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"I love '40s music. I think it’s because I always have one foot in the past, and it reflects in my work. I’m a contemporary artist, but I think the Old Masters-we have a lot to learn from them. I’m always trying to do something new, but always with a look in the past.”
Luiz Vilela was born in Brazil where he was raised on his family’s coffee plantation. It was there where he developed a love of the arts. After receiving his degree in Architecture and Urbanism from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Vilela worked in advertising, designed theater sets, and illustrated for books.
Vilela moved to New York City at the age of twenty-nine and received a degree in illustration from Pratt Institute. He subsequently joined the art department of Golden Books, now an imprint of Random House publishers.
In 2000, Vilela started traveling to Lambertville, New Jersey, and found a new source of inspiration in the area. He said, “I feel like I’m home. Hunterdon County is exactly like Minas Gerais, where I grew up.” Vilela has resided in Lambertville since 2007.
Recently, Vilela has been studying painting at Studio Incamminati, a school in Philadelphia founded by artist Nelson Shanks. Vilela credits his success in portraiture and figurative work to studying with Shanks and participating in workshops with David Leffel. He defines these experiences as further refining his art education, allowing the artist to produce some of his most atmospheric work to date.
Vilela states, "A lot has been said in painting already, but there is still a lot to be done. I am inspired by the past to do new things. I constantly look at what the old masters have done. With our better technology today, better pigments, brushes, better tools, think what we can achieve. Think where we can go in creating art! My goal is to reproduce what I see with my eyes and also what I feel with my heart. To do that, I must think, imagine, compose, and create my truth in a way that makes the art achieve an atmosphere and enchantment that will be universally appreciated."
Vilela works primarily in oil but is also proficient in watercolor, charcoal, pastel, and pencil on paper. His work includes painted scenes of Bucks County, specifically depicting Lambertville and the Delaware River. Vilela also has been recognized for his interior scenes of local landmarks, including the Boat House in Lambertville, New Jersey.
Luiz Vilela (b. 1965). Image courtesy of the artist.
Education and Training
Drawing, Escola Guignard (UEMG) University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil, 1983
B.A. in Architecture and Urbanism, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro-FAU UFRJ, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil, 1993
Drawing, Parque Lage, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil, 1994
A.A. in Illustration, Pratt Institute, New York, New York, USA, 1997
Painting, Art Students League of New York, New York, New York, USA, 1999
Painting, Studio Incamminati, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, 2008
Teachers and Influences
Artists: Jean-Léon Gérôme, Rembrandt van Rijn, Johannes Vermeer, Diego Velázquez, Thomas Eakins, John Singer Sargent, Joaquín Sorolla, John Frederick Kensett, Andrew Wyeth, William Lathrop, Daniel Garber, Bruce Weber, Diana Vreeland
Mentors: David Leffel, Nelson Shanks, Ronald N. Sherr, Amador Perez, Helio Eichbauer
Connection to Bucks County
Vilela moved to the Delaware Valley in 2003. Beginning in 2007, he has lived in Lambertville, New Jersey, citing that he has “found an area that was both reminiscent of Brazil and a source of inspiration” for his painting.
Affiliations and Memberships
He has been a member of Artsbridge Group since 2007 and was a board member in 2009 and 2010. He is also a member of the Portrait Society of America.
Recent Paintings, desChamps Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey, 2010
Black & Gold, desChamps Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey, 2008
Hunterdon & Landscape, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 2007
On Nantucket Island, Louisa Melrose Gallery, Frenchtown, New Jersey, 2005
At The Boathouse, Coryell Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey, 2002
Images, Mamma Said Cafe, New York, New York, 1999
Lambertville And The Surrounding Area, 31st Annual Juried Art Show at Coryell Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey, 2003-2010, 2012
Phillips’ Mill Annual Juried Art Exhibition, New Hope, Pennsylvania, 2009, 2010
79th Annual Exhibition of the Hudson Valley Art Association, National Arts Club, New York, New York, 2010
Artsbridge Annual Show, Lambertville, New Jersey, 2009, 2010
Plein air event, Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance (HLTA), Doris Duke’s Estate, Hillsborough, New Jersey
Fall Open Juried Exhibition, New Jersey Chapter of the American Artists Professional League, Inc., Louisa Mellrose Gallery, Frenchtown, New Jersey, 2004
Fourth Art Juried Show, Louisa Mellrose Gallery, Frenchtown, New Jersey, 2002
AOS/Program Show, Pratt Institute, New York, New York, 1997
Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC), Bahia, Brazil
People’s Choice Award, 31st Annual Juried Art Show at Coryell Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey, 2012
Best of Show, RayMar Art 5TH Annual Competition, 2011
Finalist, ACOPAL (The America China Oil Painting Artists League), National Arts Club, New York, New York, 2011
Thora M. Jensen Memorial Award for Portraiture, 79th Annual Exhibition of the Hudson Valley Art Association at the National Arts Club, New York, New York, 2010
Robert S. Prichett Award, 30th Annual Juried Art Show at Coryell Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey, 2010
Robert S. Prichett Award for a Scene of New Jersey, Phillips’ Mill Annual Art Exhibition, New Hope, PA, 2009
Louis Della Penna Award, Best in Show Award, 29th Annual Juried Art Show at Coryell Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey, 2009
Historical Society Award, 23rd Annual Juried Art Shows at Coryell Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey, 2003
Historical Society Award, 26th Annual Juried Art Shows at Coryell Gallery, Lambertville, New Jersey, 2006
Best in Show Award, Fourth Art Juried Show, Louisa Mellrose Gallery, Frenchtown, New Jersey, 2002
Teaching and Professional Appointments
Artwork for the West African Pilot Pastoral Program (WAPPP), the World Bank Group, Washington, D.C., 1997