“My practice is a lifelong dedication and observation of my hometown, Santa Monica. Over the last 45 years of urban absorption, I’ve developed my ‘abstract localism.’ ”
Tony Manzella was born in Santa Monica in the 70s and has spent much of his life traversing the streets of Dogtown via bus, bike, skate, and train.
The contours of Ocean Park were first etched into his consciousness while riding the bus into the Edison art magnet elementary school. Those same shapes can be seen today in his photography as abstractions lifted from the actual landscape.
Tony skated and surfed through Santa Monica High School, further engraving the lines of his city into his mental landscape. When he landed in a design studio at age 19, he began his 25 year journey in visual communications and fine art, while remaining attached to his roots in skate culture. Inspired by the radically simplified forms of the Bauhaus movement, and driven by Duchamp’s idea that art can be anything you want it to be, Manzella creates art at the intersection of structure and chaos. His photographs depict abstracted planes and gritty surfaces of his hometown, while his sculptures incorporate found objects from the streets and alleys he travels on a daily basis.
Manzella’s retouching and color separations company Echelon Color is one of a handful of companies in the world which handles color separations for art catalogues for the likes of SFMoma, Gagosian Gallery, and the Menil to name a few. Echelon Color typically works on over 30 books a year.
Manzella remains connected to his city, riding the train and walking the streets between his home and his work.