Episode 30: UNVARNISHED #1

Welcome to Suggested Donation Unvarnished. This is the first in our series within the series of rougher, unedited conversations mostly between Tony and Edward, but here we are joined by up-and-coming superstar artist Anthony Baus to discuss summer, the fellowship that took him to Italy, and the most popular Scotch in Mexico. We hope you enjoy these episodes full of "Unvarnished Moments" which we will periodically and without warning throw into the mix alongside our regularly scheduled program. 


Anthony Baus "Santa Maria Maggiore" / ink wash and pen / 15"x22" / 2016

Episode 29: Max Ginsburg

Sharpen your pencils and get ready for our latest back-to-school spectacular! In by popular demand we have a wide-ranging conversation with the one and only Max Ginsburg. Max walks us through about seven decades of realist art and illustration enlightening us with his philosophy along the way. Thanks to the Grand Central Atelier in Queens, NY where we recorded this one and as always to the fabulous and fierce Jay Braun. Hope you enjoy! 


FORECLOSURE   Oil   40" x 65"   2011

UNEMPLOYED ON LINE   Oil   40" x 80"   2013

BUS STOP   Oil   50" x 72"   2010

Episode 28: Michelle Ross


We recorded with violinist and composer Michelle Ross exploring the intersection between classical music and art. Michelle is a hugely accomplished musician and we discuss her early introduction to the violin, the influence of her teacher Itzhak Perlman, her recent 33-days of Bach performances in NYC, and music composition. We loved speaking with Michelle and even got her to play exclusively for the podcast. We hope that you enjoy this one! 

Thanks to Eleventh Street Arts at the Grand Central Atelier, where we recorded. 




photo credit: Lisa Marie Mazzucco

photo credit: George Evan

Episode 27: Mario Robinson

We sat down with Mario Robinson for a great and completely unedited conversation - we have been wanting to record with him for a while and we finally had the chance on the heels of the release of his excellent new book about painting in watercolor: Lessons in Realistic Watercolor. We hear about his epic journey from Oklahoma to New Jersey to the US Army to Brooklyn to Alabama and back to Jersey. Mario is a friend and a hugely talented artist so we had a blast with this recording. We hope that you enjoy our conversation with him as much as we did! Thanks to the Grand Central Atelier where we recorded, Kelly Foss and of course the lovely and wickedly talented Jay Bran (Braun-Braun-Braun).



Episode 26: Sharon Sprung

We recorded with artist and teacher Sharon Sprung. Sharon is a leader in the New York figurative art scene. We follow her from Glen Cove, Long Island to Cornell to NYC. She studied with legendary teachers Robert Beverly Hale and Harvey Dinnerstein at the National Academy of Design and Art Students League before joining the ranks herself. It was a fun conversation and we hope that you enjoy it! As always, thanks to the Grand Central Atelier where we recorded and ol' man Jay Braun for taking the lead on our new jingle, perhaps one of the all time great jingles created by human or beast. 


"Bettina", Acrylic & Oil on Board, 48 x 30

"Callas" Oil on Panel, 40 x 40

"Zeli", Oil on Panel, 36 x 36

"Pink and Red Meditation", Oil on Panel, 36x42

Episode 25: Brian Booth Craig

We sat down and had a fun conversation with sculptor Brian Booth Craig. Brian has a show of his sculptures at Bernarducci Meisel in New York City that opens on April 7.




Amanda I, Bronze, 2015

Carey, Bronze, 2015

Emily, Bronze, 2015

Diane, Bronze, 2015



Episode 24: Jon Demartin

We are pleased to announce the release of our latest installment of Suggested Dontation Podcast, a conversation with acclaimed artist, teacher and now author, Jon DeMartin. We had a blast speaking with Tony’s studio neighbor and friend Jon. We covered baseball, his training with Michael Aviano, the elusive Ketchup Bottle painting, Baldassarre Franceschini and of course his new book: Drawing Atelier, The Figure. You can learn more about Jon, see his work and order his book through his website: www.jondemartin.com . We hope that you enjoy the discussion! As always thanks to the great Jay Braun, the Grand Central Atelier, and especially all of you who continue to listen and send positive comments, feedback and emails! 



TheThree Graces, 2002, red and white chalk, 26 x 19 inches

Soaring, 2012, oil on canvas, 36x24 inches

Faith in the Wilderness, 2006-2007, oil on canvas, 26x53 inches

Bound, 2004, black and white chalk, 18x12 inches

Episode 23: Scott Waddell

We're back, again. This time we are joined by artist and old pal, Scott Waddell. We recorded with local hero, Jay Braun, at the Grand Central Atelier in Queens, NY, where Scott, Tony and Edward all teach painting. Scott recently left his long run as one of the favorite core instructors to pursue his burgeoning online mentoring and instructional videos. We discuss this transition, his roots in film and, of course, his epic paintings. We hope you enjoy this conversation with one of our favorite artists! Definitely check out Scott's informative and engaging videos at his website:


Episode 22: Joseph McGurl

It’s been a while, but we are back with another riveting installment of Suggested Donation Podcast! 
We sat down with an artist who is widely considered to be one of the greatest living landscape painters, Joseph McGurl. Joseph’s paintings fuse vivid detail with a textured surface creating paintings that possess real presence. His works are painted using only his plein-air sketches, scientific knowledge and large doses of imagination. We discuss his philosophy on art, technique, tools and his love of science. We are grateful to Joseph McGurl for generously sharing his ideas with us. Thanks always to the Salmagundi Club for hosting us, and to Jay Braun for his many talents. Enjoy the show! 


Episode 21: Robert Simon

Suggested Donation Podcast is back with another dynamite episode! Hot off the presses, our back to school special edition is perhaps our most extraordinary scoop to date, featuring Old Master Dealer and real-life Indiana Jones, Robert Simon. Hear the gripping story of an art historical find of momentous proportions -- the discovery of the century -  told by the man at the center of it, and all in his own words presented in futuristic technicolor sound. This epic story has barely been covered by the media in the US of A, so we are very excited to be the exclusive podcast source for the Robert Simon saga!

Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452-1519)

"Salvator Mundi" Oil on panel, 25 13/16 x 17 7/8 inches (65.6 x 45.4 cm)
Private Collection

Episode 20: Juliette Aristides

 Juliette Aristides is a monumental figure in the classical art community. Her three books on painting have been hugely influential to a generation of artists, with a new, fourth book in the works. Together they create a context for the pictures of some of the most revered contemporary classical realist painters by placing their works next to a lineage of old master and 19th Century paintings. Juliette continues to inspire scores with her own painting and drawing, teaching, and lectures. She is also an old friend and we were happy to finally catch her on a trip to NYC to record a conversation at the Salmagundi Club. Thanks so much for a great discussion Juliette. And, thanks always to Jay Braun!


Juliette Aristides, "Roses", oil on Linen, 28 x 28 in

Juliette Aristides "The Bowl", oil on linen

Juliette Aristides

Juliette Aristides "Touch", oil on linen, 18.5 x 26.5

Episode 19: Cesar Santos

We were recently joined by acclaimed artist Cesar Santos, who dropped by the Grand Central Atelier while in town for the Art Miami show in NYC. We had a super fun and energetic conversation about art, getting into galleries, boxing and more. Thanks again to Jay Braun, the Grand Central Atelier and Cesar Santos! 

Next Door Neighbor. 36 X 28 in, oil on linen

Welder. 63 X 40 in, oil on linen

Amore. 29 X 22 in, oil on linen

Episode 18: Daniel Graves

We are very excited to announce the latest installment of Suggested Donation Podcast featuring artist, and founder and director of the Florence Academy, Daniel Graves. Daniel is a titan of the Classical Realism/Atelier movement and we are deeply honored that he took the time to sit down with us and share his ideas. We were lucky enough to schedule an evening at the Salmagundi Club  during his recent trip to inaugurate the newest branch of the Florence Academy here in the US, in Jersey City. Daniel is unparalleled in his tremendous impact spreading Classical training and the ideals of humanist art, and we sincerely hope that you enjoy this conversation. Thanks to Daniel Graves and to Susan Tintori for organizing the recording, the Salmagundi Club for hosting us, and Jay Braun for being a dear.

Survivor of Abstract Art
Oil on linen
80 x 60 cm
(31.5 x 23.75 in.)

Episode 17: Sadie Valeri

We are proud to release the latest installment of Suggested Donation Podcast with artist, teacher and founder and director of the Sadie Valeri Atelier: you guessed it...Sadie Valeri. Sadie was so generous with her time and her thoughts, and we are grateful that we are able to share this super-fun conversation with you. Sadie's atelier was founded by a grassroots network of artists sought her out after following her outstanding blog which documents her own journey to learn classical drawing and painting techniques. We follow her development from a young Salem girl who noticed how dirt forms on snow, through RISD, and on to her transition from graphic designer to hi-tech web designer to very low-tech indirect oil painter. We hope you enjoy this one! Thanks always to Jay Braun, The Grand Central Atelier for hosting us for this recording, and everyone who continues to listen and write in with much appreciated words of support. 

“Between Darkness and Wonder” | oil in panel | 16 x 20 inches

"Self portrait at 41 in the studio with dog" 31 x 41 inches, oil on linen

"Undersea" 16 x 20 inches, 2011

Episode 16: James Gurney

We sat down at the Grand Central Atelier's Eleventh Street Arts Gallery to record a much anticipated conversation with artist James Gurney. Our discussion traces his journey from boxcar hopping with Thomas Kinkade and an assortment of hobos to the success of his Dinatopia books to his wildly popular blog Gurney Journey. Through it all, James never stops sketching. We had fun talking shop, and hearing amazing stories from one of the most widely requested guests to be featured on Suggested Donation Podcast. Many thanks to James for taking the time to share his thoughts with us, Jay Braun and the Grand Central Atelier. We hope you enjoy this episode! 





"Dinosaur Parade"

"Garden of Hope"

"Chandara" 24 x 52 inches, from "Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara"

"The Sinking of the Cumberland" commissioned by Nat Geo and currently on display in the Maritime Museum in Virginia.

"Tarquinia"  Nat Geo illustration of the Etruscan "Blue Devil Tomb"

Lightweight sketch pochade

Episode 15: David Kassan

We were recently joined by artist David Kassan and his friend
Johnny Walker for a fun conversation at the Salmagundi
Club. David is coming off of the success of his Kickstarter
campaign to fund his Parallel Palette. David discussed his
work, inspiration, roots and his Kassan Foundation. We hope
you enjoy the episode as much as we enjoyed speaking with 
this widely admired and talented contemporary figurative 

David Kassan, "Antonio Lopez Life Study" 16 x 14

Episode 14: Chef Nick Anderer

We were lucky enough to sit down with the executive chef and co-owner of two of NYC's most celebrated restaurants, Chef Nick Anderer of Maialino and Marta, both part of the Danny Meyer empire. We sat down in the private dining room at Maialino to discuss cuisine, craft and art. Chef Nick was in college focusing on art history on a semester in Rome when he first recognized his desire to find a career in food. 

Episode 13: Year In Review

Edward, Tony and Jay talk about what 2014 was like doing the podcast, answering some listeners questions (criticism) and the all important what's in store for 2015. Edward makes Tony uncomfortable by saying nice things about one of his paintings and more. 

Tony Curanaj "Oblivion", Oil on Canvas 2014

Tony Curanaj "Oblivion" Detail, Oil on Canvas


Episode 12: Michael Grimaldi

Amidst protests, police sirens and a booming party below us, we sat down to record a conversation at the Salmagundi Club with one of our favorite artists and dear friend, Michael Grimaldi. Michael has joined the lineage of great artists who teach at the Art Students League of New York, and has become a sought after anatomy instructor, teaching over dissections at Drexel University. He made the unusual choice to dedicate himself to drawing in recent years, and we explore his motivation for this shift. We had a fun conversation and are grateful to have had the chance to speak with one of the most distinguished draughtsmen of our time. We hope you enjoy the conversation!

Thanks again to the Salmagundi Club and Jay Braun

Study for Drowned World II, 2014, Graphite, Gouache and Enamel on Paper, 17x14

Study for 'Loomings', 2013, Graphite and Charcoal on Paper, 18x30

Doorway, Florence, 2014, Pencil on Paper, 18x12

Sleeper, 2014, Graphite on Paper, 17x24

Episode 11: Marc Dalessio

We sat down with a friend and one of our favorite painters, Marc Dalessio. Marc 
primarily paints portraits and landscapes, and has become known for his 
large and small landscapes paintings executed on site. He is a sought 
after teacher, and an international man of mystery.  We had a fun evening
recording a conversation in the Salmagundi Club Library, where Marc told
us about his training in Florence, his experience drawing around riots and
tear gas, and most importantly, his motivation for painting everyday surroundings
all over the world. 

Thanks always to Jay Braun, The Salmagundi Club, and everyone who listens!