Artprize 2010 and 2011 consecutive 2nd and 1st Place Winner, Mia Tavonatti, and her foundation "Svelata" are recreating creativity by reinventing how artists work, and by revealing the true nature of creativity and the transformative power of beauty!

Svelata "Recreating Creativity!" from Mia Tavonatti on Vimeo.


Mia earned her BFA and MFA from California State University Long Beach, where she majored in Illustration. She has studied in Paris at the Sorbonne, Parsons School of Design, in the studio of renowned French impressionist Monsieur Relange', and in Italy and Greece numerous with such renowned international painters as Dominick Cretara, Johnny Cariachi, and Demitri Mitsanas.

Mia has been creating art professionally for over twenty years, and her work can be found in numerous public, private, institutional and corporate collections including those of Marriott Resorts and Harrah's Casinos. She has earned much recognition and exhibited extensively in the US, Italy, France and Greece. Mia has also had work chosen for exhibition at the American Museum of Illustration in New York and by the Los Angeles Society of Illustrators. In 1999, her book Cramped Quarters was nominated for the Golden Kite Award by the Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Society, while her numerous art instructional books have been published in over 20 countries.

In 2007, Mia moved to Italy to unveil her humanitarian project Svelata, a monumental series of oil paintings on canvas at the ancient Museo Arsenale in Amalfi. Thousands of people from thirty countries witnessed her European solo debut with an overwhelmingly positive reception. In 2008 Mia was one of twenty artists chosen worldwide for an exhibition in Acquasparta, Italy, where she was awarded "Best of Show". Mia has since returned to California and has formed the Svelata Foundation and is currently producing the Power of Words Project, a national humanitarian mural campaign.

In 2006 Mia was invited to join the Air Force Arts Program in Washington, where her first mission was to document the training missions of the 550th Search and Rescue Special Ops teams at Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mia's most recent mission was to document the 50th anniversary of the T38 jet trainer at Randolph AFB in Texas. In exchange for each mission, Mia creates a painting that becomes part of the US Air Force permanent collection, for inclusion in rotating exhibitions between various Air Force institutions including the Pentagon, Smithsonian and National Airspace Museum.

As an Illustrator, Mia has created the art for over twenty books, eight of which she has also authored, and the covers for sixty plus young adult, children's and art instructional books for publishers such as Walter Foster, Harcourt Brace, Simon Shuster and Troll Associates. Mia has also worked on various editorial illustrations for trade and mass-market magazines, and projects for corporations including Lysol, Marriot, Toyota, Tomy Toys, Seagram's, Martha Stewart and Bravo/NBC.

Mia has also been known to paint with glass…Her intricate stained glass mosaics weave her experience as a painter with her love of high renaissance glass mosaics. She has created numerous mosaics for churches, restaurants, residences, corporations and public works projects throughout the US over the last fifteen years.

Mia has taught painting at Laguna College of Art + Design in Laguna Beach, California for nineteen years, where she and her students have been responsible for the creation of eight public murals.

Mia currently resides in Santa Ana, California.