Monday, November 30, 2015

A 1972 whimsical painting by Tony Mafia

Once in while small miracles happen like with this painting. A friend of Iris bought a closed storage shed and upon opening they found this painting by Tony Mafia. Iris fell in love with it and bought it. I am glad I can show this earlier work which must have been painted when his kids were still small. Probably this is a Los Angeles painting. If anybody knows more, please e-mail me at All information is welcome.
After a call for more information Anne, Soren and Rike's mother, once married to Tony, wrote that the painting was done at their home. Thanks for that information.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A new brief testimony by Bonnie Karlyle

I met Tony in the early 60's when I was helping out another Tony, one of the owner's at Martoni's Restaurant in Hollywood. Tony had painted a mural on the wall. We hung out for a few months. At the time I was a model and inspiring actress and Tony wanted to paint my pictures but after many tries he wasn't happy with what he came up with and we gave up with my sittings. I remember a very soulful, sweet tortured man. I never did keep any of his tries at my painting.
RIP Tony.
Karen Conrad aka Bonnie Karlyle

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4 1931

Yes, today is Tony's birthday. born August 4th, 1931 in Chicago. He is still missed by many, thanks to this blog some old friends contact me and tell their stories, share their memories.
 These two painting are in Sharon's house, in Chloride,Arizona: a tear running down a cheek and a rusted pan with with some harlequins. Tony sometimes just needed to paint and then what ever material he found he would paint on it. I am glad these works are still around.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Hospital - heart trouble

Tony had heart trouble, it seems since 1981 in my memory. So he regularly ended up in hospital. there are several pen and ink drawings he made portraying nurses. Probably he gave away most of these  portraits to the nurses who were kind to him. So just a little drawing, unsigned and not dated.

The medicine circle and the bike

Tony had a hard time doing nothing, in 1992 he had build a swimming pool in a wooden coral. it turned out that as soon as when we went shopping kids would jump into it, unsupervised obviously. As a consequence we had to tear it down, gave the pool to a neighbor with kids and used the coral to fence in my two griffons. The pool left this wonderful impression in the dust and Tony decided to make a medicine circle out of it. He put all kinds of good stuff under the cement: salt, corn and such. The bike project was probably in 1995. He gave this bike to a dear friend Dale who unfortunately crashed with rather severe consequences for himself. Bill Hamilton found Dale in the desert and got him and the bike home.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The pond


Morning in Hoboken. Light meets me again, the light
of long languid days at the pond near Lawrence Hall.
Oh, eight again in the orphanage of Chicago!
(My Cherokee daddy took a deadly drink of acid,
run-down by the taunting sneers about his lineage.)

All the time of the world. I and the boys never plan,
it all happens to us of itself, like one day
just being dropped here of itself. It is a tacit covenant:
misery we drown together in this secret pond
in the middle of the woods. All our senses sharp.

All gradations of green circle the glade where clouds
touch water, pink veils brought in by the wind.
I hear yesteryear’s sounds: the song of redwing and hummingbird
blending with our high voices of boys and the diving,
the breaking and splashing of water. We looking for water turtles.

Briefly eight again in the orphanage, but the screeching
of the seagulls brings me back. Winter in Hoboken.
Fog collars me now. Singularly touches me,
mutes colors and sounds. People hurry by, numbed and lost
deep in themselves. It is the restraint that strikes me here:

of the light hardly showing color, of the pigeon on the branch in the mist,
of nothing still stirring, of sound we gave a name but continues
to stutter strangely in the ears and, if at last the sun breaks through,
the shifting of shadow and light. It is my heart that is touched here.
Years and years beyond words.

Painting a clown on a trapeze in Chloride

This painting was done in 1998 in the front room of the gas station. The first beginning is at the top left, the second phase, botom left near the end when the light was getting low. For good measure sake also look at the smaller pallet he used and the freshness of the colors on it. He always used oil paint never acrylic. It sadly was Tony's last summer in Arizona... If you click on the picture it should get bigger.