Tony Viramontes was born in 1956 in Los Angeles, USA, of Spanish and Mexican parents. He traveled extensively as a child. He studied fine art and photography in New York at FIT and Parsons, before switching to fashion and beauty illustration.
When Viramontes made his debut in the late 1970's, his hard and direct style was a marked contrast to the prevailing soft pastel school of fashion illustration. He scored an immediate success, rapidly acquiring the kind of prestigious editorial commissions too often allocated to photographers, from Lei ,Per Lui in Italy, Vogue in the USA, the Face in Britain, as well as Jill Magazine , Marie Claire Le Monde and City Magazine in France.
Viramontes also worked with some of the most renowned names in fashion including Yves St. Laurent, Valentino, Versace, Chanel, Perry Ellis, Claude Montana and Rochas cosmetics. As well as creating portraits of Paloma Picasso and Diana Ross. The album covers he conceived for seminal artists of the period-Duran Duran, Donna Summer and Janet Jackson- caught the glitzrieg mood of the 1980s
His striking images are of strong, dominant, aggressive yet feminine women, sensuous men, smoldering and smokey-eyed, who vibrate with New Wave energy. He did not like to be labeled an illustrator, and considered himself to be an artistic creator, a creator of ideas in images. Goldy - the latest Italian version of Fiorucci - and Hanae Mori, the Japanese couturiere, asked him to take on the artistic direction of their companies, from the decoration of their boutiques to the design of their collections.
Tony Viramontes had great artistic potential, but he died in 1988 at the age of only 33. Two decades after his death, his work still shimmers with sensuality and a power that remains undimmed.