In 1947, when Antonio Masi was seven years old, he emigrated with his parents and siblings from Italy to New York City. Fifty years earlier, Masi’s grandfather, Francesco, had hauled steel as a part of the workforce that built the Queensboro Bridge. Francesco’s bridge-building tales were retold in the Masi family, and Antonio, who always loved to draw, was intrigued.
Upon his arrival in New York, Masi was deeply drawn by the beauty of the city’s iconic bridges, but most especially the Queensboro. And it wasn’t long before he knew that one day he would be an artist who would paint bridges.
His family settled on New York’s Upper East Side. Masi attended the High School of Industrial Art, majored in illustration, and was graduated in 1958. Antonio then received a full art scholarship to the School of Visual Arts and was graduated with honors in 1961.
Masi began his professional career as a commercial artist for numerous city publications and art agencies. In 1962, he married artist Elizabeth Jorg and soon began a family.
In 1966, Antonio returned to his high school alma mater to teach art. In 1973, he was named Art Chairperson. (SIA has since been renamed the High School of Art and Design.) He also enrolled in CUNY and received a BA in the History of Art in 1975.