We had the good fortune of connecting with Jason Levi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jason, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor was the influence of my friend, the Catalan surrealist, Salvador Dali. In 1973 in Barcelona, Spain. I was putting together an exhibit of famous citizens of Catalonia, and I needed to include him. My wife, Marisa, and I met him at his home in Port Lligat north of Barcelona, and quickly became friends. He said to me, “Go big! Whatever you create make it big and noticeable. They may not buy it or like it, but you will be remembered.” I became his personal photographer for several years in Barcelona. He mentored me in the use of light in my work. To this day I employ what I learned. I use the same lighting technique the old masters of painting used in both my portraits and in my fine art landscapes. Light is the key. First find the light, then the subject. Not the other way around.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started out in Barcelona, Spain as a commercial photographer, then expanded it into fashion and portraiture. For years I was Salvador Dali’s photographer, the official photographer for the Spanish Royals the Duke and Duchess of Cadiz, and also the photographer of several mayors of Barcelona. I am a follower of what the great Ansel Adams once said, “A photograph is made, not taken.” I am very proud of the fact that I was the first photographer to be granted a solo exhibit at the Toledo Art Museum of Toledo Ohio in 1972. Since then I have exhibited in numerous art galleries in Italy and Spain as well in the United States. In 2014 I was chosen to participate in a photography exhibit at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France. My work now decorates the wall space of clients all over the world. Recently, in Arizona the City of Peoria Arts Commission purchased one of my works, “Morning Glory,” after it was part an exhibit at the West Valley Art Museum. However, it wasn’t always this easy. At the beginning the public did not view photography as an art form. Thankfully today this has changed and my work, Fine Art Photography, is very well received.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in the city of Surprise, Arizona, and when we have visitors, especially from my native Italy or from my wife’s Spain we love to take them to the Heard Museum in Phoenix with its exhibits of American Indian Art. Then Old Town Scottsdale, with its rows art galleries, restaurants and shops. We always make it a point to take them to Tapas Papa Frita, an authentic Spanish restaurant in Scottsdale. My wife even attests that outside of her kitchen they make the most authentic Spanish paella. Of course, the “de rigueur” visit to the Grand Canyon, Sedona, and Flagstaff.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Definitely. My wife, companion and friend for over 40 years, Marisa. She was born and raised in Barcelona, Spain and I married her when she 19. She has been by my side all these years. She does the makeup of the portrait subjects, and models when we did fashion photography in Barcelona. I could not be where I am today without her. In her own right she is an accomplished jewelry maker. Her silver and gems earrings, rings and pendants are a work of art and worn by many actresses both in Europe and in the United States.
All images are copyrighted to Jason Levi