Artist Spotlight: Roberto 'PASTA' Pantaleo
Italian born Roberto “Pasta” Pantaleo is one of the district partners of Morada Way Arts and Cultural District, which inspires artists and supports them in showcasing their work to the community.
Combining traditional techniques with an abstract twist, Pasta’s art has captured the spirit and energy of his favorite subject, marine life. To him, as to others, the sea represented an escape from what he saw was a dismal way of urban life. Growing up in an Italian neighborhood in Brooklyn, Pasta inherited his nickname from his older brother, Nick, and was often being called “Pasta Fazul” by friends, because of his heavy Italian accent and their difficulty in pronouncing his real name, Panteleo. As a young teenager in 1970, Pasta helped persuade his family to relocate to South Florida, the epitome of sun and sea.
As a teenager, Pasta was fascinated by motorcycles, hot rods and, most of all, the challenge of customizing these vehicles. After Pasta reluctantly agreed to pinstripe a friend’s customized van, he quickly realized just how great the demand for custom painted vehicles was, and taught himself airbrush skills, which led to him emerging as a world-class airbrush artist in the seventies. Due to his newfound fame, he was commissioned to custom paint a variety of vehicles for some of South Florida’s most colorful inhabitants, living the lavish Miami Vice lifestyle so defining of that era.
All this experience led to Jamie Bunn, of Bluewater Movements, to commission Pasta on a new project in 2001; Bunn desired to improve the image branding of his professional fishing tournament series. As a result, Pasta created a painting on canvas that would be used as a commemorative poster and tournament t-shirt design. This work became a major catalyst for Pasta’s life-changing career move. That first painting was called “Everybody is Gonna Be There,” and it appeared as a poster for the Pompano Beach Mercury/Sea Vee Saltwater Slam. The fishing public immediately connected with this iconic image, rocketing Pasta to fame as a marine Keys artist. Today, Pasta continues to create some of the most beautiful, aquatic wildlife in the fabulous Florida Keys, and has expanded his artistic vision to the other unique coastal communities of Florida. For more information about Pasta and his creations, visit www.artbypasta.com.