Jean Monti

Jean Monti is an accomplished artist and a respected leader in the field of portraiture. She travels across the nation to capture reference images through photography, which she later utilizes as inspiration for her paintings. Her style, shaped during her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Rhode Island School of Design, reflects her studies in illustration, painting, and photography, particularly evident in her exquisite use of light.

After graduating from Rhode Island School of Design, Jean embarked on a successful freelance career, illustrating over 70 book covers. She collaborated with major publishers, as well as advertising agencies, modeling agencies, and photography studios in New York City. Her ability to capture the likeness of her subjects and her commitment to maintaining a high standard of art have resulted in numerous commissions throughout the United States. Jean takes pride in being a member of The Portrait Society of America and is represented for her portrait paintings by Portraits Inc. and New South Portraits.

The Early Beginnings Of Jean Monti’s Passion for Art

I am often asked about my beginnings in the incredible world of art and , why and how I live and breathe in the beauty of it and come by my inspiration. I could say it all begin when I studied drawing, painting, and photography at Rhode Island School of Design where I received a BFA in Illustration in 1987, but that was not truly the beginning; it all started for me many years ago as a child.

I was born in North Providence, Rhode Island, number 5 in a large, closely knit Italian family of 6. I grew up with 2 sisters and 3 brothers. My mother Jean is extremely talented and my father Edmund is an intelligent, driven entrepreneur who created a construction business in spite of a lack of formal education. My parents’ optimism, dedication, work ethics and values drove me to exceed all expectations and become something more. But it was my older brother Johnny who touched my heart in ways I can never fully describe.

Jean Monti Family
Jean Monti is the second child from the left, in a family portrait with her 5 siblings, Mom, and Dad. Her brother Johnny is 2nd from the right.

Johnny suffered from muscular dystrophy. He was unable to walk, so most of his activities were spent on arts and crafts. Since I was the younger sibling, my mother always included me in his daily creative ventures in order to keep me busy. Of all the children in our family, Johnny and I inherited a talent and deep passion for the arts. As we grew and John weakened, I gained a remarkable insight, learning to appreciate and respect my own capabilities.

Everyday I watched my brother struggle. He wanted so badly to be able to physically achieve all that he mentally envisioned. As he grew weaker I grew stronger, and it was very hard not to feel guilty and sad.

I remember pushing Johnny in his wheelchair to the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary church. There, we took painting classes taught by nuns. I still have a painting of Johnny’s; that painting, along with my memories of working alongside him, is a treasured gift.

Jean Monti at age 14 standing behind her brother Johnny with their sister Susan standing to the right of them.
Painting by John Restivo, Jean Monti’s older brother.

My brother passed away at the age of 18 when I was just 14 years old. Johnny – along with my parents – is the very spark and foundation of what inspires me. Our whole family was so blessed to have him in our lives; Johnny brought us closer, teaching us to love one another even more.

 Through Johnny, I learned gratitude and motivation, becoming devoted to capturing the love and connection between loved ones. It is very important to me to convey what I feel inside about family. I want to share this with others, and hope that I can portray through my paintings what it means to love and be loved.

What energizes me most is family and the dynamic connection between loved ones. I love children and I was blessed to have nieces and nephews before my own children were born. They in fact were the inspiration behind my senior portfolio at Rhode Island School of Design.

Jean Monti painted this portrait of her nephew in her Senior year at Rhode Island School of Design.

I hope you will continue to join me as I explore my own inner vision and offer guidance for aspiring artists,   I am Jean Monti, artist, photographer, wife and devoted mother. Welcome to my world.