Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1952, Meziat first came to the United States in the 1970s to study music at the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston. On the transformation from musician to painter, Meziat says, “By that time my father used to paint on the weekends and I tried to do something with his colors. It was just for fun but the first paintings came out so well that I kept going.” It soon became clear as he experimented with his father’s materials that Meziat had not only a natural aptitude for painting but a love for it as well. Soon, he had switched his focus from music to painting.
Essentially a self-taught painter, Meziat’s technical proficiency is all the more impressive for being the result of years of trial and error and intense observation. Training his eye, Meziat began to look at the work of other painters, gravitating early on to the new Latin-American Realism that developed in the 1970s, represented by the Chilean Claudio Bravo, the Cuban-American Julio Larraz and others. Through these contemporary artists Meziat found contact with the great Realist line of Spanish art reaching back to Velasquez and the Bodegòn (still life) painters.
Meziat has in the past worked in a variety of genres, specializing at times in portraits and cityscapes as well as still lifes, but it the latter for which he has been most recognized. Two distinct bodies of work within this group have developed: in one, the paintings are distinguished by the elegant simplicity of the settings and coolly illuminated light backgrounds, in the other, objects are set in classical arrangements against pure deep monochromatic backgrounds. In all of his still life paintings, Meziat sees and allows us to see with a transforming luminous clarity. Renato Meziat’s paintings reveal an immense technical ability allied to a penetrating pictorial intelligence. For all their evident precision and skill, the painter is not interested in viewers appreciating that aspect for its own sake. He wants his work to affect people the way his first artistic love, music, does. He says, “I don’t want to make people think. I want to make paintings so beautiful that when people see them they just can’t think of anything else.”