A unique Orange County artist will be featured this weekend at a show at a Newport Beach art gallery.
Dick Marconi, 82, will showcase his work in an exhibit titled “ICON” One Man Show from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Ethos Contemporary Art on the Balboa Peninsula.
“I’m excited about the show,” Marconi said. “I want to be one of the icons of the 21st century.”
He is the founder of the Marconi Automotive Museum and Foundation for Kids in Tustin, and is well known in the business industry and as a philanthropist.
Gallery owner Georgeana Ireland described the event as an opportunity to meet a “living legend.” Guests will enjoy food and wine while viewing more than 36 works by Marconi, who will be in attendance to meet and greet and discuss his art.
“There’s sure to be something for the fine art connoisseur as well as beginner collector,” Ireland noted.
Ethos Contemporary Art, which will be celebrate its two year anniversary in August, represents established contemporary artists from across the nation. She focuses on “living masters” and most of the artists Ireland works with are in their “later years” between 60 and 80 and older, she explained in an email.
Marconi was born in Gary, Ind., in 1934. When he was just a boy, he worked through his first hardship. A chemical accident caused Marconi to go blind when he was 12 years old. Over time, he began to regain some vision in his right eye, just black and white at first, but soon colors came back as well.
“[Since then] my whole life has been about color,” Marconi said. “Everything is driven by color.”
He is still blind in his left eye, but that doesn’t slow down his artistic drive.
“It’s a challenge, not a handicap,” Marconi said.
He’s worked hard and followed his life mantra rooted in some advice his father taught him: “Learn, earn and return.” He came out to California with a young family, only a little cash in his pocket, and an eagerness to work.
Marconi started painted seriously around 1960 while living in San Francisco. He was “selling them as fast as I could paint them.”
“It was an adventure and an experience,” he said. “And that’s the way I look at life.”
But Marconi had other dreams and his business career took the forefront, although painting was always a passion.
In the 1990s, after many years of experimenting, Marconi began to create abstract forms using mixed media and found objects. And about 10 to 15 years ago, he developed “Color Fusion.”
Color Fusion is a personal technique that he developed. Although he won’t reveal his secret, Marconi confirmed that he uses 11 different paints and solvents, including airplane and vehicle paints.
“[His mix helps] one paint flow into another…So I can really manipulate what the colors do,” Marconi explained. “I wanted to do something else that no one else could do.”
His Color Fusion technique sets him apart from other artists, he noted.
“His color fusion works are a feast for the eyes with swirls of vibrating color,” Ireland wrote in an email.
His art has evolved naturally over the years, Marconi explained. He had a “Van Gogh style” near the beginning
“(The great artists) never finish exactly the way they started,” he said.
It’s all about color for Marconi. About celebrating, exploring, and creating color. It’s about living it, he said. Art is everywhere, he noted, and he surrounds himself with it.
“My whole life is about art,” Marconi said, “and I love it.”