Italian-Canadian actor, artist and author Elisabetta Fantone continues to impress with her talent in many mediums, excelling in artistic, film and literary projects. The international beauty is not only a talented actor, widely recognized reality television personality, model and author, but a gifted painter as well.
Currently, Elisabetta is gearing up for her next show (her first solo show on Canada’s West Coast) at Vancouver’s Kurbatoff Gallery from April 11 to 23, 2013.
Her recreations of the images of iconic figures are widely popular, and are often acknowledged by the subject of her pieces. She was notably commissioned by the Kardashian sisters to showcase a piece of her art in their famed clothing boutique DASH in Miami.
This latest art show comes after Elisabetta’s well-publicized tour of her artwork across North America last year. She had her pieces displayed at the Kurbatoff Gallery, The Thompson Landry Gallery in Toronto during TIFF, the Soho Gallery in Montreal and the Myra Galleries in Miami.
When not gracing the covers of magazines around the globe, doing TV interviews, or hard at work. Elisabetta enjoys reading, working out, playing 80s video games and baking.
She is also passionate about charity and has been associated with breast cancer and AIDS charities as well as The Children’s Foundation in Montreal. Elisabetta continues to volunteer her time hosting events, doing commercials and auctioning her paintings to raise awareness and money for charity.
I had the pleasure of interviewing the lovely Elisabetta Fantone. We talk about her inspirations, what keeps her fit, growing-up Italian and much more.
Felix: Tell us more about your latest artwork and the upcoming tour.
Elisabetta: I’m really excited to present my new collection of painted portraits titled ‘FACES GONE POP’ at the Kurbatoff Gallery in Vancouver. This will be my first solo exhibition on the West Coast. I haven’t been to Vancouver in several years and I’m really looking forward to go back! The city is so beautiful and everyone is so friendly. For ‘FACES GONE POP’ I painted some of my favorite subjects including my all-time favorite ‘Freddy Mercury’ and they happen to be some of the works I’m most proud of up to date. My painting technique evolves in every collection and in this one I feel like I meshed my new methods with my old ones and I’m very satisfied with the results.
Felix: Along with being a model and a painter, you are also an actress, in fact; you just recently starred in the film Havana 57. Do you love or prefer doing one more than the other?
Elisabetta: I think as an artist it’s important to branch out and explore different facets of your creativity. Often times you’re not working in one domain full-time. You’re always looking for your next project which means in between acting gigs, I’m painting and in between art shows I’m modeling. I’m extremely passionate about acting, but so am I about painting & modeling. They all fulfill me in different ways which makes me feel complete and balanced. My latest film Havana 57 has just been released in Miami and is playing at the AMC theaters! We shot the film entirely in Cuba and it was such a wonderful experience considering that I had never been to Cuba before and got to work with a talented cast and amazing crew.
Felix: I’ve seen your artwork – it’s beautiful, just like the artist. When did you decide to become an artist?
Elisabetta: Well, thank you! (*Blushing*) Art has always been my thing since elementary school. Those were the classes I excelled in through my whole school experience But it’s only when I got to college that I thought maybe I really do have something that I can work with. My visual art teachers would ask me if I had taken previous classes which I certainly hadn’t. They noticed my strength with color combinations. . .I also studied interior design and one day one of my teachers sat me down and told me to quit school and get into acting. The next day she brought me several books on acting! I still have them! (I did graduate but got into acting afterwards!)
Felix: Growing up Italian, how did your family feel about your career choice? If things didn’t work out as planned, what do you think you would have been doing instead?
Elisabetta: My father supported me a lot! When I was in my teens he would drive me from agency to agency. Everywhere I would want to go, every photographer, fashion show and beauty pageant I wanted to be part of. . .he was there. My mom too. . .I recall her putting me into these Italian singing choirs when I was little. I have to say they really let me have freedom of choice. They never pressured me to pursue one career more than another. By choice I did study creative arts in college after no more spots were available for the theater program. I also then studied and graduated from interior design. I always knew deep inside that I wanted to act and be an artist. All the choices I’ve made in life always brought me back to my original desire.
Felix: In regards to your painting, where do you think your inspiration comes from? Do you have a favourite artist?
Elisabetta: Definitely the pop era! In high school I used to dress like I was in the 70s! I’ve always been attracted to the 60s and 70s in regards to clothing, music, design and art. Andy Warhol is from that era and he is definitely one of my favorite artists of all time not only for his art but for his personality and story. I’ve read tons of books on him and watched many documentaries about his life and I’m amazed at how many similarities there are just in terms of his way of thinking, interests, fears. . .It’s also inevitable that I get inspired by cinema considering that many of my portraits are of old Hollywood actors. I try not to look too much at other artists’ works just because I want my pieces to be unique to me and who I am and not subconsciously create something that will be inspired from someone else’s work.
Felix: You were commissioned by the Kardashian sisters to showcase a piece of your art in their famed clothing boutique DASH in Miami. Tell us more about that. What was it like when you heard the news?
Elisabetta: My publicist’s office was joined to the boutique. They were in Miami shooting their new season for Kourtney and Kim take on Miami and happened to see my work and asked for me to paint something for their DASH boutique. I was excited at the idea of painting the sisters. They are very sweet girls and not to mention pretty, which made my job easy.
Felix: Are there any other celebrities or artists you would like to collaborate with?
Elisabetta: If only Freddy Mercury and Marilyn Monroe were alive! I would like to start creating some album covers! There’s so many artists I would be open to work with. . .I would definitely be inspired to create something for Adele, Madonna, Lana Del Rey, Lykke Li. . .as for acting it would be a dream come true to work with either Anthony Hopkins or Jack Nicholson or be directed by Quentin Taratino!
Felix: On a personal level, take us through a typical weekend. What can we find you doing?
Elisabetta: Let’s see. . .If I’m not rushing to complete a painting collection or shooting something which could also happen on weekends. . .I would probably visit my lovely mother who lives a good 40 minutes away from where I am. My weeks are usually very chaotic so it would be quite difficult for me to go visit her then. I would probably be cleaning my place, then catch a movie or just hang around the house with my dogs or be at the gym.
Felix: With a body like yours, one can only assume you workout. Talk to me about your fitness regimen.
Elisabetta: I do as much as I can, but that can be difficult sometimes. Right now I live in a 47 story building and every day I try to walk/run up all those floors and then hit the gym. There I’ll be doing a 30 min to one hour run on the treadmill and then some free weights and abs. It’s hard to be consistent considering that my schedule changes all the time but I really work hard at keeping it up. Also, I eat very healthy, no processed foods and no meat! Lots of fruits, veggies, grains, water and tea! I’m really conscious about what I eat and I read a lot about food.
I’m genuinely interested about nutrition and it’s important that we educate ourselves about what we put in our bodies. There’s so much crap out there and they want to make us believe it’s good for us. I wish I was more informed when I was younger, but I guess it’s never too late.
Felix: What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects?
Elisabetta: As for acting, I played in another feature film for Nickelodeon called Nicky Deuce, which should come out some time soon. It’s a fun comedy directed by Jon Rosenbaum and features many of our favorite Soprano actors. For my art, I have another solo exhibition in Montreal in June at the Galerie 203. People can stay up-to-date with my projects either on my website or my social media sites:
Felix: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.
Written by Felix Kay, a contributor at Vancity Buzz. Stay in touch with Felix on Twitter at @TheFelixKay.
Photo Credit for Elisabetta and her art: John Ciambrone Photography