Welcome to my world of art! Benvenuti!
Greetings friends, artists, art lovers, and collectors!
Thank you for visiting my website. Please let me introduce myself.
My name is Danielle Villicana
and I'm an American artist, art dealer, and speaker
with a passion for the transformative power of art!
I just love art, always have, ever since I was a kid.
I invite you to join me on a journey of
discovery, exploration, and art inspiration!
Please sign up for my newsletter below
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including my following companies, brands, and projects:
Villa Margherita a Paradise for Artists in Tuscany™
VI DA Studios™ will be opening in 2023/2024 in Tuscany at two locations,
one in Florence (Firenze) and one in Arezzo.
More info on the Arezzo location and opening date will be announced soon.
We invite you to sign up for our newsletter to receive an invitation to the
Grand Opening of VI DA Studios™ in Florence
on December 6, 2023, at 6 PM
Via del Purgatorio 14r, 50122 Firenze (FI), ITALY
Cell. +39 338 600 5593 / +1 626 318-8779
All invitations to our exhibitions and events will be sent with love
directly to your email box, so please sign up at the bottom of this page
and be a part of our incredible contemporary art community.
Visit our websites and follow and share with us on social media.
We invite you to become a benefactor, patron, or member of our
International Nonprofit PARADISE FOR ARTISTS™
in honor of the painter, architect & biographer
GIORGIO VASARI and contemporary artists!
SAVE THE DATE June 27, 2024.
We are organizing a very special event for Giorgio Vasari.
Please join us and participate!
There will be festivals, exhibits, conferences, an art auction,
a special dinner, and much much more.
Thank you for your interest!
We look forward to seeing you soon. Viva l'Arte!
Artist & Art Dealer Danielle Villicana - Photo © Camera Chiara
A LITTLE ABOUT DANIELLE'S STORY & PASSION FOR ART
Danielle Villicana is an American artist, art dealer, and speaker.
She was born in San Francisco, California, and raised in Pasadena and Laguna Beach. She now splits her time between Los Angeles, Arezzo, and Firenze (Florence), Tuscany in Italy.
The Early Years
Her life as an artist began at a young age. She was always a very crafty kid and loved playing piano and speaking French, which she began at the age of five, as well as cooking, gardening, drawing, creating and her absolute favorite was writing famous people, sticker companies such as Mrs. Grossman's and entering contests because she loved reaching out to people and receiving mail.
Danielle won her first award for drawing at age six from the Pasadena Star-News, which sent her a cash award for $5 (lots of candy money back in those days) and they published the drawing of her favorite doll in the newspaper. That was the event that got the ball rolling. She spent much of her childhood in the Huntington Gardens and the Norton Simon in Pasadena, lots of trips to the La Brea Tar Pits, LACMA, and the Southwest Museum of the American Indian in Los Angeles, and her love for art, the Indians, and culture, in general, continued to grow.
The Pasadena Symphony, and seeing theater in Pasadena and Los Angeles, were all very much a part of her upbringing. She chose to pursue theater, music, and singing in high school as well as leadership and French,
her favorite subjects.
At the age of eleven, she visited the magnificent city of London, Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of the great playwright Shakespeare, as well as the mind-boggling and surreal Stonehenge on her very first trip abroad with her family. It was an eye-opening trip. The tulips were in bloom, and visits to places including Buckingham Palace and the Wedgwood Factory proved decisive in directing her interests toward art and Europe. She took another trip with her school the following year and visited Spain, France, Switzerland, and Italy, and then and there, Danielle made up her mind at the age of twelve, that Europe was her ultimate chosen destination. She never went back on that decision, that dream. She went forward and seized it years later after college!
The trip to London and visiting the home of Shakespeare fueled her interest and passion for theater, while the visits to France opened her eyes to the beauty of medieval cities like Carcassonne and wonderful foods, pâté, and wine. Italy and Spain, opened her eyes to art, visiting the Prado for the first time, discovering exceptional artist El Greco, visiting Venice, the balcony of Romeo and Juliet, Verona, and Milan, truly too many wonderful experiences to note in this short introduction. It was all fantastic, especially the Swiss chocolate. So memorable was a private art collection that they showed her class in Lugano. She was only twelve, but she was thoroughly captivated by all the art and architecture. Danielle dedicated most of her time for the following ten years to the same topics, music, theater, French, and art, participating in countless plays, winning numerous awards for acting, experience as a stage manager and director, and working in just about every aspect on and behind the stage.
Laguna Beach High School - Home of the Artists
At the age of thirteen, upon moving to Laguna Beach to attend high school, an event that completely changed her life, she decided to become an artist, although she was not sure what kind, perhaps an actress, a fine artist, an international business woman, only time would tell. That same year she traveled to New York City for the first time and had her first experiences in the Big Apple where she visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the MoMA, Carnegie Hall, Storm King Art Center, and other incredible museums. She also saw several musicals on Broadway.
In high school, Danielle blossomed. She was Sophmore Class President and in her Junior year, she was the Activities Director for the Associated Student Body (ASB). In her Junior year, she was awarded a prestigious Women's Leadership Award, California Girl's State, where she was chosen as the one female in the junior class
to be honored and sent to Sacramento for a week to work on leadership skills with other women from high schools across California. She won the French Achievement Award. Danielle was President of the Thespians at
Laguna Beach High School. She worked for the Shakespeare Festival/LA a couple of summers, all great experiences. She also worked for the Recreation Department of Laguna Beach for two years on the musical event Battle of the Bands. In her senior year, Danielle was voted in as the Associated Student Body President,
the first female President in seven years, which was a huge honor and a very rewarding experience.
College Years: San Francisco and Los Angeles
Upon graduation from Laguna Beach High School in 1990, she moved to San Francisco, her natal city, in search of her roots and new pastures, and studied music, singing, French, and art history for a year at San Francisco State University, taking a break from the theater. In the summer of 1991, Danielle won a scholarship from the French Consulate of California to study in Alsace, France for a summer workshop. She also spent a month visiting the museums in Paris. She also began writing, something that she very much enjoys to this day. The following year she decided to return to Los Angeles and complete her studies in theater at Occidental College, as they had just built the incredibly beautiful new Keck Theater and the stage was calling her. Danielle performed in numerous plays in College as well as directed a play in French about Molière, amongst other projects including assistant stage managing for a professional theater group Singular Productions in Hollywood and working as an Assistant to Director Mark Burman for the film Ricky Rosen's Bar Mitzvah.
In 1993, Danielle had the incredible luck to meet conceptual artist Eugenia Butler and conducted the role of assistant to Eugenia on the project The Kitchen Table presented at ART/LA'93 fair, where artists of the caliber of Marina Abramovic, Carolee Schneemann, Felipe Ehrenberg and other thirty figures of international fame were present. Danielle interned for distinguished Hollywood art dealer Jan Baum the same year at the Jan Baum Gallery on La Brea. These two internships completely changed her life, opening her to the real world of contemporary art in Los Angeles and the international scene.
Danielle graduated with a B.A. from Occidental College of Los Angeles in Art History and the Visual Arts with a minor in Theater and French in 1994. She was one class and project short of having a double major in theater, but she was itching to go and with her teacher's encouragement, she was on a plane seven days after graduation to Europe to study classical drawing and painting. She had a burning need to see with her very own eyes the paintings she had studied in her art history classes. She had also been introduced to Giorgio Vasari by Art History Prof. Marjorie Och and had read the Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, a book that unbeknownst to her would later very much influence and change her life.
Artist Danielle Villicana - Florence, Italy in 2003 - On top of the Cathedral Santa Maria del Fiore
Classical Drawing and Painting in Firenze, Italy
Danielle's love for the Renaissance and art history took her to Firenze (Florence), Italy in the fall of 1994. She studied
at the leading Florentine atelier, from Charles Cecil Studios to The Florence Academy in 1995 to the studio of
Master Silvestro Pistolesi in 1996. She studied art history and traveled all over Italy with the architect
Prof. Andrea Canepele. He taught a small group of students from the Charles Cecil Studios art history and Italian culture as well as the Italian language. They visited gorgeous cities all over Italy, including Florence, Arezzo, Pisa, Rome, Naples, Venice, Padova, Viareggio, Carrara, Pietrasanta, Ferrara, Milan, Bologna, Genova, Cortona, Lucca, Barga, Siena, Perugia, Carrara, Montalcino, Montepulciano, San Gimignano, Parma, and countless other beautiful cities.
Danielle also studied printmaking with Sweitlan Kracyzna and Santa Reparata International School of Art
and mural drawing with Petr Jochman at Brno University in the Czech Republic. Afterward, she frequented the Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze (Academy of Fine Arts in Florence) from 1997 to 1998, and in the same year learned the techniques of fresco painting at the school Vainella of Leonetto Tintori in Prato. What was to be one year of studies abroad had turned into four! She considered moving to New York and getting a Master's, she had even checked out NYU in person, which she liked very much, as it is located right in front of the Metropolitan Museum, but Florence was so gorgeous, that she decided to just stay there and study in what is universally known as one of the most magnificent cities of the world, Florentia, and study the paintings she was interested in learning about from life.
In 1997, Danielle had her first solo exhibit in Barga, Italy. The following year, in 1998, she returned to the United States and had her second exhibition in Pasadena, California at El Portal curated by Susana Smith Bautista. Immediately her paintings began to sell! She officially began her career as an international artist and portrait painter.
Sculpting and Painting in Las Vegas and Los Angeles
In the summer of 1998, Danielle moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, and began working for the international theming company Treadway Industries, where she worked on prestigious projects including The Venetian Hotel & Casino, Aladdin Gaming, Universal Studios Japan, Disney California Adventure, and others, as a sculptress, mural painter, and decorator from 1998 until 2000. Her duties included sculpting in the Art Department under the direction of Joe McWilliams. Several months after her arrival, she was promoted and became part of the Sales & Marketing team, working with architects and designers, as well as Assistant to the CEO Peter Brake. She later founded the Mural Painting and Fresco Department, where she was the Creative Director.
In Los Angeles, Danielle worked as a mural painter with Saltman Art in Burbank in 1999 on the Venetian Hotel & Casino, creating architectural trompe l'oeil decoration with an incredible team of artists including Guerino Lovato from Venice.
Sculpting and Film in Bracciano, Rome and Tuscany
At the end of these projects in Las Vegas, in June 2001 Danielle returned to Italy to work for the summer with noted American sculptor Milton Hebald at his studio in Bracciano, Rome. In the fall she resumed her studies at the Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze (Academy of Fine Arts in Florence), and soon after transferred to the Accademia di Belle Arti Roma (Academy of Fine Arts in Rome), where she studied figurative and abstract art with Prof. Costantino Baldino. Shortly after she began working in the art department of production designer Francesco Frigeri at Cinecittà, where she interned from 2002 to 2003 on Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ.
Danielle continued in the meantime her plastic and pictorial research, experimenting with abstraction.
Putting Down Roots in Arezzo, Tuscany - Italy
Feeling the need to settle down, after so much traveling around and living in big cities, Danielle decided to move to the oasis of Arezzo in 2005, perfectly located between Florence and Rome her favorite cities, and easily accessible via train to any city in Italy and thus began her project Villa Margherita a Paradise for Artists in Tuscany. Different things had attracted her to the area including Spanish horses. She worked with dressage expert and incredibly talented Cavaliere and Horse Trainer Silver Massarenti in Osaia near Cortona for a summer and then afterward at the Pony Club at The Arezzo Equestrian Center. In all honesty, it was a mix of horses and art that attracted Danielle to Arezzo. She would like to share a little about it in this introduction because she is often asked, why Arezzo? Her first answer was, "It's a GORGEOUS city." Then, if you are a fresco lover, it is the home to the frescoes of Piero della Francesca, The Legend of the True Cross. The school where Danielle learned fresco did one of the restorations of these frescoes, the famous artist and restorer Leonetto Tintori, and Danielle is very fond of The Tarlati polyptych, painted by the Italian artist Pietro Lorenzetti located at the church of Santa Maria della Pieve in the historical center of Arezzo, as well as the fabulous food and delightful people, absolutely gorgeous jewelry and above all because it was the birth city of Giorgio Vasari, it was the Province where Michelangelo was born, so she felt that she had found an artist's Paradise to call home.
Soon after Danielle obtained her diploma in painting with the highest honors, 110 e lode, in 2006 from the Accademia di Belle Arti Roma (Academy of Fine Arts in Rome), completing her studies with a thesis on sgraffito fresco painting. She began teaching drawing, oil and acrylic painting, and buon fresco painting workshops at
Villa Margherita in the same year. She also taught the English language (ESL) privately and did Italian to English translations, which she did for the following ten years as a side hustle and a way to become a part of the community, share, and give back. She enjoyed giving her best to inspire her English students to soar and shoot for the stars. Danielle is very proud of every one of them.
Exhibitions & Events at VILLICANA D'ANNIBALE, INC. & International Nonprofit PARADISE FOR ARTISTS
In 2010, collaborating with her husband light designer Maurizio D’Annibale, Danielle opened a contemporary art gallery, the Villicana D'Annibale Galleria D'Arte, in the historical center of Arezzo, Tuscany, immediately becoming a favored meeting place for Italian and foreign artists. In 2013 they closed the gallery and opened another project also dedicated to contemporary art and artists, named Via Cavour 85.
In 2015 Danielle was awarded a "Premio Toscana Cultura" by Florentine journalist Fabrizio Borghini for her excellence in the promotion of contemporary art.
Villicana D'Annibale, Inc. and ARTwalk + tour gastronomico Italy
Expanding internationally, in 2016 Danielle founded Villicana D'Annibale, Inc., an international contemporary art gallery and artists agency headquartered in Pasadena, California with unità locale in Arezzo, Italy. In 2016 she also launched her project ARTwalk + tour gastronomico ITALY.
In 2021, she opened another new space in the historical center of Arezzo, called Via Cavour 113. This space is her studio and she loves to share it with artists.
Visiting international guest artists may hold workshops or create work while visiting Arezzo and Tuscany.
Since 1994 Danielle has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Italy and the United States. Her works may be found in private and public collections in the US and Italy.
Art Dealers Maurizio D'Annibale & Danielle Villicana and Journalist Fabrizio Borghini
Photo © 2021 Lorenzo Prodezza & Villicana D'Annibale, Inc.
International Nonprofit Paradise for Artists
In the same year, Danielle co-founded a Nonprofit organization with her husband
Maurizio D'Annibale. PARADISE FOR ARTISTS was created on May 12, 2021, in honor of architect, artist, and biographer Giorgio Vasari and contemporary artists. This organization is headquartered in Pasadena, California. In December of the same year, Danielle, Maurizio, and Italian artist Daniele Alfani founded a chapter of the American organization in Arezzo, Tuscany in Italy, in Giorgio Vasari's hometown, called the Associazione Culturale PARADISE FOR ARTISTS, making it the first International Nonprofit in honor of Giorgio Vasari, also known as "Giorgino d'Arezzo." Giorgio Vasari is known as "The Father of Art History" and "The First Art Historian" all over the world.
We invite you to please join and get involved with our International Nonprofit dedicated to Giorgio Vasari and contemporary artists. If you'd like to take part in our Nonprofit PARADISE FOR ARTISTS, please contact us. We would love to have you as a member or sponsor!
If you love Giorgio Vasari, and contemporary artists, definitely contact Danielle and be a part of our dream to make an Equestrian Monument in his honor and become a member of PARADISE FOR ARTISTS today!!!
Los Angeles and Tuscany
Danielle currently divides her time between her studios in Florence (Firenze), Tuscany and Arezzo, Tuscany in Italy, and Los Angeles, California. She creates art, both figurative and abstract. She is a classically trained portraitist and does paintings and murals in all mediums including oil, acrylic, fresco, and mixed media. She also dabbles in ceramics and sculpture. Her main activity since 2010 has been that of an art dealer, a curator of exhibitions, a creator of catalogs and publications, and an organizer of events for contemporary artists. She and her husband have organized approximately one hundred twenty exhibitions and published over fifty catalogs, having close to 100 television appearances, and have been written about in the press in numerous articles both printed and online. Danielle is available for collaborations or as a speaker for events.
Artwork, ARTwalk, and Buon Fresco Workshops
Information about Danielle's artwork and the artists she represents may be found on our gallery website: VillicanaDAnnibale.com. If you'd like to purchase or commission work or exhibit in Arezzo at Via Cavour 85
Danielle's absolute greatest passion is fresco painting. If you'd like to learn the art of buon fresco painting, Danielle offers "Treat Yourself to Paradise - 7 and 14-day Buon Fresco Painting Workshops," upon request, in spring, summer, and fall at her home and studio Villa Margherita a Paradise for Artists in Tuscany. See a video here of one of Danielle's murals in sgraffito (Renaissance Sgrafitto Mural). Feel free to contact Danielle for information and to schedule a workshop.
Artist & Art Dealer Danielle Villicana - Photo © 2012 Francesco Maria Rossi
DANIELLE VILLICANA Curriculum Vitae
Join my Mailing List
Make sure to sign up for Danielle's mailing list and contact her with any questions via the forms below. You may click on the logos at the top of the page and they will lead you to her various projects. A couple of the projects are in the making, so check back or call for info, the websites will be launching soon.
Journalist Fabrizio Borghini & Artist & Art Dealer Danielle Villicana
Al Vernissage di ARTwalk + tour gastronomico ITALY, "Fiori dal Mal", 24 giugno 2021 - Artwork © Andrea Facchini
Photo © 2021 Lorenzo Prodezza & Villicana D'Annibale, Inc.