Nicholas V. Macchio is a humble man. He would sooner show you an innocuous painting of a cramped one-man newsstand in Queens than to tell you that his portrait of Sophia Loren hangs on the wall of her home in Naples Italy.
Not surprisingly, Macchio’s “Candy Store” series of paintings depicting a family-run neighborhood newsstand is the artist’s favorite work. Today, Macchio’s unique self-taught style of “representational” art extends far beyond the realism of his uncle’s newsstand. His art has found its way into the homes of Brigitte Bardot, Al Pacino and members of the Sinatra family. He is only one of three artists to be approved by the Sinatra family to duplicate the entertainer’s likeness.
Macchio, however, favors cityscapes. For twelve years he drove about New York City delivering Martenson Coffee. He feels that this experience has given him a magnified insight into the city canvas. According to Macchio, his purpose is to “capture the soul” of the subject matter, whether the subject is a newspaper salesman or a raw cityscape.
His work often draws comparisons to that of Edward Hopper,” notes Patrick J. Longo, Macchio’s representative. Hopper, one of this country’s finest 20th century realist painters, is most widely known for his “Nighthawks” painting depicting a late-night city diner. Macchio, like Hopper paints with a deep introspection.
Many of Macchio’s works are without people, often just before daybreak. It is as if the artist is depicting the solitude of his early-morning delivery rounds with his streetscapes. The images are unspoiled. The streets sparkle from the din of the overhead lights. The day’s madness has yet to arrive.
Most of his paintings express a utopian view of what things should look like. The east River is a royal blue. The cobble-stoned streets are an OZ-like yellow hue. His winter images appear to jump from the purity of a snow globe.
“Every artist has his own interpretation,” explains the 51-year-old Macchio, the offspring of a Greek mother and an Italian father. “Your life experiences influence your painting style and the way you go about painting the subject.”
Born in Hells Kitchen, New York City in the autumn of 1951 it was not long before Macchio went from crayon to canvas. At age five, he was already exhibiting and winning awards for his artistry.
His colors are vibrant. His strokes are bold. “Part of the appeal of the work is that it allows for introspection,” notes Macchio. The paintings allow the viewer to drift back to a simpler time. A painting of the his uncle’s ice truck places us back to the 1940’s. The truck sparkles as though the immigrant owner spit-polished the vehicle that morning. The storefronts, the sidewalk and the street shine with anticipation of the day ahead.
A winter landscape built around an old elevated train line offers the viewer the solitude of a distant “snow day.” The heavy layer of pure snow negates the sound and fury of the ugly overhead rails.
Innocuous cityscapes are just part of Macchio’s artistic makeup. He is a champion of animal rights. The proceeds of his animal portraits are often given to animal rights groups.
He has been commissioned by the Sinatra family to re-create images of the famous “Rat Pack.” Recently, the National Hockey League commissioned the artist for a series of paintings that appeared at the league’s All-Start Weekend.
Macchio’s original oils sell from $6000 to $55,000 each. A less expensive “Giclee” series can be purchased from $200 to $1,000. The artist can be contacted through Patrick J. Longo at Rhino International Art in Franklin Square, Long Island.