The queen of colour with super vision
Concetta Antico‘s artworks are unmistakable. More than saturated with colour, they possess an intensity than borders on otherwordly. That’s not just because Concetta is a gifted painter but also because she has a rare medical condition that enables her to see up to 100 times more colour than most people.
In 2012 Concetta was diagnosed with Tetrachromacy, which means she has four colour receptors in her eyes instead of the usual three.
While it has long been known that Tetrachromacy exists in the animal kingdom – namely certain species of birds, fish, reptiles, insects and amphibians – scientists have only recently become aware of its presence in human species. Though an estimated 12 percent of women may carry the mutated genes for this super vision (courtesy of two X chromosomes), significantly less may actually be considered “functioning Tetrachromats” like Concetta.
Tetrachromacy – a rare genotype
Researchers have determined that this rare genotype, coupled with a life-long career as an oil painter and teacher, has created the “perfect storm” by allowing Concetta to reach the maximum potential for Tetrachromacy.
“It’s believed only 2-3 per cent of the world’s population has this ‘super vision’ and of those, far fewer are professional artists,” she explains. “My colour vision allows me to see very subtle variations, differentiations that normal vision cannot perceive. My natural visual world is breathtaking. The world is so vibrant and stimulating to my eyes, allowing me to paint what I see, what I love the most, and what I live.”
A plein air and alla prima artist
Concetta is a plein air and alla prima artist who produces all of her vibrant works in one sitting outdoors – often in a fraction of the time it would take a similarly seasoned artist.
“My collectors tell me that my art is blissful, happy, and comes from the beauty that I see on our planet and projected onto my canvas,” she says. “Primarily Impressionistic in style, there is an edginess of composition and a whimsy that is otherworldly.”
While most of us don’t see the same kaleidoscope of colour in the world around us, Concetta has taught thousands of art students how to further their colour appreciation and potential.
“The more you exercise that part of the brain, the stronger it gets,” she explains. “People may not be able to see up to 100 million colours like I can, but they can learn to increase their colour range by better understanding – and looking for – the colours that exist in nature. When I share my super vision with my students, an entirely new visual world is revealed to them. They tell me after just a short time at the easel, that they have never really seen the true colours of nature. The beauty of more colour improves their lives as a result.”
When she is not travelling the world teaching art classes and conducting workshops, Concetta and her family are based in the NSW Northern Rivers where they have been converting a former dairy house into a rustic farmstay called Tooraloo, which means ‘farewell for now’.
“We heard from an old timer that it used to be the showplace of Myocum and we hope it will be again,” she says. “We have helped uncover and restore the beautiful historic Federation bullnose verandah with all its trimmings, discovered a lost formal cottage garden, replanted roses and an orchard, and much, much more.
“After over 50 years of disrepair, it is being reborn.”