Marty Calabrese’s Oil Paintings Are a Two-way Ticket to an Aquatic Utopia

by Cash W. Lambert

Gazing at his “Pitstops, Indonesia” canvas, you can suddenly feel the offshore winds breezing across the open faces of the peeling waves. You can hear the waves crashing in a perfect line as the sun pushes heavy heat on your shoulders. You can feel the sinking sand under your feet and, by squinting, you can make out a distant mountain range stretching to meet the horizon. Your eyes continue to pan right until you see the dull wall that the painting is hanging on. Your two-way ticket just ended.

steep and deep pt 2

And that’s only one of Calabrese’s works. His portfolio includes peeling right-handers in Australia, wildlife and sunset barrels from other locations in Indonesia, and more surf images from Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, and his home state Florida.

Impressively, Calabrese didn’t grow up expecting to be an artist. His parents had persuaded him to take art classes from an early age, but he never took the medium seriously. For decades, he was inebriated in consistent traveling and surfing. Every place he visited, from Indonesia to Nicaragua, continually blew him away. Waves that were only seen on ads in surf shops were now in front of his eyes. He consistently photographed the locations, but soon realized that pictures didn’t do the locations justice. He then decided to re-create photographs into canvases splashed with more color. Armed with the skill set and the inventory to do so, his mindset changed, because art was now business. The seed that his parents planted in him blossomed.

And once a skill blossoms, it requires constant work and refinement, along with incredible patience in order to keep progressing – all qualities which Calabrese has recognized and embraced. Mainly working from replicating a photo, Calabrese takes at least 3 to 4 days to complete any given canvas. And most importantly, he knows exactly when to stop, believing that adding too much detail can detract from the original purpose. Simple seems right to him, and his customers agree.

If the true mark of an artist is his or her ability to transport the viewer into a world full of hues, then Marty Calebrese’s two way tickets are high on the list for must see exhibitions.

Paradise Island copy


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