Antonia Gerstacker - Artist (1969-Present)
Antonia Gerstacker Artist Biography:
Antonia Kay Gerstacker (born May 7, 1969, in Houston, Texas), better known as "Art Girl", is a renowned 21st-century American abstract naive artist and muralist. Antonia began her art career in the 1990s. In the 1980s she was often photographed as an international fashion model beginning a career in fashion at an early age. She worked and lived in United States, Paris, Barcelona, Madrid, Milan, Munich, Athens and Venezuela. Antonia became noted for her artworks of bright, vividly colored paintings and large murals.
Antonia Gerstacker was born in Houston, Texas. Antonia is the third daughter of her parents, Anton Gerstacker and Sharon Kay Gerstacker née Holt. Her mother's ancestors were architects, musicians and artists. Antonia's parents divorced when she was 4. Her stepfather James Kilmoyer raised her. Antonia was baptized Lutheran. Antonia has two older sisters Heidi and Gretel. The young Antonia showed a passion and a skill for drawing from an early age, at the age of 8 she received a Certificate of Merit in recognition of outstanding achievement in the 1977 School Art Program.
Antonia's mother enrolled her in The Page Parkes School of Modeling in Houston, Texas where she was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Professional Modeling and the 1984 Honor Graduates Most Likely to Succeed. Upon acceptance by many international agencies, her family decided to send Gerstacker to Paris. In September 1984, Antonia was and signed with Marilyn Gautier Modeling Agency. At the age of 14, she was hired by many leaders in the fashion industry to represent editorial and runway fashion.
Antonia achieved her first public attention where she appeared in many magazines throughout Europe and the US, some of which include: Dépêche Mode (December 1988), International Clic(Nov/Dec1984), Brautmoden Marriages (Winter 1988-1989). In 1986 and 1987, Antonia traveled and worked in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain. In 1988 Antonia worked in Milan, receiving her first cover on the magazine Zeffiro (May 1988). Her second cover on the US magazine Detour (September 1989) gave Antonia the opportunity to work in Venezuela. She also appeared on the cover Ultra (October 1990) with Fashion Designer Bill Blass. Southern Bride (July–September 1989), Glamour (October 1990), and D Magazine (September 1989) were some others. Her runway work included Donna Karan, Sonia Rykiel and many professionals and successful photographers. The late 1980s brought Gerstacker to Miami, Florida to model for German catalogs.
In 1990, Antonia got her first job in the art field in the framing department of a well-established company called Rex Art. Gerstacker immediately bonded with owners Aaron and Anna Morris, patrons and supporters of the arts who encouraged her work greatly.
She participated in the Miami Arts Asylum exhibition "What is Love?" in December 1990 at the infamous nightclub Cameo Theater, Miami Beach. She contributed in "Art Asylum Hits the Streets", where the artists posted artworks on an abandoned building on Ocean Drive and had first exclusive exhibition was at Miami Alliance Cinema Gallery: "I’m Not an Angel", Miami Beach, 1994. Her murals and paintings adorn the walls and facades of many Miami's private homes, cafés, restaurants, business buildings and nightclubs. She painted the large mural sign on Tobacco Road, Miami's Oldest Bar, Restaurant and Cabaret. She painted The Beehive Restaurant on Lincoln Road, which was reviewed as Best of the Beach: Summer ‘94/Best window display Boyz Magazine (August 1994). She made an appearance on the Mr. Stock & Mr. Poe TV show in August 1995, and the Danny Jessup TV show in January 1996.
Gerstacker began to work with Churchill's English Pub in 1992. She was chosen to create a poster in August 1995 for "Churchill's and The Beast and Baker, The 1st Annual Miami Rock Festival" and designed the 9th one in 2003. She also covered the entire back patio with large vibrant murals, one creation of three skeletons playing musical instrument depicting the Day of the Dead and the London Underground system titled "Underground", another of large painting of the world, titled " Around the World", a large red heart painted on a symbol of a black flag titled "Secret Heart" and other bright playful images. Antonia was the leader in the arts movement in the rock club and began the movement for more young inspiring artists to follow. Antonia created the painting of a man playing a cello, which became Mike Wood's Miami Jazz Jam logo. Miami Jazz Jam hosted live jazz musicians every Monday night. During this time, Gerstacker began playing electric guitar solo and with other local musical groups and musicians. Churchill's was the first venue to host Marilyn Manson, The Mavericks and Iron and Wine. It was also featured in the film There's Something about Mary, starring Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz, and music videos by Iggy Pop, P-Diddy and Ziggy Marley. It was awarded Best of Miami New Times Best Rock Club 1999 through 2008. Antonia's dedicated stay at Churchill's promoting the art and music scene lead her murals to be shown in the Jim Jones, P Diddy, Paul Wall, Jka Jha Feat national music video "Whatcha Been Drankin On" in 2005. Antonia departed Churchill's in 2005 when an out-of-court settlement agreement was reached that pertained to copyright infringements of the murals Antonia had painted. The murals have been painted over.
Antonia's passion for music led her to create artworks and designs for the music industry. She painted the logo for of The Beast and Baker Show, a local Saturday night Radio Show on WAXY 790 AM, which aired local, regional and national acts from 1995 till 1997. The show's logo consisted of two comical lions chatting with each other in her stylistic black and white signature. This increased her artwork exposure throughout local newspapers and magazines. Beast & Baker brought The Merman, Dick Dale, and Los Straitjackets to Miami, and besides giving a big push to national surf music acts, the duo promoted local music.
Another accomplishment of Antonia's was the commission by Bubba Lunzar, Jr. to paint new artworks and signs for Jimbo's, located on Virgina Key, an island near Key Biscayne, Florida. A favorite get-a-way since 1954. Music video shoots, models and photographers, television shows and motion pictures are shot on location at Jimbo's every week. A horror film named Island Claws in 1980 built the infamous shacks and left them there. Among the notables are movies Blood and Wine, Wild Things, Porky's II, Ace Ventura, True Lies, 2 Fast 2 Furious. TV shows included Flipper, Gentle Ben, Miami Vice, Glades, Going To California, Karen Sisco, CSI: Miami. Videos by Ziggy Marley, JayLo, Who Let the Dogs Out?, Sugar Ray. Photos of Mariah Carey's first album cover, Jisel, Heidi Klum, Naomi Campbell. Every year since 1997 Antonia has showcased her artworks at the Jimbo's Annual Birthday party, again supporting the music and arts in Miami. Artist Roseta Santiago de Marcellus hired Antonia in 1993 though 1994 as an apprentice, where she learned the skills of painting large murals, commercial commissioned projects and faux finishes. After Roseta Santiago de Marcellus moved to Atlanta, Georgia, Gerstacker ran her own art studio called "Antonia Studio" from 1994 to 1997 in Brickell, Miami. During the early 1990s Antonia began to paint abstract naïve pop art styled paintings in very bright colors. Most of the paintings were comical in nature. Gerstacker then began to paint large murals with increasing demand for her positive style work.
In the fall of 1996 Antonia closed her art studio "Antonia Studio" after difficulties with the Downtown Development and City of Miami in which both induced her to paint public art projects. An article by Janel Shoun, Miami Today, week of Thursday, August 8, 1996 wrote "Artist Antonia Gerstacker, who has leased a studio above Tobacco Road for three years, is looking for corporate sponsors to support development of artwork in the Brickell Village area. Her first project will be on a 120-foot wall on South Miami Avenue at Ninth Street. She has created a colorful design incorporating the Downtown Development Authority's official symbol for the area, the Tequesta Indian". Antonia later received compensation through a judgment in court for payment from The Downtown Development Authority but was never rectified by The City of Miami for all the damages.
In 1997 Antonia became a board member of The Cultural Development Group, a non-profit organization founded by Aaron and Anna Morris. It was created to assist emerging and cultural organizations and individuals in all areas of the arts. She was the 1st Merrick Festival Poster Artist, in April 1998. The original painting was purchased at The Cultural Development Group Members Auction to benefit their Disadvantaged Children and the Visual Arts Program sponsored by Republic National Bank, Johnnie Walker Gold, Christy's and Two Sisters at the Hyatt, by the City of Coral Gables Mayor William Kerdyk.
In 1999 and 2004 Antonia presented two collections "Animal Kingdom" and "Seaside Escapades", a series of paintings sponsored by The Cultural Development Group and private art patrons to The Jackson Miami Children's Hospital, where they are on permanent display including a plaque with the names of the sponsors. Artist Daniel Garcia and Antonia Gerstacker continued to work with children and Children's Home Society and Jackson Children's Hospital. On several occasions Gerstacker received grants from The Cultural Development Group, to paint with the children sponsored by The Children's Cancer Fund, founded in January 1993 by a group of doctors, nurses and parents to foster research in childhood cancer and enrich the quality of life for children with cancer by improving clinical and support services. CCF is based at New York Medical College/Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York.
By the 2000s Gerstacker had painted roughly 1000 paintings, all of which she sold to art collectors, acquaintances and friends. She continued her solo art exhibitions. The Luna Star Café and Gallery, a trendy popular hangout for artists and musicians, invited her to exhibit three times. These exhibitions "Super Sonic", "The Goodbye Girl" and "Girl of Art" took place in 1997, 2000 and 2001. Each exhibit filled up the entire café with bright paintings. The cafe brought many art lovers from the Museum of Contemporary Arts, North Miami to view Antonia's artworks.
In 2001 Leadership Miami and the Inner City Youth Center Miami Youth Center assigned a project to her in which she organised area youth at the Edison High School to paint a large, vibrant mural on the school's sports grounds. The murals were created and painted to provide a feeling of empowerment to the children and their families. In 2002, she painted the outside of the YMCA / Allapattah, Miami with the after-school children. The mural was painted on the entire façade of the building. Positive colors and a children story time animation created the theme of mural. Throughout the 2000s Antonia continued to work with children and Children's Home Society and Jackson Children's Hospital.
Antonia participated in The 2nd Art in the Tropics that was held in December 2001. Performers included Nicole Yarling, The Actors’ Playhouse Musical Miracles, Jumpstreet 88s featuring Piano Bob and Stan Street, Cache, Hugo Martinez and the South Florida premiere of classical singer Teresa Williams with arranger/pianist Ramon Dominquez. The "Certified South Florida Artists" were: Berta Cabarrocas Alfonso, Danielle Aurprix, Ambrosio Martin Art Collection, Sam Bayles, Steven Dini, Alicia Cabarrocas Francisco, Daniel C. Garcia, Antonia Gerstacker, Eduardo Jose Henriquez de Pool, Carmelo Prado, Israel Siam, Michael Bennett Stern, Pablo A. Velasco, Wayne Whittlesey and the poster artist, Josie Lynn Martinez.
In 2004 and 2005, Gerstacker worked in information and catalog sales for ArtBasel Miami Beach. The world's premier international art show for modern and contemporary works. She had a solo exhibition in the lobby of Ios of the Bay, "Be There or Be Square" in 2006, for the grand opening of the prestigious luxury condominiums sponsored by local patrons of the arts. Her paintings were a collection of different styles. The exhibit was from her Five Stars Collection. Much of the paintings were approximately 3 ft × 3 ft or smaller. The subjects of the paintings were about romance and the beauty of the sea. It was at this show Antonia painted her painting "Water Flowers".
Haitian Artist Jude Papaloko Thegenius invited her to participate in an exhibition at his Jakmal Art Gallery. The show consisted of collaboration of woman artists in the summer of 2006. Antonia entered two pieces titled "Angel" and the other of the "Mother Mary" painted on wood using oil pastels and acrylic paints. The paintings were on exhibit for the entire month, one of which she sold and the other is kept in her own private collection. Art patrons Alfredo and Graciele Zayden hired Antonia for the entire year of 2006. She committed to paint murals and signs on the entire outside of their business Frame Art, Inc. Gallery and Frame Shop located in Brickell. The building stands two stories tall and is approximately 200 ft long. She painted the murals and signs in sign painter's paint and learned the skill of gold leaf techniques.
In 2007 she received her Miami-Dade Community College Associate of the Arts in Commercial and Graphic Art. Gerstacker relocated to spend time with her family in Houston, Texas in late 2007. Antonia continued her collections of paintings. Her paintings are now a larger scale then the past years. Her works have taken on a more abstract style while retaining bright, vibrant colors.
Despite her setbacks, Antonia maintained her love for the Arts. She began her own online Art Dealer Gallery- Antonia Fine Arts Houston. In addition to selling her own works locally and online she began specializing and selling art by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Keith Haring and Peter Max, as well as other 20th-century artists. As her strength returned, she began painting again. Inspired by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, Antonia created a Limited Edition original linocut series of hand printed woodblock prints of 25 titled "Roses in a vase" in February 2011.
Antonia became a member of International Fine Arts Appraisers (IFAA) New York, New York.
During her time in Europe, Antonia visited many of Europe's finest art museums and attractions such as Louvre in Paris. She viewed works by El Greco, Goya, Bosch, and Van Dyck at the Prado in Madrid, the Picasso Museum and Gaudí Architecture in Barcelona. She found Greece an archeology lover's dream where she returned to several times seeing dozens of antiquities museums throughout the country. These incredible masters of the arts inspired the young artist who was learning about life's creativity. The great works of artists, musicians and different cultures influenced Antonia to change careers; pursuing her passion for music and love for the arts.
Vibrant colors and stark black lines are the basis for Antonia's paintings. Humor, feelings, nature, music, the universe and the element of time influence her works. It reflects her personality and the way Antonia views the world and the people in it. It has become the essence and created the unique individual style that Antonia paints. Her compositions are simple, complex or intriguing. Her effects with whimsical quotes inspired the viewer to see things in a positive, inquisitive way. Her paintings are often simple and basic ideas of everyday objects or complicated random compositions that go beyond the familiar, making a statement about the existence and meaning of life and invites the viewer to look at the colorful side of art.
She works with multiple media, including oil, acrylics, water colors, spray paint, dyes, pastels,sign painter's enamel, charcoal, pen, multi-colored pencils, etchings, engravings, stickers, typography, xerox and computer graphics. She paints on canvas, illustration board, wood, tiles, fabric and furniture. Many different Art movements inspire Antonia. Her artwork reflects Abstract Expressionism, Fauvism, Modernism, Naïve, Pop Art, Contemporary, Graffiti Art, Symbolism, and Folk Art. She is influenced by the artists Jackson Pollock, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
She continuously creates her own collection of paintings. Antonia's work is categorized into collections. Each collection represents a period in her work. To date Antonia has her paintings sorted into eight collections. The names of the collections are:Cherry Pop (1990–1995),Various Series (1994–1997), Antonia Studio (1994–1997), Good Luck (1997–2008), Happy Hearts (1998–2007),Wet Paint (2003),Five Stars (2006), and Manufactured Colors (2008). Her paintings consisted of very colorful paintings rendered in all of the basic primary colors of the color wheel. The sizes are varied. A reflection of the Minimalism art movement appears in some of her paintings. The topic of love is a frequent subject. She incorporates several different themes. The most sought after painting by her loyal art collector's was a painting titled "Spook", a 24" x 36" painting of Antonia's dedication to her beloved cat. It is painted in a memorial type setting and a large red heart on the cat's chest.
Antonia created more complex ideas developed during this period. She added words and phrases to create humor. Several paintings depicted space and time. A folksy appeal was addressed and a very dominant sense of innocence completed each painting. Her painting "Gotcha Red Hot Punk" is a collaboration of mixed media. Antonia's sixth Collection Five Stars (2006). She used mostly blue tones. It was this show she painted her painting "Water Flowers". During this period Antonia's was interested in expressing feelings, ideas, creating abstractions and fantasies, rather than representing what is real. Antonia's work experience in the field of painting, education, illustration, graphic design, sign making and many other disciplines of the visual arts have made a major impact on the art scene in Miami. Her colorful paintings were displayed and sold to eager buyers interested in the growing art scene in Miami and all over the world. She then seriously began painting and received a successful response from art buyers. She sold every painting she had painted.
All the painting techniques she has learned have created one of the unique styles that are typically "Antonia".
She enjoys singing, playing electric guitar and piano. From 1992 to present she frequently played guitar to entertain friends. She created her own band Spookykat, performing local gigs. She recorded with Miami noise band Laundry Room Squelchers for their contribution to the Phi-Phenomena compilation, We Don’t Do Compilations as well as the band c*ck E.S.P. on their The Pride of North American Noise album, on which Antonia played violin on the song titled "Pain for the Sake of Pain".