Stephen Verona is that rare artist. Born in Illinois and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and traveled about the world, his art and films reflect his astute observations.
Some critics have said he is between Hockney and Hopper. His paintings with light, color and faces are unique and original. He has been painting since he was two, when he put his fingers in shoe polish and rubbed it on the wall.
While still in art school Stephen VERONA had one of his photographs selected by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art in New York. After graduating he eventually became co-creative director of Ogilvy & Mather advertising where he worked closely as Art Director and Producer with copywriter and Chairman David Ogilvy.
Having met John Lennon on location in England while directing a TV commercial for Ford, Steven Verona created what are now called Music Videos. People Magazine said that he was the grandfather of Music Video. He directed the first two for the Beatles. Then followed them up with videos for Barbra Streisand, Chicago, Simon & Garfunkle, Johnny Cash, Leonard Bernstein, Liza Minelli, Mick Fleetwood, Natalie Cole, Boy George, Santana and a hundred other world renown recording artists.
He was the famed acting teacher and actor Lee Strasberg’s protégé at the Actor’s Studio director’s unit. By the time he was 27 he was nominated for an Academy Award for his live action short film “The Rehearsal” which he created, produced & directed.
Not satisfied with commercials or videos Stephen Verona moved on to write, produce and co-direct his first feature film, “The Lords of Flatbush”. This is the film that launched the careers of Sylvester Stallone, Henry Winkler, and Richard Gere, who were all discovered by Verona.
He gave Gladys Knight her first acting role in “Pipe Dreams” which led to 2 Golden Globe Nominations, one for “New Star of the Year” and Best Original Song, “So Sad the Song”. He came full circle with Lee Strasberg when Lee and Ruth Gordon and Janet Leigh starred in Verona’s powerful motion picture “Boardwalk”.All during his film making days, Verona always photographed and painted.
Stephen Verona’s paintings and photographs are in important collections and Museums throughout the world. In 2008 the Getty Museum acquired his photography for their permanent collection. He has won over 100 Awards for his work. In 2009 he was invited to join an exclusive group of artists from around the world for an Audience with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican for His address to artists. This is the first time a Pope has hosted artists in the Sistine Chapel since the Renaissance. This was a major validation of Stephen Verona’s work.
Vanity Fair Magazine has said of his “Holy Men – Medicine Men – Mad Men gallery exhibit: “Stephen Verona’s work recalls the greatness of Steichen and Weegee with all of the passion of Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans. A must see!”
Verona has won over 100 awards for his prolific art and films. He is in outstanding collections throughout the world. He continues to live in Bel Air California and the south of France.