Different Drummers

RAD painter hosts Skynyrd star

Michael Cartellone, left, and Philip DeAngelo.
Photo by Colby Rabon

Contemporary Americana painter Philip DeAngelo gets plenty of visitors at his studio in the River Arts District. But only once has a rock star stopped by. 

It happened last February. All was business as usual until Michael Cartellone walked in. If you’re a classic-rock enthusiast, you probably know Cartellone as the high-octane drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd. He’s been jamming with the legendary rock band since 1999. Before that, he was the drummer for Damn Yankees, a supergroup consisting of vocalist Ted Nugent, Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw, and Night Ranger bassist Jack Blades. 

But as much as Cartellone is a percussionist, he’s also a painter and has been since he attended Cleveland Institute of Art as a kid. After capturing Mr. Peanut of Planters nuts fame in sunny yellows and inky blacks, Cartellone never stopped painting, even while touring with some of the most iconic bands in American history. 

“I have painted my life as a musician,” says Cartellone, whose portfolio ranges from a self-portrait on a drum to a hyper-realistic painting of Ringo’s perspective while performing with The Beatles.  

Cartellone has been around, and he knows good art when he sees it. When he saw DeAngelo’s work that winter day, he knew he had to talk to the artist. 

“He reached out later by phone to connect on our shared love of art,” says DeAngelo, who was away from the studio during Cartellone’s trip to Asheville. (The drummer is based in New York but was visiting family at the time.) “After a few conversations, we became fast friends.”

During one of these chats, the men realized they had more in common than just art. “Phil and I also have a shared Sicilian ancestry,” Cartellone tells Asheville Made. 

Bella Italia, a duo show opening in late May, will riff on this throughline with work by both artists. 

“Our paintings will be focused on our shared love of Italy and its culture,” says DeAngelo. “There will be plenty of landscapes, but also pieces that just celebrate the culture and how it makes people feel when they travel there.”

Though Cartellone and DeAngelo have painted similar subject matter, their artistic styles are very different. Cartellone, for instance, is a realist painter who occasionally tiptoes into aesthetics inspired by Pop Art masters Warhol and Lichtenstein. Meanwhile, DeAngelo is best known for color-drenched landscapes with a striking, folk-mannered simplicity.

“Our work differs quite a bit, although we are both heavily influenced by some of the same artists,” DeAngelo confirms. “Michael’s pictures are beautifully anchored in realism with exacting detail, while my pictures are made up of simple forms and oversaturated colors.”

Still, both artists have a knack for transporting the viewer, suggests Cartellone. They also both love a good rock show. 

“Let’s just say that if you have ever seen a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, you would understand just how exceptional a drummer Michael is,” says DeAngelo, who saw the band live in Greenville earlier this spring. “It’s the only concert I have ever been to that I spent 80 percent of my time watching the drummer.”

Bella Italia: Works by Michael Cartellone and Philip DeAngelo opens Saturday, May 25, 10am-4pm at Philip DeAngelo Studio (115 Roberts St., Asheville). The show closes Saturday, June 8. For more, visit philipdeangeloart.com. 

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