D’Amico shares artistic journey

LMC student spills the paint

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D’Amico shares artistic journey

LMC student artist Matthew D'Amico in front of his painted utility box.

LMC student artist Matthew D'Amico in front of his painted utility box.

Photo courtesy of Matthew D'Amico

LMC student artist Matthew D'Amico in front of his painted utility box.

Photo courtesy of Matthew D'Amico

Photo courtesy of Matthew D'Amico

LMC student artist Matthew D'Amico in front of his painted utility box.

Spencer Batute, @batutie_

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They say life imitates art.

With this aphorism in mind, one can easily spot where student artist Matthew D’Amico’s vibrant, flowing personality takes inspiration from.

From the azure waters of rolling waves to the rosy sweetness of cotton candy, D’Amico’s art has been described as “bright,” “dynamic” and “aesthetically pleasing.” A 19-year-old connoisseur of color, D’Amico strives to keep his work playful in nature, explaining, “There’s too many serious things in the world, why be contributing to that?”

However, the imaginative creator who was voted Most Artistic in high school was not always so pronounced in his passion.

Growing up, D’Amico’s family was “just like any other family that would try to get their kids into sports.” Despite his four siblings all being athletically inclined and competitive, D’Amico and sports never clicked.

Although D’Amico’s artwork rarely stood out from the rest of his elementary school classes, his creative spirit was apparent from the beginning. D’Amico’s aunt, an artist herself, saw the underlying artistic interest within him.

From a young age, D’Amico’s aunt would often invite him over to her house and bring out different arts and crafts in her backyard, nurturing D’Amico’s passion for art.

“They shoved paint in front of my face and said, ‘Do whatever you want,’” D’Amico remembered.

Over time, the artistic freedom given to D’Amico by his aunt blossomed into a full-blown passion. In developing this love for drawing and painting, D’Amico found that sports wasn’t the only thing that you could do.

“Art is cool too,” D’Amico realized.

Throughout elementary and middle school, D’Amico honed the techniques taught to him by his aunt, practicing on his own and learning from online resources like YouTube.

Come high school, D’Amico had committed to enrolling in “pretty much every art class that you could possibly take.” Slowly but surely, the boy who once didn’t stand out in class developed his skills and style to a point of recognition by his fellow peers.

Following the lead of his older siblings, who all attended Los Medanos College to save money and transferred in two years, D’Amico started his own LMC journey with a plan “to get in here and get out as fast as possible.”

While attending LMC, D’Amico was commissioned by the Brentwood Press to paint a utility box near the new LMC Brentwood Center. During the process that spanned multiple weekends, D’Amico often found himself in his “own little world,” zoning out and focusing only on the brush strokes before him. The event inspired by D’Amico’s taste for lighthearted images.

By experimenting with various art classes in a trial-and-error process, and through researching many art fields, D’Amico eventually settled on animation as a major.

To D’Amico, animation struck the perfect balance between job security and personal fulfillment.

“I wanted to do something that I was really passionate about but at the same time I wanted a job that pays well,” he explained, adding that some of his biggest inspirations are Disney animators, making the field a perfect fit.

D’Amico will be transferring to Azusa Pacific University with a major in Animation and Visual Effects in fall 2019, two years after he started his first term at LMC.

Given Azusa’s location in Southern California, D’Amico will also have plenty of opportunities for internships. The program director of D’Amico’s major has more than 30 years of experience in the animation industry with high-profile companies like Sony Pictures and Disney Feature Animation, animating such films as “Aladdin” and even co-directing “Mulan.

“I knew I was going to get some exposure to that world,” D’Amico said.

However, this exposure would not come without some challenges. The application to D’Amico’s major required him to assemble a portfolio of his best work in different subject areas. Though D’Amico had a collection of previous work that fit the bill, he decided to start from scratch.

“I wanted to make sure I was putting my best work out there,” he said.

Starting such a body of work while juggling a full load of classes was no easy task. Through experiences like building his portfolio for Azusa, painting the utility box and creating personal work, D’Amico has improved on his time management skills and technical abilities.

“If you looked at my art from a few years ago to now, it’s the biggest transformation,” said  D’Amico.

Jessica Montez, longtime friend of D’Amico, added that she has seen his growth firsthand over the years.

“Matt has gained this impenetrable confidence,” she said. “He’s a great guy, and I think that shows through his art.”

Another childhood friend and artist, Victoria Vers, also weighed in on D’Amico’s growth, commenting that his style has become more cohesive while staying true to his personality.

Moving forward, D’Amico is eager to finally be living on his own after 20 years with his parents in Brentwood. Given his experience as summer camp counselor at Hume Lake Christian Camps, a place he spent many summers at while growing up, D’Amico is prepared to live alone.

In pursuing his studies at Azusa Pacific, D’Amico hopes to make it to an animation studio and share the same honors as some of his most admired animators from Disney. His goal is to use his experiences to breathe life into his creations.

Art could imitate life after all.

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