header Photo by Craig Owens, Los Angeles 
Hair and Makeup by Brenda Salamone

Elemental Art Brenda Salamone, Artist

Meraki (Greek)(n.) the soul, creativity, or love put into something; the essence of yourself that is put into your work

Brenda Salamone was born in Tucson, AZ, but grew up in south Florida. Now in Los Angeles, her studio occupies a corner of the apartment she shares with her husband, Dean, and their six cats.

Salamone has traveled all over the world, finding locations to paint. Her favorites so far are the Greek Islands, especially Santorini, and her dream to travel to the Scottish Highlands to capture the wild landscapes, lochs, and standing stones of that ancient land came true as her honeymoon. When she moved to southern California in 2001, her art became inspired by the untamed beauty of the southwest desert, and the crashing waves and giant cliffs of the Pacific Ocean. Recently, Salamone has been working more in abstracts, but still finds the soothing beauty of nature to be a favorite subject. Her paintings have won awards both internationally and in the United States, and she is represented by Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ.

“I don’t know if I ever came to a realization that I wanted to become an artist, I just was an artist. I started drawing portraits and horses when I was around 10.”

For Salamone, her first artistic exposure came from her father, Placido. He is an architect and painted quite a bit while in college in the 60’s. He was her earliest teacher and influence, and she grew up admiring his mid-century modern paintings. It is still her favorite style, both in art and in architecture/decor.

After graduating from the University of Florida, she searched for quite a while for her artistic calling. She painted murals at restaurants, or would draw the occasional portrait on commission, but an exciting new art technology would soon catch her eye. When the movie Jurassic Park came out in 1993, she knew what she wanted to do - 3D animation. Salamone found a small specialty school, took a six month certification course in 3D art and animation, and began a rewarding 16-year career in computer games. Eventually, hands-on art drew her attention and she decided to pursue another love - film and television makeup. She went to makeup school in Los Angeles, learned all about special effects makeup, and worked on several projects and movies, including The Lone Ranger in 2013.

24seacreature_sculptSea Creature - foam prosthetic makeup designed, sculpted, applied, and painted by Brenda Salamone

Expanding her skills, Salamone also began teaching the basics of fine art to teens and adults through a privately-owned academy. This school has its own method, and all the instructors are required to learn and teach only this method. It involves a lot of master duplications of paintings from artists like Van Gogh or John Singer Sargent. This exposed her to many artists who have since become her favorites, even if they aren’t exactly her influences.

CrystalCove_JWSmith_dup_smlCrystal Cove by Jack Wilkinson Smith 1873 - 1949 oil duplication by Brenda Salamone

“I think for most artists, our influences are swirling around us every waking minute, and even in our dreams. I once read a comparison where a creative’s thought process is like having 2,000 tabs open on your browser, all at once. I couldn’t agree more.”

She is a fiend for traditional animated cartoons, and has created work based on the genius of Chuck Jones, Eyvind Earle and Maurice Noble. In 2015 and 2016, she participated in the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity Red Dot Auction to benefit its children’s art programs, and will be doing so again in May of 2017. She also created prop paintings for Looney Tunes, Back in Action and The Battle of Shaker Heights in 2003.

10383576_10207179571340927_540491922808490772_nPrickly Peril - 12” x 12” Oil on canvas, by Brenda Salamone

In the annual Pastels 100 International competition, Salamone has received Honorable Mention awards for her pastel paintings by the only magazine to exclusively cover pastel artistry, The Pastel Journal. The first was in 2004 for her abstract, Solar Flares, and the second was in 2015 for her still life of faceted gemstones, Brillianti. Salamone has also received awards from local San Diego shows, including the San Diego County Fair’s annual art show and the Pastel Society of San Diego’s fall show in Mission Gorge.

Solar Flares, 18.5" x 25.5" on sanded board brilliantiBrillanti, 18" x 24" Pastels Pastels on sanded board

With paintings hanging in homes as far away as Malta, her collectors span the globe. Here is what two of them had to say about Salamone’s artwork:

“When a painting communicates the clarity of the air and the dryness of a desert punctuated by the colors of life, it feels like you are there. Brenda’s paintings are like that. There is a feeling about them, not just a visual sensation.”  - Regina G., McMinnville, TN

AnzaBorregoAprilAnza Borrego April, 18.5" x 24.5" Pastels on sanded paper

“After seeing several of Brenda’s amazing pastels, watercolors, and oils, I commissioned her to create something special for my cousin’s 30th birthday. I wanted something that wasn’t a replica, something that was one-of-a-kind, and that could capture the whimsical nature of our relationship. Brenda delivered. She was able to create something truly magical for me in about a month - which was well before I needed the project to be done. Not only was she efficient, she was also a joy to deal with. I gave her some samples of what I had in mind and told her to take creative liberty with the piece. What she created was better than I could have imagined. I’ve already commissioned her for my next piece and I can’t wait to see it!” - Elizabeth K., Los Angeles, CA

TheSentinel_smlThe Sentinel, 19" x 23" Pastels on sanded paper

Salome_smileWhen she isn’t at her easel, Salamone enjoys a very diverse group of hobbies, including belly dancing, wine tasting, attending Renaissance fairs and pirate festivals in full costume, writing a romance novel, and creating monsters with makeup for theme park Halloween haunts. Her artistic associations include the California Art Club, the Pastel Society of San Diego and Paint Night Group of San Diego, an informal gathering of artists who are friends and like to paint together.

          steve_zombie                                                                            Exile Zombie, Six Flags Magic Mountain 2011 Fright Fest prosthetic applied and painted by Brenda Salamone