Romildo Marranci “Jr” is a painter who lives and works in Atlanta, Georgia. His large abstract paintings for sale have been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States, and he’s been profiled in several major publications, including Simply Buckhead.
His abstract expressionist work blends a spontaneity of brush strokes with an impressionist’s sensibility. Many of his works give us visions that almost collapse into landscapes or organic forms, but Marranci’s approach always keeps the door open to broader interpretations. That versatility has made it sought-after art for commercial buildings and industrial spaces, as well as great modern home decor.
Though his wall art for sale is the center of his business, his process focuses on the pure experience of creating in the studio. This engagement and sheer enjoyment can be felt radiating off of his canvases, which stand out with bold colors and richly detailed texture.
In the following interview, Marranci discusses his past, his process today, and his reflections on life as an artist.
Let’s begin with a little background information. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you started your career as an artist.
I was born in Recife, Brazil, moving to the United States at 17. My family first lived in Hickory, North Carolina. While I have always loved making art, it seemed like an impossible dream to do it professionally. For instance, my high school art class fascinated me, but even the teacher treated it as a laid-back class. So, while I loved to create art, it seemed it would always be just a hobby.
My first real career was as an owner of restaurants and commercial real estate. I was in my mid-20s with a team of 15 people, with much to think about and deal with. But through the chaos of all that, art still called to me.
That’s when I decided to teach myself. I used all the resources I could to learn, from online courses to books to constant practice. This familiarized me with a range of new mediums and techniques, but most importantly, it got me to take time out of my day to create.
As a self-taught artist, I had much freedom from the beginning, which has continued to be a significant theme in my career. I have explored many tools and techniques, and it took a long time to whittle this down to the style I have today finally. Thanks to that long and circuitous path, I have a large arsenal in the studio.
It’s now been about 15 years since I first offered my abstract paintings for sale. In that time, I’ve sold works to collectors around the world and exhibited across the country. That response keeps me motivated.
I balance my life as a studio artist with my other passion — food. So today, I am an artist and the founder of PREP Kitchens US. I’m extremely lucky to have art, entrepreneurship, and food all mixed into my day-to-day life.
Your oeuvre includes such a wide range of mediums and changing methods. How do your materials and process inform your work?
For me, the process of painting is indistinguishable from the painting itself. It all exists in the act of creation, of making marks on the surface, combining color, and discovering emerging forms. This act itself is the anchor, what keeps calling to me. Yes, completing works brings its own joy, and seeing my art hanging in galleries and people’s homes is satisfying. But the act of creation remains the sacred ground I always want to return to.
For me, painting and creating is all about freedom. It is not about following fixed methods but applying skills while also leaving yourself open to your next inspiration — except, of course, for my commissioned work! This is the beauty of making contemporary, abstract art: you have so much freedom.
To use that freedom well requires years of development and experimentation, which means you have to fail many times before you can succeed. Though it takes countless hours of hard work in your studio, it gradually brings you to this space where there is no separation between you the artist and your process.
Recently, I’ve been including materials that I never have before. This is both a material and process decision, and the work reflects that. I’ve always experimented with mixed media for this reason — when you add new things to your process, it comes out the other side in exciting, abstract paintings.
I don’t do this without care. The painting must warrant adding any material, but once that new element is in the mix, it defines the work.
Today, a single painting might contain acrylics applied using a brush, palette, knife, and fork. It might use oil pastels and foil. Because I have these in my repertoire, they open new avenues at every point. They set up branch options and opportunities to chase down different instincts in the studio.
Tell me more about your approach. Your paintings dive into the abstract but maintain some figurative elements. How do you conceptualize this balance?
I think of my artwork as colorful, abstract pieces that contain some figurative elements that bring in their own forms and colors. The compositions come together without clear narratives, allowing the viewer to enter the frame and engage with what they see there on their own terms. But always, the elements need to have some component that makes you feel.
Many of the paintings begin as inspiration from looking out the window, especially while driving throughout the southeast United States, where I’m constantly traveling for work. Seeing the land scroll by, your eyes must quickly form this impression of the world before you — usually simplifying things into fields of color, gradients, scribbles of detail, textures, and simplified lines. And those are the foundations of abstract expressionism.
This visualization of movement is critical to many of my paintings. I want my landscapes to breathe, to be alive in the room with you. That’s why, I think, they do so well as art for public spaces and rooms where you want much energy. My paintings are more than wall art that sits and waits for you to notice it. They leap out and join the conversation.
My landscapes make it easier to see this balance between the expressive yet abstract marks and the impressionist sense of the subject matter. But the same considerations carry over into my other work. In paintings like Rain and Lost Orchid, for instance, I go much further into the abstract. But there is a figurative framework that still guides things.
My paintings strive to capture some sense of a real-world subject, but they always explore the abstract elements of painting for their own sake.
L What other things do you find inspiration in?
Music is an important companion in the studio. I love listening to music while I paint because it so easily taps into our emotions. This is especially true of music that you listen to a lot at some point in your life. The first few bars of a song can transport you back to an exact point in your life. From an emotional standpoint, music is both highly abstract and devastatingly specific — features I want in my work.
When I listen to music in the studio, it helps me channel those emotions directly onto the canvas. That way, the work has the same effect as the music has on me. Sometimes the effect is even more fruitful. The unique combination of the music, the vibe of the day, and the headspace I’m in while working creates entirely new feelings.
As for genres of music, I listen to everything. Jazz, indie, hip hop, country — anything. Any decade, style, just if it gets me moving.
Nature is also a deep well of inspiration for my art. Its colors and shapes, its quiet moments, and its raging storms. It’s no wonder why creative people of all stripes seek out nature as the great teacher for making beauty.
Of course, I draw constant energy and vitality from the art world itself. Visiting galleries and museums renews your connection to this collective human enterprise, and it reminds you that there is still so much more to do and see.
Part of that is bringing art into my home. My walls are filled with art, both my own pieces and things I’ve collected in my travels. Living among artwork is important for an artist.
Let’s go with you into your studio for a moment. The music is on and a fresh canvas is sitting in front of you. What’s the studio look like? How do you proceed? Set the scene for us.
A great studio is like a great kitchen: clean, organized, and fully stocked. This means things are always where I need them to be, and there is no time wasted searching for this or that tool. And by controlling color, I get a direct mental connection to the painting.
Music is on, of course, chosen to match the feeling of the piece I have in my head, and I might have some food or maybe a drink.
There is typically no preparatory work. I rarely sketch things out for days before committing to painting. I trust the idea in my head.
Ideas for paintings come to me at all different times, informed by my environment and the way I understand it — both on a scientific level and an existential level. This mixture of experience and understanding starts to build an image. Occasionally, that image calls out to be painted.
Many times, I can physically feel the motion in the image. It’s as if there are mental vibrations that pulse out from the subject when I think about it. That’s when I know I have to paint it, and it is this intensity that makes sketching things out beforehand unnecessary. Of course, this is a little different with commissions.
I usually start with acrylics. I love acrylics because they dry quickly. For that reason, I never use oils. I jump in with these fast-drying paints, getting what’s in my head out onto the canvas. Typically, I don’t mix on a palette. Instead, I prefer layers of broken color.
Throughout the process, I step back and examine the piece. In these moments, you must listen to your intuition and let it guide you. Assessing what’s in front of me, I’ll make pivots, tweaks, edits, and additions through multiple layers. This is aided by the tools and mediums I’m exploring at the time. I might apply thick layers with a knife, add intricate details with a pen, or use something I’ve never tried before.
So much of my painting comes down to mark-making. This is the most intimate moment between the artist and their work. It’s the exact point where my hand, my entire body, is connected to the canvas. That connection leaves a trace, which is the mark, and so in a way each painting is a collection of these moments.
From start to finish, a painting will take about three weeks to complete. I’ve found that the timeline doesn’t change depending on the size or subject matter. If I’m working on a medium-sized abstract painting or a large impressionist painting — it all takes the same amount of time.
What’s the effect you want your art to have on you, the viewer, and the world?
The art has its needed effect while I’m making it. It gives me a channel to express myself, to take what I feel inside, and make it something tangible in the world. If someone wants to buy abstract art from my website, and it brings me money to eat and do it all again tomorrow, that is even better.
So far in my career, I’ve been very lucky that my artwork has touched so many people. Especially today, when collectors can find my large abstract paintings for sale online, I’ve been able to grow my career. This keeps me excited for the future.
But if that went away, it would still be worth it. Being in my studio with a canvas and a set of paints is where I feel most at home.
For the viewer, I want them to respond openly, ready to feel whatever emotion comes to them. The art world can become too obsessed with what the artist intended, rather than connecting to the raw emotion of the piece. I want my art to create an emotional experience for the viewer — something that can’t be simplified into words but must be felt.
Your art has a wide range of appeal. What do you think contributes to that?
Large abstract art works well in commercial settings and modern home decor. When people are looking to buy art for businesses or the house, there are many factors beyond their control — like the amount of natural light or the construction materials. Abstract and impressionist art like mine fits in with a variety of situations in a way many other styles do not.
I’ve also had the opportunity to work on all kinds of commissions, a service I continue to offer today. That’s given me so much insight into how paintings exist as wall art for the home or office. Paintings are more than just images. They live in context, and you get an appreciation for that the more you create works for specific needs.
So even when I’m painting a piece based on my inspiration, I bring that experience with me. That’s been a large part of my success selling abstract art online and in galleries.