Everyone loves a love story, especially when it beats the odds. San Diego artists Anna Zappoli and Dan Adams, frequently seen at local art events with their American Hairless dog Nika, have been creating such a romance for a quarter of a century.Adams, small in stature and gentle in manner, is essentially a self-taught artist who is best known for his charming abstract dog paintings.
Zappoli, with her long dark mane, captivating accent, and art degree from the Istituto d’Arte di Catania, paints very large, emotional, uninhibited canvases that defy convention.
Born and raised in Catania, Sicily, Anna says of her complex early years, “It seemed that there was no time to be young.” She describes growing up in a homeland of extreme contrasts: “War and peace, love and hate, old and new.” Speaking of her artwork, she comments, “The most important thing is what I want to express: my concerns for the world, my happiness, my love of animals and humanity.”
By contrast, Dan has lived in the security of San Diego’s Bay Park area since age 8. The long-term employee of the San Diego City School District experienced an epiphany while viewing the San Diego Museum of Art’s 1974 Toulouse Lautrec exhibit. He began acquiring books through which he studied the work of master artists, who he considers to be his teachers. He says of his artwork, “The handling of the paint is most important to me. It’s the ‘fingerprint’ of the artist.” His small canvases show fresh exuberance, regardless of subject matter.
The two artists met in 1987 while renting spaces in the Studio Building on San Diego’s Kettner Boulevard. Although they seldom spoke, they often greeted each other at local art events. Dan reminisced, “I fell in love with her accent first. She was so beautiful that I thought she was way out of my league.”
Months after giving up her studio space, Anna unknowingly changed the course of their lives by leaving a note and phone number for Dan to contact her. Only then did they actually begin spending time together. Anna said, “We spoke about art all the time and every time I was involved in an art project, I made sure that Dan was in, too.” She added, “I love Dan not only for the artist that he is, but also the way he plays. We have fun.”
Dan says, “We really are ‘soul mates.’ I thank God every day for the miracle that is Anna.”
Anna has earned nine solo exhibits at the San Diego Art Institute and has shown in many local galleries, California Center for the Arts Escondido Museum, Bergamot Station in Los Angeles, and Galeria De La Ciudad in Tijuana.
Dan’s paintings are shown at the Colin Fisher Studios in Palm Springs, John Natsoulas Gallery in Sacramento, as well as in frequent juried shows in the San Diego area.
To learn more about their art, visit Anna’s website at www.zhibit.org/annazapp and Dan’s at www.zhibit.org/danadams.