Mario Ricci graduated from the Ontario College of Art where he studied communication and design, drawing and painting.
After graduating he worked as a storyboard and layout artist in a top creative boutique advertising agency in Toronto. Soon after that he became an award winning art director, creating television commercials, magazine, newspaper, and radio ads for clients such as General Motors, Visa, Goodyear, and Molson’s, to name just a few.
Mario has now returned to his initial love of painting in oils. Working mostly for commissions, Mario’s love of animals led him to paint realistic animal portraits, dogs cats and even fish.
Along with his passion for animals and music, he has been painting iconic classic country musicians, along with some contemporary musicians.
His country and western portraits were seen by the Canadian country music association and he was asked to paint 23 portraits of the Canadian artists who would be at the Awards ceremony, the portraits were almost life size and prints of the painting were given to the artists as a keep sake.
When painting a dog portrait, Mario strives to capture not only a likeness but also capturing the personality of the animal.
“These pictures are not only of a pet, but a cherished family member. Sometimes I’ve painted the same picture a dozen times in order to really communicate the soul of the animal, it can be frustrating at times but if I don’t feel I captured the pet it does not leave my studio and will re do it at my expense until I feel its perfect.”
In the country portraits, once again it is about capturing the soul of the artist.The country portraits are painted loosely and on organic surfaces like wood and canvass.
Mario paints these icons in an honest simplified way, very much like the music they created. The use of loose powerful brush strokes and simplicity of colours brings out the honesty of these iconic artists.
Mario has shown at various venues in Toronto, but having one of his paintings accepted in the Arts and Letters Club was one of his proudest moments. 16 years ago Mario discovered the beauty of Haliburton and has since made Haliburton his second home.
His cabin in the woods serves as an inspiration and studio space.
His other passions are gardening, cooking, restoring antiques and “building stuff”