Filastro (Fil) Mottola was born in 1915 in the Italian section of Orange, New Jersey. In 1921 the Mottola family moved to the United States and continues to live here today. Mottola is a “listed” artist and is included in Edan Hughes’ upcoming Volume III of Artists in California, 1786-1940.

In 1938 Mottola enrolled at the Art Institute in California. Within a few weeks his art samples got the attention of John Hubbard Rich, Donna Schuster, Paul Clemens, Ralph Holmes, and the Dean of Otis, Roscoe Shrader. Upon recommendation, Filastro was offered and accepted a full-time, one-year scholarship. The scholarship was extended for two additional years.

Just prior to the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, Mottola was drafted into the Army. His 164th Infantry Regiment was attached to the First Marines, which fought at Guadalcanal. Mottola created for himself many opportunities to sketch his Army experiences, including fellow soldiers and pilots engaged in battle at Guadalcanal. Because of wounds and malaria, Filastro got an early discharge from the Army in late 1943.

After his recovery, Mottola returned to visit his former teachers, whom he now considered friends. Wanting to prepare Mottola for a teaching position, the school’s Dean offered him a lifetime scholarship painting. Anxious to make a livelihood as an independent artist however, Filastro declined the offer. By 1949 Mottola went to work as a story sketch artist for the Disney Studios working on films such as Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan and Lady and the Tramp. In 1961 he left Disney and commited himself to a life of painting and selling his own art.

During his long career, Filastro has worked in many mediums, including ink, pencil, charcoal, pastel, watercolor, and oil, believing that each one could offer something unique that would not be duplicated in another medium. Over the years he painted plein-air in many locations, such as Italy, France, small towns in Mexico, the Mother Lode country, the Southwest, the Northeast and the California coastal cities of San Francisco, Monterey, and Laguna Beach. Mottola’s subject matter was diverse because he saw subjects to paint wherever people worked or played. His brushwork ranges from tight strokes, creating smooth surfaces to loose, free strokes, creating surfaces with full textures. Regardless of style, the use of rich, saturated colors is a hallmark of his oil painting.

We are extremely proud to present to you, truly one of America’s superb artists, Mr. Fil Mottola.