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 Filastro Mathew Mottola  (1915 - 2008)

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Lived/Active: California/New Jersey      Known for: plein-air landscape painting

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Fil Mottola is primarily known as Filastro Mathew Mottola

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Crystal Bar at Taylor and C Streets, Virginia City, Nevada
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Orange, NJ on June 10, 1915.  Mottola moved with his family to southern California in 1922. During the 1930s he was a scholarship student at Otis Art Institute and in 1941 went to New York City to study with Harvey Dunn.  Following service in World War Two, he worked closely with artist Ralph Holmes and for Disney Studios for 12 years.  His home was in Santa Barbara until 1982; he then moved to Laguna Hills where he remained until his death on March 24, 2008.  His diverse subject matter includes scenes from his travels to Mexico and Europe.  Exh: Los Angeles Art Ass’n, 1946.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
  Invw; SS.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

Biography from David Terrence Fine Art:
Filastro (Fil) Mottola was born in 1915 in the Italian section of Orange, New Jersey. In 1921 the Mottola family moved to Los Angeles.  The artist later made his home in Orange County, California, still painting when in his 90s.  He is a “listed” artist and is included in Edan Hughes’ Volume III of Artists in California, 1786-1940.

In 1938, Mottola enrolled at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles.  Within a few weeks his art samples got the attention of John Hubbard Rich, Donna Schuster, Paul Clemens, Ralph Holmes, and the Dean of Otis, Roscoe Shrader.  Upon recommendation, Filastro was offered and accepted a full-time, one-year scholarship. The scholarship was extended for two additional years.

Just prior to the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, Mottola was drafted into the Army.  His 164th Infantry Regiment was attached to the First Marines, which fought at Guadalcanal.  Mottola created for himself many opportunities to sketch his Army experiences, including fellow soldiers and pilots engaged in battle at Guadalcanal. Because of wounds and malaria, Filastro got an early discharge from the Army in late 1943.

After his recovery, Mottola returned to Otis to visit his former teachers, whom he now considered friends.   Wanting to prepare Mottola for a teaching position at Otis, Roscoe Shrader offered him a lifetime scholarship painting from the model and an opportunity to take over Donna Schuster’s Saturday class, who desired to leave her position.  Anxious to make a livelihood as an independent artist, Filastro declined the offers.

In 1949 Mottola went to work as a story sketch artist for the Disney Studios. In 1961 he made the decision to leave Disney and commit himself to a life of painting and selling his own art.

During his long career, Filastro has worked in many mediums, including ink, pencil, charcoal, pastel, watercolor, and oil, believing that each one could offer something unique that would not be duplicated in another medium.  Over the years he painted plein-air in many locations, such as Italy, France, small towns in Mexico, the Mother Lode country, the Southwest, the Northeast and the California coastal cities of San Francisco, Monterey, and Laguna Beach.  Mottola’s subject matter was diverse because he saw subjects to paint wherever people worked or played.  His brushwork ranges from tight strokes, creating smooth surfaces to loose, free strokes, creating surfaces with full textures. Regardless of style, the use of rich, saturated colors is a hallmark of his oil painting.

Filastro Mottola passed on March 24, 2008 in Laguna Niguel, California.

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