precariously on the top of a booth so they could shoot Carlo’s painting “Andiamo” as the backdrop for an issue featuring Aspen restaurants.
“When I was doing a painting for a lady from Texas whose ‘daddy’ was in oil, she said she needed a painting for her wall. I said, ‘how large a painting?’ She said, ‘I’m from Texas, honey – for The Wall!’” The 60 square foot painting's five panels wrapped around a sweeping staircase, celebrating a milestone passage in her life.
Over the course of his long career as a visual artist, D’Alessio’s body of work includes paintings that are personally inspired; however, the magic of many works originates from the clients themselves.