Off-Site/Off-Season: Joni Cresci

Posted on March 26, 2015 by Sawdust Art Festival

Joni Cresci with her portrait of William Shakespeare. Photo Cred:Rosanne Nitti

Joni Cresci with her portrait of William Shakespeare.
Photo Credit: Rosanne Nitti

Many artists develop their love for art at a very young age. Joni Cresci started drawing around the age of 10. She was introduced to art by her best friend, Jenny’s, mother, who was an artist. When Joni would go over to Jenny’s house after dinner to play, Jenny’s mother would sit Joni down at the dining room table with a sketch book and let Joni draw until Jenny was finished with dinner and could go out to play.

Joni attended San Francisco State University and received her Bachelors of Fine Art and became a street artist in San Francisco, selling her embossed drawings. She sold her work on the streets of San Francisco for seven years. She then moved to Sonoma, California to be closer to her mother. While in Sonoma, Joni took figure drawing classes. Joni always loved drawing and animation but was never one for painting. She says she “never liked painting.”

While taking care of her mother in Sonoma, Joni became interested in fused glass. Then in 2012 her best friend Jenny caller her from Laguna Beach and asked her to come down and live in Laguna Beach with her, Joni couldn’t pass up on the opportunity. When Joni moved to Laguna Beach, she had every intention of pursuing a career in fused glass. Then she met Sawdust artist Hugo Rivera and was captivated by his large figurative paintings.

After seeing Hugo Rivera’s paintings, Joni decided to take a workshop Hugo was teaching and fell in love with figure painting. She has always loved observing people and capturing their essence in her work. She feels a person’s eyes are the most captivating feature which is why she focuses on her figures eyes.

Joni paints with acrylic paint and uses mainly bright colors in her paintings. She is influenced by impressionist and abstract contemporary works. She is inspired by the work of El Greco, Matisse and Andy Warhol as well as feedback from her clients and those observing her work. She generally paints famous characters from paintings and history, such as the face of the Mona Lisa, Shakespeare, Albert Einstein, The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Joni is currently working on a portrait of Frida  Kahlo as well as a series featuring children of the world.

Call Joni at 707-322-5355,  email her at or come on down to the Sawdust Art Festival this summer to view or purchase her  work.

Portrait of Elvis Presley

Working of Portrait of Frida Kahlo

Children of the World Series Piece

Children of the World Series Piece- In Progress