Sweet, acrid wafts of fresh oil paint greet you when walking into Anthony Tomaselli’s studio. From colorful landscapes to city scenes, his paintings hung along the walls revel in Rhode Island’s beauty.
Tomaselli, a man of many trades, has dedicated himself to a life of love, hard work and passion. “I remember telling myself I would never do anything I did not want to in my life,” Tomaselli reflected. And he has remained true to that.
A studio art major and member of Rhode Island College Class of 1976, Tomaselli has led a remarkably successful career, establishing himself as a leader in the Rhode Island community, and in the state’s restaurant scene. He is the proud owner of T’s Restaurant, with three locations in the Ocean State, whose culinary success has enabled him to spend more time nurturing his true love – painting. His coveted paintings now sell for thousands of dollars.
Yet, woven through these achievements is tremendous gratitude to one of his favorite Rhode Island College professors – Enrico “Henry” Pinardi.
An acclaimed artist in his own right, Pinardi began teaching at Rhode Island College in 1967. Pinardi inspired his students to find their spark and create art they were passionate about.
“He had an aura,” said Tomaselli, his face lighting up at the thought of Pinardi. Through his lectures, advice and engagement with aspiring artists, Pinardi always left his students inspired.
“He always went the extra mile and took us by the hand” to make class interesting, Tomaselli recalled. Pinardi would frequently invite his students outside for lectures, even bring them to local art museums. Those field trips “left us thinking we were the next Picasso,” Tomaselli said.
Not only did Pinardi encourage students to pursue a career in art, he also motivated them to form a creative culture outside the classroom by organizing the college’s art club and forming a campus softball team with his students. Pinardi’s dedication to developing networks resulted in some of Tomaselli’s longest friendships.
Today, in addition to painting and managing his restaurants, Tomaselli also takes the time to teach art courses throughout the Providence area. He has taught and presented workshops at numerous studios, such as the Providence Art Club. In an ode to Pinardi’s personal style, he tries to inspire creativity in budding artists. Like Pinardi, Tomaselli believes that anyone can create art, even if they don’t have a natural talent for it.
“Henry took people who were not born with ‘it,’” Tomaselli said. He motivated them, regardless of skill level, to let themselves go and to nurture their love of art.
“For me, he lit a flame that has never gone out.”
Tomaselli with his recently work, "Upper West Side, New York"