This Tarrytown Artist Creates Beautifully Realistic Art

Self-taught photo-realist Cathi Locati uses her skill not just to bring new beauty into the world but also to restore that which may have been lost to it.

The casual observer might not guess that local artist Cathi Locati looks to Michelangelo for inspiration. While her vivid, photo-realist renderings of pop-culture icons and other modern figures do not immediately suggest the great master, her accuracy in detailing the human form does. Citing his “anatomical sketches” as a prime influence, Locati employs the contrast of shadow and light to create naturalistic images of muscle, bone structure, and skin.

 Locati’s Destination Known.

Humbly describing this technique as “Basic Art 101,” Locati never attended art school. Born in Washington State and raised in Montana (which she represented in the 1981 Miss USA pageant), Locati developed her “innate talents” while working in business. Deciding to focus solely on her art 10 years ago, she moved east, settling in Tarrytown, where she painted portraits on commission, ran a gallery and created original art showcased in Manhattan and Europe. Working from photos, she creates unexpected compositions before committing them to canvas. “I put stuff together, but each image must be accurate. As a photo-realist, you can’t guess,” Locati explains. This method is on display in her huge oil-on-canvas mural depicting the Tappan Zee Bridge, titled Working Water, which currently hangs in the Hudson Harbor Development’s Stone House.

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Arguably, Locati’s greatest artistic achievement is how she is employing her talents for realism now. To supplement her artistic career, she pursued training in medical pigmentation and is currently using her skills as a fine artist — along with a tattoo machine — to recreate extremely realistic-looking areolae and nipples on women who have undergone mastectomies. “Women often come in feeling somewhat defeated but dance out of here laughing, happy, and alive,” Locati says. “They can’t believe what they see in the mirror.” Dividing her time between Westchester and Seattle, Locati sees clients from all over the world (  

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