Featured Artist Steve Mairella

Steve Mairella’s paintings focus on the richness of his Italian heritage by celebrating food, wine and the good life. Enjoy more of his work by visiting his website.


Painting of bread and wine by Steve Mairella

“Comunione Italo-Americano” Acrylic on Canvas, 22″ x 28″


Painting is one way for me to preserve and honor the memory of my Italian immigrant ancestors who came to the United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I also find spiritual fulfillment and personal satisfaction by honoring and sharing my artistic gift. If I had to choose one word to describe my work and my motivation, that word would be gratitude.


Painting of coffee and Italian pastries by Steve Mairella

“Chiacchiere con Macchinetta e Caffè” Acrylic on Canvas, 14″ x 11″


I work mostly in acrylics on canvas. Alhough recently I have been experimenting with abstract painting, I generally paint in a representational style.


Painting of coffee with Sambuca and biscotti by Steve Mairella

“Caffè Coretto con Biscotti” Acrylic on Canvas, 11″ x 14″


My interests in genealogy and in my Italian family history and heritage inspire me. They are merged in my body of work based on Italian and Italian American themes.


Painting of pears and Pecorino cheese by Steve Mairella

“Pecorino & Pears (‘Al Villan’ Non Far Sapere…’)” Acrylic on Canvas, 11″ x 14″


I also paint portraits, pet portraits, landscapes, seascapes and still lifes. But the works that are closest to my heart, and which truly embody an essential part of me, are my paintings depicting Italian and Italian American themes. Irrespective of subject matter, I try to capture the essence or character of my subject. I like to use brilliant colors, dramatic lighting and contrasts to create visual interest and a sense of depth.


Painting of Giambotta di Baccala and wine by Steve Mairella

“Giambotta di Baccalà” Acrylic on Canvas, 11″ x 14″


I listen to music when I paint, and often find inspiration and encouragement in the works of Harry Chapin. Often, I listen to Italian opera, or to Neapolitan or Italian American songs.


Painting of figs on the tree by Steve Mairella

“Figs” Acrylic on Canvas, 20” x 16”


Time, assimilation and affluence have diluted memories and appreciation of the simpler times (not easy by any means, but simpler) that many children and grandchildren of Italian immigrants experienced growing up. Through my paintings I hope to help preserve some of those memories.


Painting of dried red chile peppers by Steve Mairella

“Rosetta’s ‘Nzerte” Acrylic on Canvas Panel, 14″ x 18″


My paintings reflect my own experiences. What I have found, not surprisingly, is that those experiences are not unique to me. I love it when someone tells me that they find a connection to their past as a result of viewing one of my paintings, or that one of my paintings evokes warm memories for them.


Painting of purple grapes on the vine by Steve Mairella

“Grapes Ripening in the Sun (Aglianico)” Acrylic on Canvas, 24” x 18”


Most of my own memories of growing up as an Italian American involve food and wine, and the love with which those were prepared, served and shared. For example, the strings of peppers in my painting entitled “Rosetta’s ‘Nzerte” opened a floodgate of memories for me, just as Proust’s madeleine did for him. Among those memories is a vivid recollection of my mother and aunts sitting on our back porch, stringing together red and green hot peppers to hang and dry.


Painting of green Moscato grapes on the vine by Steve Mairella

“Moscato” Acrylic on Canvas, 16″ x 20″


My paintings do not deal in stereotypes, positive or negative. I am not trying to make profound social or political statements with my art. I do believe, however, that these paintings of mine serve a purpose, and are more than just personal aesthetic exercises.


Artist Steve Mairella in his studio

Artist Steve Mairella in his studio


“When a nation goes down, or a society perishes, one condition may always be found; they forgot where they came from. They lost sight of what had brought them along.” – Carl Sandburg, American Poet, Biographer & Journalist


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