About the Artist
John Rivoli presenting ROCKY art to Sylvester Stallone, March 2012
John Rivoli is one of Hollywood’s longest kept secrets; for the past 20 years at his New York design agency, Rivoli Design Group, John has remained behind the scenes, creating art for the entertainment industry’s biggest blockbusters. John’s massive body of work spans from films, TV, and animated series, including Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, Batman, Spongebob and Scooby Doo, to name a few. While his name is not publicly well known, John’s art can be seen on merchandise sold all over the world.
MGM Studios has been one of John’s clients since 2009. “For years, I made sure to let the execs at MGM know that I was an expert on ROCKY — that if they ever do an art program for it, they’ve gotta let me do it.”
In 2012, John received that call. MGM was releasing an art program for the 35th Anniversary of ROCKY and offered him the project.
As part of the art approval process, John was prepared to do what he would always do — get on a flight to LA and present the art to the studio execs in person. But this time, someone new would be joining in: Sylvester Stallone.
“I will never forget the vibration of Sylvester Stallone’s inimitable voice as he walked towards the room,” John recalls. Sylvester, being an accomplished fine artist himself, was intrigued by John’s painting techniques. The two immediately bonded on an art level. The 35th Anniversary program was such a success, that MGM offered John the ROCKY 40th Anniversary project as well.
Sylvester Stallone and John Rivoli kept their conversations going, exchanging abstract ideas about how art plays a purposeful role in continuing the ROCKY narrative.
The growing art relationship between them lead to the genesis of Icons in Art — The first ever online ROCKY Art Shop.
In 2018, John Rivoli became the first official ROCKY art licensee of MGM Studios and Icons in Art was born.
John continues to discuss painting concepts with Sylvester Stallone and develop reimagined, reinterpretations of iconic ROCKY scenes, unseen angles and symbolic imagery.
John Rivoli at age 11 collaborating with ROCKY in his imagination