Artist Profile: Alejandro Vigilante
On Display at Avant Gallery
Alejandro Vigilante always knew painting was his destiny, but after several years in an unfulfilling banking career he realized he needed to follow his passion and in his father’s footsteps. He was born in 1964 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the son of artist Juan Vigilante (who died when Alejandro was 4 years old), an architect who defied convention by leaving architecture because of his sudden success during the art boom in the 1960s as an abstract surrealist painter. “Painting was a way to feel close to my father and a way to get to know him,” he says.
Vigilante arrived in the U.S. in 1995 because of an invitation from Art Miami, the highly respected, juried art show on Miami Beach. His showing there resulted in several private commissions and the beginning of a career in South Florida. While in Miami, he was barraged by a number of faux-painting commissions, executing anything from intricately painted gold-leafed ceilings to reproductions of Renaissance murals for mansions in exclusive enclaves in Miami Beach and Coral Gables. His ceiling works earned him the nickname, “The Michelangelo of Miami,” from a local art critic. Vigilante quickly became a popular fixture on television newscasts and entertainment shows, not only because of his talent but also because of a witty and engaging personality. As his popularity grew, so did the demand for his work. International music superstars Gloria and Emilio Estefan commissioned Vigilante to paint Art Deco-style murals in their historic SouthBeach hotel, The Cardozo on Ocean Drive.
That work led to a meeting with filmmaker Oliver Stone. After Stone admired Vigilante’s murals, Stone commissioned Vigilante to paint an oil portrait of one of the characters in his film, “Any Given Sunday.” Vigilante did the interior wall and ceiling treatments at Club Med in Port Saint Lucie, and he did the intricate painting on a Palladio-style ceiling in the home of well-known art collectors Patricia and Philip Frost. He also donated his time and talents to many charitable causes in Miami, among them, painting murals in the AIDS ward and meditation/yoga room at JacksonMemorialHospital for United Foundation for AIDS.
Vigilante is the founder of the i-Art Movement, which is as dynamically focused on plumbing the depths of popular culture as the Pop Art Movement was during the 1950’s and 60’s. “What’s more pop than internet?” he asks in response to those who inquire as to the title of his movement. As far as he is concerned, the answer is simple: “Nothing.” He also firmly believes that if the Pop Artists were starting their movement today, the internet would figure as strongly in their works as it does in his.
Vigilante lived in New York City between 2001 and early 2005 as a result of several commissions for private clients. His talent then expanded to public spaces. He faux-painted walls for the exclusive 2nd -floor jewelry salon at Tiffany & Co., and he has designed and faux-painted wall treatments for the Argentine/Italian bistro Azul on the Lower East Side, and has done faux-paint treatments for the Embassy Suites Hotel. The painter is now residing in Miami, though he spends some time each year working in New York City and Buenos Aires.