A Partnership born in Panama (continued)

In 2003, Antonio vacationed in Costa Rica and began a love affair with the enchanting culture and prolific nature of the region. He also met a man who would alter the course of his career: world-renowned interior designer Sam Botero. Visiting The Veritas University as a guest professor, Sam was lecturing a group of students one afternoon. In the audience was Antonio, captivated, inspired and enthralled by the designer’s words. At the lecture’s close, theVenezuelan mustered up the courage to approach Sam with his portfolio. “Icould see instantly that this young man had talent that, quite frankly, knocked me out,” says Sam. “Antonio is very comfortable with traditional forms, but has an edge like no other.”
Captivated by the native people and surrounding natural beauty, Antonio had left Venezuela and took up residence in Costa Rica where he also met the talented interior designer, Mari Jose Artiñano Pinillos. Recognizing Antonio’s giftfor painting, Mari Jose involved him in several assignments, gaining him recognition and helping to launch his career. Antonio’s work eventually stretched into the burgeoning real estate market of Panama.


The first of many of Sam and Antonio’s projects together was here in Panama. Sam retained Antonio to assist him in creating an entirely new ambiance for a client. He begins by thoroughly acquainting himself with the raw space and its character. He then spends critical time speaking with and carefully listening to his clients until he has acquired a clear understanding of the owners’ vision for the space. “I enjoy the process of interpreting the vision of my client through my lens,”he notes. He is famous for really listening to his clients, getting to know who they are and just exactly what would express, suit, and soothe them in their homes.
Collaborating geniuses of color, Botero and Rimada begin their adventure in hues, from serene tones to dramatically vibrant ones. Warm, sun drenched colors, indoor and outdoor palm trees, splashes of oranges and crimsons make you feel that the butterfly is about to arrive in its new home. Being Panama, land of natural delights, anything is possible.
Stepping into this grand and gracious home, you are surrounded by exquisitely balanced color, a variety of inviting visual textures and a welcoming beyond the ordinary. Fourteen-foot high ceilings are accentuated by gently curved walls, then transformed into veritable works of art by Antonio. The warmer shades of melon and golden tones on the walls enhances the beauty of all those in the room. “I love using color to make people look good,” Sam often says. His belief is that certain colors are specifically suited for certain personalities. And no one is more adept at transforming a solid wall into a masterpiece than Antonio. In the entrance, the zone of first impressions, your first greeting is quite simply amazing, because of the light emanating from the walls. With deftness and precision, Antonio hand painted the hallway to subtly move from azure tones to golden ones, as if there were actual light shining through them, just as in the heavens at the end of a day. botero
Antonio says in a heart-filled way that “having met Sam, he has clearly changed my life and given me new perspectives, knowledge and opportunities. Our communication is unusual in that it stimulates my creativity. I think of him as my ‘Grand Amigo’, one who has brought me an elevated professional status, but more importantly a great friendship”. Antonio’s dream was to work in New York City and to be in a magazine. Not only did the New York projects come his way, so many others did as well, all over the world.
Sam commented: “Antonio is an exceptional talent, one who can really listen, is lovely to have around and he is extremely fast. What I love about Antonio is that if you want something that no one else has, go to Antonio.”
The triptych oil paintings of the shells grace a beachfront apartment in Costa Rica and exemplify Antonio’s remarkable abilities to gather all of the colors of the interior, bring in the theme of the sea, and customize a work of art specifically for this room. Antonio again, listening to the owners and designer Mari Jose Artinano, and then delivering impressive art with impact.
Take a close look at the ‘red room’. These walls, which are all curved, all the way to the crest of the ceiling, look to be many feet deep. Once again, it is as if light is shining from behind the walls. The golden patterns, vibrant as the crimson red nearest the floor, gradually lighten as they work their way skyward. Imagine if you will, that this one room took over three months to complete. The columns at the entrance to this room, as well as the walls, are graced again by Antonio’s gift in faux finishes. It looks and feels like marble, but in reality, the only thing that will be is the floor.
The very next room in this New York home is the ‘aquarium kitchen’. One moves from rich, regal elegance while dining, tothe whimsy and mastery of every surface depicting a Caribbean underwater world. The baseboards are hand painted to look like sand; every fish has such realism you can feel the current of their tail’s wake. “The fantastic composition of colors and the concept were a khiva adresult of the passion of the client and the creativity of Samuel Botero”, said Antonio. Did I mention the word: humble?
Most artists develop a style that somehow repeats itself in each of their creations. Not so with Antonio. His range of visual expression is as diverse as 100 artists rolled into one. Whether it is a wall treatment, a mural, a painting, or relief carved walls all speak to something deep inside each one of us, consciously or not. Think about your own hallway, and possible doors that can open, and the talents within yourself just waiting for that next open door.

Panama is just like this, a path between two seas that have connected oceans and worlds for nearly a century. The door is open at both ends of the hallway, and so are the adventures and friendships. Q

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Copyright© 2011, Pan Am Publishing S.A., Republic of Panama