Meet Antonio Puccio, Art Student at Scamp Studios

| June 29, 2012

Scamp Studios located in River Grove is an art center offering “fun, affordable art education programs for all ages.” It’s also where I met Antonio, a bright 13 year old boy who has been creating murals since the age of 4. His mother Kathy explained that their home is covered with pictures Antonio has created over the years, well over five hundred with at least five murals on their basement walls. When I arrived, Antonio was busy working on an abstract “cubism” art project with Scamp’s owner and his teacher, Andrea Reyes. He immediately greeted me with a huge smile, and after tidying up so he could “look his best” for the interview, he started to enthusiastically explain his mural to me. Every animal pictured in the mural has a name such as Roy the Rhino and Livingston Lion – the “king of the mural.” Antonio also explains in great detail what type of animal it is and some important facts about each of them. He chose each animal himself because as he explained, “many of the animals are from endangered habitats and are endangered animals.” Antonio reads extensively about animals and watches a lot of Animal Planet which is ultimately his favorite subject. Andrea said he knows an incredible amount of information about them. If he doesn’t become a famous artist, which seems to be in his destiny, he most certainly could be a well-loved and informative tour guide for any zoo, museum, or animal sanctuary. His knowledge and expertise on the creatures was truly amazing.

Antonio, who attends St. Cyprian School in River Grove, has Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism, but his well-mannered, cherry disposition could have kept me talking to him for hours; he also tells some pretty funny jokes.  Andrea, who Antonio explained, “is the only art teacher I could ever have and there is no one like her,” patiently works with him for one and a half hours each week on his art work.  She explained that it took six months to complete the mural from the penciled drawing beginning to the actual transferring and painting of the mural on the wall. Although beautiful in itself when you look at it, it’s not complete without Antonio’s detailed description of every animal; and be careful for Allegra the Crocodile, for if you call him an alligator, according to Antonio, he will “jump out and bite you!”

Andrea’s goal and reason for opening Scamp Studios was to make sure art was offered to everyone at an affordable price. She’s passionate about art as she explained, “Art is a necessary part of life; it’s entertaining and has therapeutic purposes also. Everyone should have an opportunity to express themselves in the arts, especially now that programs in schools are being downsized or eliminated.” Kathy, Antonio’s mom, explained that Andrea is “gifted and has such a peaceful mannerism about her.” One of her biggest supporters, she hopes that Andrea’s enrollment increases. Scamp Studios currently has about 25 regular students enrolled with small, intimate class sizes. Antonio was one of Scamp Studios’ first students which had opened this past June of 2011. They offer classes for pre-school children on up to adults.

After enjoying a few more jokes from Antonio, we wrapped up the interview. We took several pictures with Antonio making sure he had his “best smile” on. (See additional pictures on Leyden People and Places Facebook page.) Antonio’s mom explained that every night he prays and says he wants to be famous. Somehow I think his prayers will be answered.

For more information on Scamp Studios, visit their website at www.scampstudiosonline.com or find them on Facebook at Facebook.com/scampstudios. They offer all types of art programs at affordable prices along with open studio times that entire families can attend. They are located at 8153 W. Grand Ave., River Grove, IL. Call or email 708-217-1812 or info@scampstudiosonline.com; And as always, tell them People & Places sent you!

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About the Author ()

Barbara is the publisher of People and Places Newspaper which she started in August of 2011. A lifelong resident of Schiller Park, she always felt it important that residents needed to be kept informed about their communities. Since newspaper coverage for Schiller Park stopped about twenty years ago, she made it a goal to bring a newspaper back to the area. She tries to include all of Leyden Township in her reporting and wants to keep true with the mission of the paper to "inform, educate and entertain."

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