Much like Cuba’s infatuation with vintage American cars, the svelte Elisabetta Fantone is inspired by culture from a by-gone era.
The multifaceted actress was filming Havana ’57 with director Jim Purdy in Cuba’s capital and took a moment to share the roots of her artistry. She’s adept at acting, dancing, interior decorating and painting.
“I have my artworks in several art galleries across Canada and the U.S. My biggest passion and inspiration has always been classic Hollywood,” she said. “I’m attracted to figures that own an interesting story and I try to tell their story through my paintings, through their portrait, more specifically their eyes.”
Those captured in her vibrant tableaux tapestries include Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando and James Dean. Her flare for the brush is not confined by decades.
Fantone’s pop-art style drew the attention of reality television royalty. During
frequent visits to her Miami-based publicist’s office, the Kardashian sisters bore witness to the Montreal-born actress’ work.
It just so happened the sibling trio’s Dash Boutique was underneath her publicist’s office. The Kardashians commissioned Fantone to do a piece for them.
“It was such a delight because they are stunning ladies so I was really excited to do a piece for them,” she said. “The piece is now hanging in their Dash boutique in South Beach and it looks lovely.”
More of her work will colour the walls of the Kurbatoff Gallery of Vancouver in May in her own exhibit.
“I’m very excited to be having my next solo show,” she said, adding she’s mixing business with pleasure. “I will also be spending some time there for acting. Every day my schedule changes.”
When she’s not painting on one canvas she is in the foreground of another.
Though she was busy with Havana ’57, a previous role in the independent film My Name Is Sandy changed the way she looked at the world.
In the Marco Iammatteo film, she portrayed a French prostitute exploited on the streets of New York City.
“I have to admit I was quite judgemental when it came to the subject,” she said of the oldest profession. “My point of view of the matter has completely shifted.
“You learn that often for these women, prostitution is their only survival choice — that it’s not something they enjoy doing,” she said. “Some of them have had a terrible past that led them to prostitution, some of them have children to feed and are in a situation that offers them no other option.”
Being Sandy opened Fantone’s eyes.
“I didn’t want to dig deep into research to create this role because I wanted Sandy to be unique,” she said. “I owed it to Sandy to have a life of her own.”