Analyst to artist: Q&A with Anthony Ricciardi

Have you ever dreamt of busting down your nine-to-five office grind for your dream job in the arts? Anthony Ricciardi's story may be the inspiration you need to take that final leap to pursue your passion.

After working almost three years as a financial analyst for an investment firm, Anthony left the stability of his corporate job to chase after what his heart really pumped for - visual art. To date, Anthony has created multiple murals around the world, opened his own feature galleries and collaborated with high-profile celebrities. This talented Toronto-native has created hundreds of iconic artistic instalments, incorporating bold use of colour and texture- despite being clinically colour blind.

Anthony's work is dreamlike, vivid and uniquely memorable. His mixed media style, which often combines portraits of celebrities with elements of spray-paint and collage, has garnered him considerable media attention and praise from critics. Anthony's artistic resume is furthered by his role as the co-founder of custom jacket brand Dust of Gods, which has created custom denim and military jacket pieces for celebs like Demi Lovato, Migos and Alessandra Ambrosio.

Winslow: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into visual art.

Anthony: I'm a former financial analyst (Commercial Real Estate) who decided to pursue my passion as an artist. I create mixed-media contemporary art pieces with the goal of evoking emotion through recognizable and unexpected imagery, layered depth and script that is inspirational. I graduated from Alabama State University with a degree in Finance (while on a baseball scholarship). I have painted my entire life and always looked to art as an outlet and passion. I painted every single night and weekend for about 5 years before leaving my full-time job to pursue art full time!

Winslow: What inspired you to shift gears and pursue a career in art?

Anthony: Truly the switch to art happened organically. I have been passionate about art my entire life and pursued it initially as a hobby. I continued to work at it for years until opportunities began to present themselves, it was at that point that I knew I couldn’t continue to turn down opportunities (due to balancing time at work) and needed to take the leap into a career in art.

Winslow: Describe how your artistic style has evolved over the course of your career. 

Anthony: My artwork has continued to evolve, and I believe it will continue to for life. I work in a multi layered approach in which I utilize layers of colour, mixed media, including vintage books, comics, etc!

Winslow: What inspires your work? What story or message do you hope to share with the world through your work?

Anthony: I am inspired by the world around us, iconic imagery is the basis of my work. I love understanding how icons, or iconic scenes have shaped the world we live in today. The main message I try to portray is that ‘when we truly follow our hearts, incredible things can happen.' I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities present so I try to show a message of positivity and inspiration!

Winslow: Your work is so distinctive and vibrant. With work this bright and bold, we were amazed to learn that you were in fact born colour blind. How do you think this has influenced your style and your brave use of colour in your work?

Anthony: It’s my biggest blessing lol... Being colourblind forces me to never rush a painting, due to the fact I have to allow each colour of paint to dry before I can add the next colour. It creates depth and texture to my pieces. Depth is often how I tell my stories through my art.

Anthony Ricciardi (left), Antonio Tadrissi (right)

Winslow: You've extended your art into the realm of fashion, with the launch of your highly sought-after custom jacket collection, Dust of Gods. Tell us more about this project and what it means to you to be able to collaborate with other creatives. 

Anthony: I started Dust of Gods with a good friend of mine, Antonio Tadrissi. The goal was to combine our two obscure backgrounds (he is an architect and designer) and my artwork into wearable pieces of art. Dust of Gods has been exciting for me to put my work into a new medium and showcase it to the world.

Winslow: Your work has received notable recognition in the past year, in fact, you had a solo exhibition and gallery in Yorkdale. You've also created stunning murals in Brazil, England and here in Canada. What's next for you?

Anthony: Thank you! I recently opened my second gallery in Yorkville Village in Toronto. I am looking to continue to expand internationally, although Toronto is home (and always will be). I believe in continuing to expand and grow on a global scale and I am planning shows in LA, New York and Dubai in the coming months.

Winslow: What advice would you give to an aspiring visual artist who may be trying to navigate the current art scene in Canada?

Anthony: Create and create a lot! As creatives we live in a beautiful time and with tools like Instagram and social media we can showcase our work to the world in seconds! We have to continue to put out what we believe in and don’t let anyone stop us. Also, the opinion of others (regarding our work) will never matter, one person will always love and one may not, but the goal is to be happy with what we are personally creating.

You can browse the Dust of Gods collection here.

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