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Rick Casali, Jr., 26, Fine Artist

Jan 04, 2011 09:32PM ● Published by Anonymous

Painting could be described as a balance between patience and excitement; it certainly describes fine artist Rick Casali, Jr., who has crafted a remarkable body of work in a short period of time, brushstroke by brushstroke. The lifelong Annapolitan recently opened a new studio in Edgewater—a creative space to concentrate on his highly-sought after professional portraiture and figure paintings. Though Casali is apt to note, “You don’t paint to make money, you make money to paint,” his commissioned portraits command top dollar in Annapolis.

Born and raised in Annapolis by parents Rick Casali, Sr. and Verna Jones, Casali attended St. Mary’s High School before studying fine art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. At the time, Casali was known among his peers for his guitar and vocals as a member of the locally popular rock band, Earthtone. “I was designing posters and flyers for my band and was very much influenced by 1960’s poster art,” he says.

But it was during a four-year apprenticeship (’04–07) with artist Cedric Egeli and his wife Joanette that Casali’s blossoming painting pursuit became a full-time passion. “They have guided me both in my art and in life,” says Casali, who also credits John Ebersberger, Stephen Perkins, George T. Thurmond, John Clayton, and Michael Shane Neal as artistic mentors. When describing his painting—which, though figurative, has a very ethereal, delicate and luminous appearance, almost in the plein air style of Monet—Casali speaks of the relationships it creates. “Figurative art demands that you make a very personal connection with who you are painting. Sure I’m the artist, but it’s really all about them. Many of my portrait clients and models have become my friends. I would say that the greatest joy is when you really capture someone, not just their likeness but their spirit. When this happens it’s a special thing.”

Today, in addition to his studio work (viewable at Rickcasali.com), Casali teaches painting, drawing, and sculpture at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts and Anne Arundel Community College. “All artists have a duty to teach,” he says, “It’s how artistic knowledge survives and grows from generation to generation.”This year, Casali has plans to exhibit his work in several galleries and continue to develop his craft which, perhaps a generation from now, will hang side-by-side the masters he so admires. “Personally, I am always thirsty for intellectual and spiritual growth and I want my paintings to reflect that.”

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