'TROUW, Dutch Merchant''
'Lake of the Iroquois'
'Passage from Long Island'
'Cuiosity of the Maqua'
Len Tantillo was born with an
interest in the sea. He was fascinated by the tales of his grandfather’s
seagoing adventures as captain of a 200 ton sailing ship on the
Mediterranean. His artistic skill and keen interest in the nautical world
eventually led him to a career in marine art.
Born and raised in upstate New York, Tantillo attended Rhode Island School
of Design. From 1969 to 1976 he worked as an architectural designer and
acquired a working knowledge of building design and construction. During
his apprenticeship the focus of his work shifted to visual presentation
and in 1976 he began working as a free-lance architectural illustrator. In
1980, Tantillo was commissioned to depict a series of 19th century
structures from archeological artifacts and historic documents. Similar
projects followed; many of which were located along the banks of the
Hudson River near Albany, New York. In 1984 he left commercial art and
began the full-time pursuit of fine art. The cycle from marine art to
architecture to marine art was complete and he has spent the last 22 years
creating numerous historical and marine paintings, which have continued to
draw a wide audience.
Tantillo’s work clearly shows the combined influence of the luminists of
the 19th century and the great marine artists of the past. The blending of
his visual story-telling ability and a wonderful sense of adventure and
excitement is evident in all of his paintings from 'The Return of the
EXPERIMENT', which depicts Captain Stewart Dean’s triumphant return voyage
from China, to 'Distress Call', a steam tug rushing to the aid of a disabled
freighter on Lake Superior. Detailed observations are translated directly
onto canvas and the images are brought to life with is ability to create a
magical mood of time and place.
Len's work has appeared in national exhibitions, books, periodicals, and
television documentaries in the United States, the Netherlands, Australia
and New Zealand. Tantillo’s historical painting of the whaleship, ESSEX,
is featured in Nathaniel Philbrick’s book, In the Heart of the Sea. In
January of 1999, his work was the subject of a feature article in Sea
History magazine in conjunction with the National Maritime Historical
Society’s plan to build a replica of the sloop EXPERIMENT. In November of
2000, Tantillo was awarded the prestigious Rudolph J. Schaefer Award at
the 21st Annual Mystic International Exhibition at Mystic Seaport. In May
of 2002 Russell Sage College awarded Tantillo his first honorary doctorate
degree for contributions made by his artwork to public awareness of
Len Tantillo is a member of the National Maritime Historical Society and
serves on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Marine