Artist Concetta Antico sees the world in 100 million colors.

Concetta Antico sits down for lunch at a local cafe, after settling on smoked salmon and a strawberry salad. Before eating, she takes a moment to acknowledge the array of color in front of her: the blue-violet of the salmon, the thousands of reds bouncing around the strawberry and the light turquoise surrounding the seeds. “I promise you, I am not high!” she says, “I just truly see what I am looking at.”  

Super Vision Mutation  12 X 16

Persephones Peacock in the Garden of Paradise   8 X 36

Better known as “The Color Queen,” Antico sees pinks, blues and violets in the green grass, an array of colors glistening off the white snow, and hundreds upon hundreds of colors within a rainbow. And they’re not just a figment of her imagination: her rare, genetic gift of heightened sight allows her to see almost 100 million more colors than what meets the average human eye.  

In addition to being an artist, teacher, and color consultant, Antico is what scientists call a “tetrachromat,” meaning Antico’s eyes contain a rare genotype that provides a fourth receptor as opposed to the usual three, more common in women than men. With this, Antico’s tetrachromatic potential reaches up to 100 million colors, 10 times more than the average 1 million.

For now, Antico is the only authenticated tetrachromat artist on Earth, with 1,000 internationally acclaimed pieces of art and features in Reader’s Digest, Vogue, New York Magazine, and more.

Antico is originally from Australia, and was drawn toward art and color at a very young age. At age 8, her mother recognized her potential to become a famous artist, constantly showing support for Antico’s art. At age 16, she left home to cope with her mother’s passing, winding up in Los Angeles.

“I am a bit of an adventurer,” she says, “Sydney got too small for me. I was heading to work in Canada, I stopped in L.A., and it entranced me.”

Despite her hardships, she always kept her deep passion for art at the forefront of her life and career. Antico knew she was meant to paint professionally, and so she began teaching in San Diego, ultimately instructing 25,000 budding artists in oil painting.

Artist Concetta Antico works on a piece named Iridescent Eyes… Charlie The Peacock   18 X 36

“Oil painting makes you healthier, and if we surround ourselves with beauty and happy spirits, we will be in a constant state of color euphoria.”

While teaching, Antico would point out the colors she sees in everyday objects and receive mixed reactions from her students. She says, “My students would tell me, ‘We don’t see that color that you see!’ I’d be confused, but then I educated my students to see a little more color.”

It wasn’t until a buyer of Antico’s, who happened to be a scientist, realized Antico could be a tetrachromat. Then, she began to understand her ability to see millions of colors. “I always thought I was different and unique,” says Antico. “The way I do things, what compels me, the way I painted … I didn’t realize that I could see and create colors like a computer.”

In late 2012, Antico was evaluated both genetically and behaviorally by Jay Neitz, Ph.D., a world-renowned leader in color vision. She soon discovered she was in fact a tetrachromat, and possessed an incredible genetic gift that affects only 2 to 3 percent of the world’s population.

Who’s Your Genie   10 X 14

“It was just another part of the uniqueness of Concetta,” she says. “The gift is made up of my mother, her vision for me, how she put red and blue lights in the swimming pool to make lilac light, my high school that was big on art, my genetics, my brain, and my own passion, ambition and drive.”

Today, Antico wants to use her gift to make the world a better place, truly treasuring the world around her. In an interview with Stanford University, Antico said that, “enhanced color created enhanced joy.” She is constantly happy and joyful, happy to wake up and see trees and sun.

Reflecting Pool of Narcissistic Love-Vaucluse House-Sydney   30 X 36

“Oil painting makes you healthier, and if we surround ourselves with beauty and happy spirits, we will be in a constant state of color euphoria,” she says. “My gift makes me so excited to paint, look, share. Color has made me joyful, and has only enhanced my life. There are no disadvantages to beauty and color.”

Antico has a wide range of muses, as she aims to paint whatever captivates and moves her. Her paintings are divided into two categories: “earthly delights,” which encompasses everything on earth that she paints, and “otherworldly wonders,” which includes galaxies, magic and more. She often leans toward the ethereal subjects such as mystic skies and otherworldly galaxies. “Not people, though. We’re just not that attractive,” she jokes.

For those with normal sight, a place like a grocery store or a highway are simply as they seem. But for Antico, she is able to see past the veil and see further into the typical. “I’m captivated with the sky and trees beyond the freeway. I’m hyper-focused on beauty around me.” Sunsets, for example, are a religious experience for Antico, with the amount of splendor and color that they produce. “I am very blessed. I wake up every day and am so elated to see what I see and do what I do,” she says.

One of Antico’s main beliefs is that everyone has gifts, not just her, and that they should all be used to better our world. “Media can be dark, and we need light,” she says. “I want to use my platform for that. I have a place as ‘The Color Queen,’ and I feel that I can make people see their worlds differently.”

Conjuring Crystal Ball Colors    18 X 24