Antonio Molinari had just finished designing the interior of the 2020 Lincoln Aviator for the 2018 New York International Auto Show and, as he described, “needed to let loose.” Although the Farmington Hills resident loves his work as a Creative Designer for Lincoln and cannot imagine doing anything else, the abstract artwork he started at home that evening has become a therapeutic outlet for him.
“With my automotive design work, most of my conceptual renderings start to become photorealistic or ‘too perfect’ in order to be properly interpreted by other attributes within the company,” he explained. “The freedom of no constraints and not worrying if the art is interpreted in a specific fashion is a stress relief.”
Although it’s not uncommon now to find Molinari spending his evenings with a roll of canvas and paints, this was not always the case. He had always doodled and admired the abstract works of Paul Jenkins and Helen Frankethaler, and friends often told him his pieces should be on display; however, he recalled having “tunnel vision,” only really focusing his energies on car design, but soon appreciated that both his design work and abstract work helped influence each technique.
“I soon found myself researching galleries in Michigan, and Art Leaders Gallery [in West Bloomfield Township] stood out to me [because of its] location, size and simply the amount of talent within those walls,” he said.
Molinari recounted a time when he met a couple who had not only purchased two of his paintings, but without knowing he also worked at Lincoln, bought the 2020 Aviator based on the interior, which was also designed by him.
“There is nothing more gratifying and humbling to me than when I talk to people who have my artwork,” Molinari said. “[I love] seeing their expressions and listening to how it truly moves them. My goal as an artist is to move people, touching them emotionally through art and quenching their imagination.”
Antonio Molinari’s abstract, contemporary and large-scale paintings can be viewed and purchased at Art Leaders Gallery, located at 33086 Northwestern Highway.