8/6/2012 9:05:00 AM Anthony Mazzella & The Art of Guitar Display at Sound Bites Grill in Sedona
Photos courtesy bcphotography.com
Anthony Mazzella is recognized internationally as one of the premier guitarists of our time. What most people do not know is that he is also a skilled artist with paint and pen. One of his favorite places to create designs is on his guitar! He is now creating these guitars as works of art for sale and displaying them at the new Sound Bites Grill in Uptown, Sedona.
We sat down with Anthony to learn about his artistic process.
Tell us how this new venture began?
I have always enjoyed drawing pictures even before I started studying music at 5 years of age. Of course it is normal for all kids to draw, but with me it was an early obsession, like music. I started drawing with pen and pencil on finished wood on the school desks so I had lots of practice. It makes sense that I feel really comfortable doing it on the finished wood of a guitar. My school desks were covered. I would get in trouble by the teachers of course, but I could not stop. I drew not only on desks, but books, walls, and my friend's bodies. I drew on everything. My entire life I have spent hours making drawings on paper and would give them away. I just love the process more than the finished work. People have asked me to design jewelry, tattoos, CD covers, but I just was never driven to do it for any other reason than the pleasure of doing it in and of itself.
Now that Sedona has Sound Bites Grill, a venue which has a "Guitar Gallery" set up to display guitars, I figured it is time. My main acoustic guitar I play has my drawings on it and Stephen Sullins and Michele Moore who are the proprietors of Sound Bites Grill are friends of mine and asked me if I would make a couple of guitars to display on the walls. Being that I will be performing there on a regular basis, it seemed the right place at the right time.
What and who are some of your artistic influences?
My art is influenced by everything there is. There is never a dull moment in my artistic spirit and creativity. It is a natural process for me to transform the senses into art. As far as the works of other people, I love the surrealists, such as Salvador Dali and company. I love 19th Century French art. When I lived in NY I used to go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and march straight to the 19th Century French wing. The painters from that era would paint the soul and the faces to look like photos. Even up close. It is scary how brilliant they are.
Living in Italy for three years I got to see incredible work by the master Italian painters. I love the works of some modern painters as well. Alex Gray is tapping into something very deep with his sense of geometry, anatomy and the time space continuum.
How many guitar paintings have you created?
I have created five guitars to date. The first one is on my main Taylor acoustic guitar. The second is on a Luna butterfly guitar which sold the third week it was on display at Sound Bites Grill.
The third is on a black Ibanez guitar with silver paint and is currently on display at Sound Bites Grill. The fourth is an Oracle Zen guitar which has variations of the yin yang theme and Japanese calligraphy on the neck. The fifth is an American Eagle soaring over the Red Rocks of Sedona. That guitar recently sold at the silent auction held at the Grand Opening for Sound Bites Grill. The proceeds were donated to the Camp Soaring Eagle foundation and The Fender Music Foundation. Camp Soaring Eagle helps kids with serious illness in need. The Fender Music Foundation puts kids in music programs that normally can't afford it.
Tell us about your creative process?
It is really simple. I just let the paint and pen do the work. Even with music I have a strong sense of being guided by something other than myself. Of course a lifetime of being an artist helps relax the body, mind and soul so inspiration can flow. Without getting too deep into the enigma of art, I just draw freely. There are no sketches or plans. I really just let the pen flow in a fashion that feels like the way an ice skater dances on ice. I will go over my lines once or twice to make the paint thick and then sometimes finish the lines with a thinner pen to make them crisp, but that is pretty much it. I do not use any stencils or anything like that. It is all freehand.
The biggest challenge is to know when to stop. Of course in art of any medium the negative space is just as important as the space you fill.
How many of these guitars do you think you will create?
I would like to keep going with this. I really enjoy the process and the affirmations I get from people definitely fuels my desire to want to create these guitars. Creating music is my first love, but I will surely find the time to keep painting the guitars.
Anthony's guitars can be seen and are for sale at Sound Bites Grill which is located at 101 N. 89A in the Hyatt Pinon Pointe Shops. Call (928) 282-2713. Anthony performs there every Thursday evening 6-9 p.m. and there is no cover charge. For more information you can visit anthonymazzella.com & soundbitesgrille.com.