Tony Carneiro began his numerous adventures in the town of West Warwick, RI. The neighborhood where he grew up was tough. So he spent most of his time playing indoors using his imagination. Another factor that kept him inside was his health. He was plagued by severe allergies, asthma, and occasional headaches. However, Tony and his sister did have lots of fun when they played their mother’s music of the 50’s and 60’s, which is, to this day, his favorite kind of music. They made up short plays and dance routines that went with the music. They also made costumes; drawing on big brown grocery bags and putting buttons, feathers, and whatever else they could find on them to make them more decorative. He also had fun watching TV. Lidsville and Sesame Street were his favorites and he drew all the characters.
When he went to school he struggled at first, until he was diagnosed with dyslexia; then he was given extra help with reading and writing. After that, school became a fun and exciting place. He excelled in art and math, and went on to graduate with honors from West Warwick High School in 1988. Since he earned a college prep diploma, his guidance counselor encouraged him to pursue architecture as a career choice. A couple of months after graduation he enrolled at Roger Williams College in Bristol, RI to study architecture. By this time he had developed slight vision problems and his headaches persisted. However, these weren’t constant issues and he was still able to function. While studying architecture he took some courses in drawing and painting, which made him feel comfortable. He was quickly enticed by the diversity and freedom of the visual arts, not to mention the fact that this was far more exciting and fun. After a year of study he transferred to Rhode Island College in Providence, RI. He entered the studio art program, concentrating on graphic design.
Tony was still battling the headaches and visual problems, which were becoming increasingly worse, but now fatigue began to take its toll as well. However, these issues continued to be intermittent, so he was able to keep up with his studies. Besides graphic design he also explored various other art forms such as photography, printmaking, and painting. He often combined these media into his graphic design projects. As a result, his student work was highly praised by his professors as well as his peers and one academic year, he even won the annual Special Talent Award Scholarship.
In 1994 he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts cum laude (with honors). Upon graduation he was accepted at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art, in Philadelphia, PA. He was hoping to obtain a graduate degree in graphic design. Unfortunately, during his first semester at Tyler his health began to fail. By this time, Tony was experiencing exhausting fatigue, as well as debilitating headaches, which plagued him consistently. Even though he produced a significant amount of work that earned merit from the professors and students, he began to fall behind and was compelled to drop several classes. During his time at Tyler he successfully completed four courses with top grades. However, he ultimately left school to seek medical attention in Rhode Island.
One year later, in 1997, a test revealed a brain tumor was growing that was pressing between his optic nerves and pituitary gland. Fortunately, through transphemoidal neurosurgery this benign tumor was drained and supposedly destroyed with radiation therapy. One positive aspect after surgery was the fact that he no longer suffered from headaches. Although basically recovered after surgery, the tumor had left him with optic atrophy, a visual impairment that caused blind spots in both eyes. Of course, with a few modifications, he again rose above his impairments and began to create quality art.
His next adventure was his acceptance to the graduate program at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, affiliated with Tufts University.
He thrived there because he cherished the freedom of exploring different art forms and combining them in ways he never imagined possible. He learned screenprinting and this medium led to making assemblage sculpture, wallpaper, and even installation art. Tony found screenprinting to be extremely satisfying, so much so, that he became a teaching assistant for both the beginning and advanced screenprinting classes. Tony received his Master’s Degree in Fine Arts in 2006. Upon graduation he was awarded with a Post Graduate Fellowship to teach a beginner’s course in screenprinting for one year. He was on top of the world. Even though he felt better than ever, unfortunately, following the completion of the fellowship, he was informed that the brain tumor had grown back. He had to undergo several surgeries, after which he spent a year in the hospital and had a long recovery period in a rehabilitation center. Even though his vision was impaired even further from the last tumor, he still has the desire to create. Creating art is Tony’s therapy, allowing him to escape the troubles of real life. He continues to produce fun, upbeat, and exciting artwork. Over the past ten years he has been accepted into a multitude of juried exhibitions, including venues such as The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA and The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC.