Pasqual the Artist
James Pasqual Bettio, F.R.P.S.
by Robert Houston*
An artist is an idiosyncratic species of being, like wizards and basketball centers. Pasqual has found more than one art, and no one can doubt that he belongs to the species ARTIST. He's the very portrait of the "happy artist" who wants to share his art, along with his joie de vivre, with the whole world if possible, and why not?
To this end he created "Sharing Friends of the Arts" as a means for artists to meet and interchange in a friendly ambiance. To a similar end he trekked to the New York World's Fair to display his work to the millions, and then he founded the Artography Academy of Photographic Arts, so that he could impart to others his excitement at having developed a new art form he called Artography, which employs brush, sponge, and pallet-knife to apply painterly texture and depth to photographs.
In the meantime he had already opened a studio showroom of photography, where everyone could see these revolutionary creations, and where other photographers could bring their work to be processed and learn the new techniques Pasqual was developing (no pun intended).
During this fecund period (see Facts) Pasqual enjoyed outstanding success, won some 30 national and international awards, and saw his photos enhancing the covers of more than a hundred magazines. Even today the techniques he originated seem new and experimental, and although he has proceeded to other forms of art, a move any soothsayer could have foreseen from his interest in painting, he remains today loyal to his photography muse: he is still a photographer-artographer, and his work is as brilliant as ever. To quote Peter Brown of the L.A. Times, in an article describing Pasqual's discipline and dedication in directing his Academy: "And Bettio, one of the best-known of the celebrity-photographers in Los Angeles, is as good as his word."
Possibly Pasqual's Italian heritage accounts in part for his love of people, his sociable urge to share his environment, for his theatrical flair. When he uses a camera, then photography simply has to be art, as it was for him before it was generally recognized as such. His early paintings are imaginative, bizarre, a bit surreal, a kind of contemporary fin de siecle - Oscar Wilde's Salome in a space suite psychedelically lap-dissolved into the Rolling Stones. His later work - although with his enthusiasm it can scarcely be called work, and yet play implies a lack of serious intent which is not lacking - this art, then, employs various machinery, orphaned cogs, the disreputable detritus of wasteful civilized (?) mankind. Nothing is too insignificant: as Pasqual, without bitterness, says: "One man's garbage is another man's treasure."
Hollywood Arts Council
This garbage, these objects he transforms by his personal alchemy into bright, colorful, happy art, while at the same time keeping the reality of the original object intact, the object thereby becoming immortalized in an unfamiliar context - non-utilitarian art.
The end product of this process constitutes Pasqual's assemblage period, which beaks down further into his recent cosmos and tronics. All Pasqual's art can be said to represent his feelings about the present and the past, but this latest creative period carried him into the rapidly encroaching future, a giant and potentially perilous step for a friendly artist. Pasqual's future however is not the bleak landscape of familiar science fiction: with Pasqual as guide and gentle hand-holder, it is always suffused with warmth, humor, and affection.
This, then, is Pasqual as we know him, a man of many parts and seasonings, all of them seamlessly integrated into his art: he regularly receives inspiration from the older masters; he is gregarious and generous; he believes an artist should experience as much of life, but only positively and harmlessly, as he can squeeze out of it; he is fond of change - he has no fear of progress; he delights in everything - light, color, buildings, all kinds of objects, and he expresses his love by incorporating them into his work, which is the legitimate child of his love affair with the world around him. In other words, art is a part of every aspect of his life, and every aspect of his life is a part of his art, which is as naturally a product of his self as warmth is a product of the sun.
Interesting! Here we have been discussing the art of Pasqual, and Pasqual as artist, not intending personal biography, but at every turn we encounter Pasqual the man. With many artists it's difficult to establish a connection between their art and their selves: art is simply something they do, like law or carpentry. But with certain other artists, particularly the born artists mentioned in paragraph one, the connection is easy to make, because they are, themselves, works of art, at least partially of their own conscious creation, separate from though related to their other art work.
This is certainly true of Pasqual, who I think can be called his finest creation, a being as imaginative and theatrical in himself as in his work. He has little in common with the modern businessman-artist, who carefully blends into society, and even less with the street-wise cool in-group cliquish opportunity. Not Pasqual; he is neither cool, nor detached. He is on the hills of Montmartre and Montparnasse, where artists painted in garrets and argued in cafes, bringing color and excitement to a prosaic world trying its best to be safe and inconspicuous.
Marshall MacLuhan once wrote of the Balinese that their language has no word for art, because art is everything they do, and so it is with Pasqual.
PASQUAL ...The Facts:
Entered the known world as James Pasquale Bettio, Jr. three months after the world began its Second Mass Madness, in Pinewald, New Jersey.
Graduated from Lakewood High School, Lakewood, N.J.
Attended Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara (1960)
Roller-skated in Europe as member of U.S. Team. Was inspired to take up ice-skating (1961)
Graduated from Brooks Institute at top of his class (1963)
CHAPTER II - Photography and Artography
Exhibition Santa Barbara Museum of Art (1963)
Exhibited at New York World's Fair (1965)
One-man exhibition at the L.A. County Museum of Science and Industry (1966)
Received Brooks Merit Achievement Award (1967)
Youngest photographer to be honored with Associate Degree by the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain (1967)
One-man show at Anton Gallery, La Cienega (1967)
One-man show at the Riverside Municipal Museum (1968)
Regional Art Competition - the only photographer included (1968)
("It was a bloody fight," says Pasqual, "to get photography accepted as art.")
Founded the Southland's first Studio Showroom of Photographic Arts in Studio City - "The Artographic Studio Gallery" (1968)
Founded, and served as President, the "Artography Academy of Artographic Art" - a very successful 8-year run, training thousands of artists.
Award for Artistic Achievement of the International Congress of Photographers and Photochromist (1970)
Achievement Award of Professional Photographers West (1971)
Received over 30 national and international awards.
Photographs on covers of more than 100 national magazines.
Lectured widely on photography and artography.
Received one of the highest International Photo Artist Awards - F.R.P.S. (Fellowship Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain - 1977)
CHAPTER III - Sculpture, Painting, Assemblage, Cosmos, Tronics, etc.
Founded art group called "Sharing Friends of the Arts"
One-man show Sunset Gallery (1981)
Various private exhibits, fashion shows, art parties, etc.
CHAPTER IV – Creations, Art Institutions & Shows
Founded and Chaired the Hollywood Arts Council Arts Affair, Crossroads of the World, Hollywood, CA (1982-87)
Appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Hollywood Arts Council and member of the Executive Board (1983)
Founded Pasqual's Ministry of Art, Los Angeles, California (1987)
Founded Pasqual's Artogaphy & Assemblage Art Museum, located on the Sunset Strip, Los Angeles, CA (1989-99)
Created the concept for Janet and Emanuel Snitkovsky's life-size Charlie Chaplain bronze sculpture for the Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, California, represented by Dianson Galleries, Beverly Hills, in association with the Hollywood Arts Council and Sharing Friends of the Arts, Hollywood International (1989)
Placed bronze plaque on Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood Boulevard, CA, celebrating Charlie Chaplain's 100th Anniversary. This was in association with the Hollywood Arts Council and Sharing Friends of the Arts, Hollywood International (1989)
Founded and Chaired the Hollywood Bowl Arts Festival in association with the Hollywood Arts Council, Hollywood, CA (1984-94)
Chapter V – Recent Awards, Art Shows, & Events
Received the coveted Charlie Award from the Hollywood Arts Council, Founding Sponsor Award for Sharing Friends of the Arts (1992)
L.A.V.A. (Los Angeles Visual Artist) Major Los Angeles Artist Group Show at the Bonaventure Hotel displaying assemblage art (1995)
Founded the Park Labrea Arts Council and added the Artography Educational Division to the Park Labrea Arts Center (1995)
Created Art Environments with Assemblage Art at Park Labrea which are used as learning centers, teaching music, dance, theatre, photography and art, and which serve as community meeting places (1995)
Created the Los Angeles based arts magazine, "Eye on the Arts" (1996)
Director of Art, Education and Activities at Park Labrea, Los Angeles, California -- the largest apartment complex this side of the Mississippi on the West Coast, which houses 12,000 residents on 167 garden acres. Created seven major art events, including the Senior Day Expo, Art in the Park, etc.
Created L.A.'s Tallest Art Show atop Park Labrea's 12-story towers. Initiated Pasqual's Skylight Gallery where over 100 artists have hand-painted banners for yearly shows (1996)
In association with the Latin Quarter Show Girls, presented debut of Pasqual's Strut Wearable Art at the Biltmore Hotel, Los Angeles (1996)
The Mayor of Los Angeles honored Pasqual with recognition of May 11th as Senior Achievement Day (1996)
Pasqual represented the Los Angeles artists as Art Ambassador in which he brings the art of Los Angeles to other countries (1996)
Strut Wearable Art Show, The Roxy Theatre (1997)
Created the concept for the "Peace and Freedom"
sculpture from the artists of Los Angeles. It was dedicated at the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration
of Human Rights in Frankfurt,
Founded Sharing Friends of the Arts, Hollywood International
World Tour. Presented "The Mission of the Artist Show" in Frankfurt,
Received from the World Cultural and Sports Foundation, Inc., the Peace Award (1998)
Appointed to the Community Affairs Committee of the Fairfax Adult School, Los Angeles (1998)
Appointed to the Board of Directors of OASIS (Older Adult Services & Information System), Los Angeles (1998)
Appointed to the Community Outreach Committee of AARP, Los Angeles (1998)
Appointed to the Executive Board of the Los Angeles City Council on Aging. Founded the Arts, Education and Entertainment Committee (1998)
One-man Show of Art and photography in Pasqual's Museum of Artography and Assemblage Art located in Park Labrea. Yearly shows since.
Continued the World Tour to Frankfurt,
Appointed to the Mid-City Regional Arts Council, Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department (1999)
Presentation paper submitted to the Royal Photographic
Society of Great Britain for Photohistorica 2000, Bathe,
Creation of Pasqual Bettio's Artography Retrospective
Exhibition to be viewed throughout the
Creation of the Artography Web site that encompasses all of the different aspects of Pasqual's World of the Arts, education, "Eye on the Arts" magazine, and Photographic Services, including the Sharing Friends of the Arts, Hollywood International World Tour Gallery, www.artography.net (1999)
Chapter VI – Declaration of the Artography® & Assemblage Art Museum, Senior Senator
Councilman Tom LaBonge of the 4th District officially declared Pasqual’s Artography® & Assemblage Art Museum at Park Labrea (2002)
Officially named Ambassador of the Arts by Councilman Tom LaBonge (2002)
Created the concept of The ARTery (2002)
Election to the California Senior Legislature as Senior Senator J. Pasqual Bettio (2000)
Re-election in 2002. Introduced Senate Bill to honor Seniors
Guest lecturer on the process of Artography® at Buena Park Camera Expo, California (2002)
Created The Good HeARTs Award with the Miracle Mile Coalition (2003)
Cosmos and Hollywood Heads Exhibition, Mini-Gallery, Park La Brea (2003)
Merit Award from Zev Yaroslavsky
Art in the Park – Opening to the Public (2003)
Nominated for Chair of the Arts & Humanities Committee, California Senior Legislature (2003)
Special Award from Miracle Mile Coalition (2003)
Commendation from Cruz Bustamante, Lieutenant Governor, State of California, for accomplishments as a Senior Senator in the California Senior Legislature
Exhibited “Pieces for Peace” sculpture in the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oakridge, TN (January, 2004)
Brought Tower Art Banners from Los Angeles to Oak Ridge City Center, Oak Ridge, TN, as part of Sister Cities Project (January 2004)
Good Hearts Awards. Park La Brea. February 2004.
Joined The Miracle Mile Civic Coalition in the first cultural exchange between Miracle Mile and Oak Ridge, Tennessee Museum of Science & Energy, governmental leaders, and Fire Department in inaugural “American Communities of Friendship” (2004)
Donated a painting of Einstein by artist Emanuel Snitkovsky to the Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge, TN (2004)
Tree Planting in Memory of 9-11 at Art in the Park , September 11-12, 2004
Developed, in association with Miracle Mile, an “Art Heals” program for Safety Summit at LACMA, (2004)
The ARTery USA® has adopted the CAN-DO! Project, see website: www.candoproject.com, (2005)
In association with the L.I.F.E. Program and Miracle Mile, participated in the “Health & Wellness Senior Program,” (2005)
Recognition of Outstanding Citizenship and Activities Enhancing Community Betterment, by Mayor James K. Hahn and Councilman Tom LaBonge, (February 2005)
Good Hearts Awards. Park La Brea. February 2005
L.A. Marathon 2005 in Association with the Hollywood Arts Council
Presented Artographic® Painting of Senator Melow to California Senior Legislature in Sacramento, CA, at Opening Ceremonies, March, 2005.
Strut-Wearable Art Show and created the environment in the Grand Pavilion for The Rose Breast Cancer Society Art Exhibition. This included the unveiling of Pasqual’s 50 “Hollywood Heads” assemblage sculptures. Celebrity Center, Hollywood, CA, May, 2005.
100th Annual Venice Carnivale. Exhibited Pasqual’s Strut Wearable Art. Strut Wearable Art Show on Stage. Venice, CA, August, 2005
Los Angeles Park & Recreactions, Children’s Summer Camp. Tour of the Living Museum of Artography & Assemblage, including an assemblage art demonstration and lecture. August 2005.
Pasqual’s Sunset Gallery Showroom on Sunset Boulevard. Featured Pasqual’s Strut Wearable Art and Abstract Leather Collection. Jay Ward Productions, Sunset Boulevard, CA. June, July & August 2005.
Safety Summit in conjunction with The Miracle Mile Civic Coalition. Los Angeles, CA. September 2005.
The JAN Gallery, exhibition of abstract works, Los Angeles, CA, November, 2005.
“Sneak Preview,”- “Exit into the Light” and Laser Light Show. International Cultural Center, Scottish Rite Auditorium, Hancock Park, Los Angeles, CA. Show. December 5, 2005.
A Celebration of Christmas & Hanukkah. “Exit into the Light,” Four decade retrospective, the Works of Pasqual, International Cultural Center, Scottish Rite Auditorium, Hancock Park, Los Angeles, CA. December 2005.
Represented the California Senior Legislature at the Reagan Library at Celebration of the former President’s birthday, February, 2006.
Elected Chair of the Congress of California Seniors, Arts & Humanities, March, 2006.
The Rose Breast Cancer Society, honored by Councilman Tom LaBonge, May, 2006.
“911” Fifth Year Memorial Anniversary with The Miracle Mile Civic Coalition at The Grove, Los Angeles, CA, September11, 2006.
The Don O’Melveny Gallery, exhibition of abstract works, September, 2006.
“United We Plant” with The Miracle Mile Civic Coalition, The ARTery USA®, at The Page Museum of Art, introduced 911 Commemorative Flag by Debora Gillman, Los Angeles, CA, October, 2006.
“Annual Good Hearts Awards” with The Miracle Mile Civic Coalition, The ARTeryUSA®, at The American Girl Place, The Grove, Los Angeles. March 2007.
“Opening Celebration at Westmoreland Lofts: Celebration of Creativity,” Los Angeles, June 2007
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery Exhibition, Barnsdall, LA, CA, July-August 2007
Westmoreland Lofts, “Creative Gems of Our City,” Los Angeles, February 16, 2007