Aurelio Grisanty

by Dana Kester-McCabe

Artist Aurelio Grisanty has built a successful business designing stylish crisp graphic Art Deco inspired travel posters. His equally beautiful fine art paintings are more expressionistic which employ an unusual creative process that leads to paintings which build on each previous work.

Aurelio Grisanty was born in the Dominican Republic where he had a successful career in graphic design. He moved the US in 1984. He lived most of his life in Washington DC before moving to coastal Delaware in 2004 eventually settling happily in Milton. Aurelio always wanted to be a painter, but his grandfather told him he could only study art if he concentrated on graphic design in order to be sure that he could make a living. He studied art at the Mexico University.

He says that his subject and style are most influenced by the place where he is living. After college he lived in Santo Domingo in a colonial house and so his paintings had a heavy dark drama to them.

As he began to travel on the island his work began to be more and more affected by the nature he saw there. This stayed with him for a long time. Then he began to focus his creative expressions on personal problems he was going through. Now he work is very much about landscape.

Where he lives now there are several lakes so he has been painting allot of water. These paintings have more blue in them and are more realistic than he has painted before. He says that landscape here is so overwhelming that he tends to want to paint it the way he sees it. But abstractions of nature is a continuing subject he is working on.

At the University of Mexico City there was great emphasis on vibrant colors which can still be seen in Aurelio's work today. While Aurelio works on commissioned pieces and designs he is always working on something of his own.

He paints standing at a very large table which is covered with a blank white canvas. He works on a variety of projects allowing any paint that drips or spills on the cloth to become a part of his next work. By the end of three months, that canvas is beautifully stained with different images and lines. Drawings emerge. Sometimes he uses the whole sheet. Other times he cuts it into smaller pieces. Aurelio stretches them onto frames and then works on these adding figurative and design elements.

Each work is built on the effects of other paintings and becomes a reflection of not only his other work but a sort of journal entry recording his state of mind at the time of its creation.

Works that are more planned begin with sketches he does on his computer. Where does it all come from? Aurelio says he concentrates mostly on composition and color. Emotions come into play before he begins to create a piece more than as part of his actual process.

Aurelio says that once he begins to produce an individual work or series that any emotions that may have inspired him become secondary. His primary concern becomes the beauty of the piece. Once the subject is defined he becomes strictly focused on attacking the work in a professional almost mechanical manner.

Aurelio has done a number of commissioned murals. But over the years he has built a business of nostalgic Art Deco inspired travel posters. The posters began when he looked for some French style posters for his own home that would remind him of his childhood. He ended up making and selling some of his own. A limited print run, which was a risky investment, quickly sold out in Rehoboth Beach.

By the end of that summer he had six editions of 500 hundred posters each for sale. Eleven years later he now has posters of 84 different towns and it has been a great business. So, his grandfather was right when he said "Do your graphic design."

Aurelio is working on an exhibit about Milton featuring it lakes, landmarks, and architecture. There will be a mixture of realism with abstraction evoking the emotions he feels about the subject. He says the canvas catching all the paint from this series will be developed into a painting called "An Iconoclastic History of Milton."