Concetta Antico’s Interview with Viva Glam
“If you wish to understand the truth and beauty of our world – see what I paint.”
Concetta Antico has changed the realm of art and science quite literally through her eyes. Born with the ability to see more of the color spectrum than the average human, Concetta possess’ a unique combination of genetics and skill that allows her to share through her artwork a glimpse of this providence. Concetta is the World’s First Tetrachromatic Artist, being the “The Perfect Storm” for functioning Tetrachromatic sight; truly having the gift of super vision.
In December 2012, Dr. Jay Neitz, a world-renowned leader in the field of color vision, discovered that artist Concetta Antico was a “Tetrachromat”, someone possessing this incredibly rare genetic gift. Tetrachromats have four color receptors in their eyes instead of the usual three. Because the trait is found on the 23rd chromosome, only women have the ability to carry this genetic predisposition. This “super vision” allows Concetta to see up to one hundred million colors, where the average human only sees one million. Antico’s case is so unique; she is currently being studied by scientists in order to help find a solution for color blindness.
It’s believed only two to three percent of the world’s population has this gift, and of those, far fewer are professional artists. Concetta’s vision allows her to see very subtle color variations, differentiations that normal vision simply cannot perceive.
“My natural visual world is breathtaking. The world is so vibrant and stimulating to my eyes, allowing me to paint what I see, what I love the most, and what I live. The beauty I surround myself with is my daily muse.”
Immersed and fascinated with color since she was a small child, Antico recalls one of her earliest artistic recollections was “the desire to paint a wooden fence in pre-school over and over again with water, as only I could see the myriad of rainbow colors produced!” In her youth, those around her would always notice and comment about her use of color. Years later, Concetta started her lifelong dream to be an artist and instructor. She began a school 25 years ago, and students would comment on her use of color “I thought it was simply due to my expertise and 10,000 hours. In about 2006 a student sent me an article on Tetrachromacy and said “I think you are one of these!”.”
Concetta dismissed it as being wishful thinking, however several years after that another student, a doctor of Neurology said there was “alchemy in my artwork she could not explain. Antico laughed and blurted out, “maybe it is my fourth receptor”, citing the earlier article. I said it as a joke…”
Her student, a research scientist, sent Antico several scientific articles to read. One of them stated that a woman who could birth a color blind female offspring has the potential to be a Tetrachromat. Concetta’s daughter was colorblind, “so the penny dropped. I reached out to the scientists in the article. They tested me, put me in Japanese documentary and the rest is history.”
Although she had no idea early on in her life and career, Concetta knew her unique trait had affected deeply the subjects she felt passionate enough to paint throughout her life. “I am so drawn to color and the subject matter that screams color to me when I see it. Often I see something and I must paint it – it moves me emotionally – I am mesmerized by it.” Concetta has been known to run for her easel and paints to catch a sunset or a still-life that she sees when she walks into a room. Whether it be picking flowers or setting up still lives.
Being a native Australian has had its perks in Concetta’s life growing up. “Australia is a land which is bathed in sunlight and amazing uniqueness in flora and fauna. It is spectacular in its natural beauty. Combine a Tetrachromacy and this natural explosion of visual vistas and you have… me! It was hard to escape it. I was a wild-child outdoor mini-hippie chick growing up barefoot in the grass… the ultimate in artistic visual bliss!” Having recently purchased a 12 acre heritage property in Byron Bay, Australia – one of the country’s largest art hubs, Concetta began a project that include the restoration of a 100 year old federation style farmhouse, Rose gardens, orchard and veggie garden. “[A]…lifestyle exists here where art and creativity are the creed! I hope to create a farm-stay mecca that will draw art and country lovers from all over.”
The United States is Concetta’s other home, having spent half her life on this side of the hemisphere in Los Angeles first, then San Diego. She created and ran her Salon of Art School for over 20 years, sharing love and knowledge to the benefit of others. She believes that everyone can learn to paint, that it is simply a process to be learnt like mechanics, golf, macramé or cake decorating.
After teaching over 20,000 people how to paint, Concetta has helped her students gain a greater understanding of every aspect of their vivid visual world. “They learn to find bliss and get in touch with themselves. The process is intrinsically therapeutic. To learn to paint is a gift. Everyone should do it.” Concetta’s Tetrachromacy is out to great use in the art classroom. When she instructs and says “see the pink on that rose leaf there, soon after pointing it out, they can! They might not have seen it otherwise…”.
The Tetrachromatic gift coupled with her 10,000 hours as a master artist beginning in childhood has provided Concetta the ability to turn out pieces in record time.“ I can paint a large masterpiece up to 40”x60” while others are eating their lunch!” taking her gift to a super natural art producing level. Most cannot believe what they see when Concetta performs this creative feat. “…the natural way that I have developed combined with my gift of “super vision”…my brain has taken color and value to another level – visually defined in a split second and mixed in equally the same amount of time – perfect with each application – no reworking.”
Her art style is Impressionistic in style but it goes far beyond that as the color use and color combinations defy any other artwork that people have seen. “My work has been described as emoting joy, holographic, vibrating, hallucinogenic, alive, poetic, emitting energy, and a visual gift.”
Concetta has had her share of tribulations in her life that shaped her outlook in a tremendous ways. When Concetta was young, her mother passed away leaving her to fend for herself with only $3 in her pocket and nowhere to go. Experiencing hard times and homelessness to now being an internationally revered artist using her rare gift to expand the horizons of art, science, and human capability, Concetta recalls the pivotal lessons she’s encountered on her journey. “You learn the power of having a dream and never giving up on it, you remember what those who loved you, like my Mother, told me and on dark days it carries you through. You learn to endure anything and not fear change or adversity – you rise to every challenge.” Those who know Concetta well and know her story call her “indomitable”, impossible to subdue.
Antico’s message to others who may have faced adversity early in their lives is “not to give up the day before the miracle. I feel I am a testament to the fact that anything is possible if you don’t give up and believe in yourself. I hope my story helps others.”
The essence of Concetta Antico’s being is “all about soul living and being who you ARE. Realizing and enjoying what is free! The beauty of this great earth, being at one with your own creative force, following your bliss, and thereby having everything! Life is about family, love and spending time together, not spending money on trends…I would like to think that my art will inspire others to TRULY see their world and the beauty in it. That it will bring a new appreciation to what we must cherish and save.”