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Artist Profile: Anton “Tony” Rasmussen

Just about anyone who has traveled to Utah knows his work. He’s the artist who created the large, hyperrealist murals depicting scenes of southern Utah for the Salt Lake City airport. Fewer, however, know that Anton (Tony) Rasmussen began his career as an abstract artist, from the action painting of his graduate work (depicted in a film by Claudia Sisemore) to large-scale depictions of microscopic cancer cells.

After his own debilitating struggle with cancer, Rasmussen is now back behind the easel, and his work is the subject of a 50-year retrospective this month at the Springville Museum of Art. In this video profile, we visited Rasmussen in his Salt Lake City home, where he discussed the underlying vision that has driven all aspects of his work.

Watch the video profile in our August 2012 edition of 15 Bytes.

The founder of Artists of Utah and editor of its online magazine, 15 Bytes, Shawn Rossiter has undergraduate degrees in English, French and Italian Literature and studied Comparative Literature in graduate school before pursuing a career in art.

3 replies »

  1. That was one of the most absorbing, fascinating profiles of an artist I have ever encountered. Beautifully edited. An amazing man. A remarkable journey through genres to land where he did. Vestiges of abstraction remaining in realism. The irony of beginning a career painting cancer cells to eventually living with the disease and overcoming it. A very rich piece, indeed. Better than anything written could have captured. Thank you for this, Shawn Rossiter. I will watch it again.

  2. I’ve known Tony peripherally through my father for over 35 years. I grew up in Bountiful in the late 70’s and early 80’s and spent many a summer day in the library he speaks of in this video. I actually have childhood memories of that first component mural Tony painted because he “needed the money”.

    I got a real kick out of hearing him say that because too many artists are caught up in the desire to always be in control of what they do. Artists should never be ashamed or hesitant to sell their work to someone who values it…

    Tony represents what I consider to be the essence of a true artist: Always adapting and evolving to reflect the path life puts before him, never afraid to change directions, and destined to return or at least pass-by where he came from.

    The spiral affect he describes is critical because it forms the basis of that “common thread” in his work. Tony may have hit on the very thing that differentiates the great artists from those more average: Always evolving; yet remaining intact at the core – “A man walks into a room… and he brings with him his whole life”.

    I am fortunate enough to have an abstract 8′ x 4′ piece from Tony’s Graduate period. It is unsigned, and he and I have had conversations about how to get him down here to Scottsdale so that he may leave his legacy indelibly marked upon it. I look forward to meeting him again, and reuniting him with a piece of himself, which my wife and I very much enjoy presenting as the central focal point of our home.

    Tony, if you read these messages, I hope you know I really enjoyed your retrospective. The video was nicely done, but without you behind the camera it would have been nothing. Your thoughts and explanation of your path through life were deeply interesting, thought provoking, and inspiring.

    I have a BS in Industrial Technology, a Masters Degree in Information Technology, and I am now considering a “second life” which includes a third degree in Fine Art… 🙂

    CM

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