Len Tantillo was born and raised in upstate New York and attended Rhode Island School of Design. From 1969 to 1976 he worked as an architectural designer and acquired a working knowledge of building design and construction. During his apprenticeship the focus of his work shifted to visual presentation and in 1976 he began working as a free-lance architectural illustrator. In 1980, Tantillo was commissioned to depict a series of 19th century structures from archeological artifacts and historic documents. Similar projects followed, many of which were located along the banks of the Hudson River near Albany, New York. In 1984 Tantillo left commercial art and began the full-time pursuit of fine art. He has spent the last 22 years creating numerous historical and marine paintings, which have continued to draw a wide audience. Tantillo’s studio is located in southern Rensselaer County in upstate New York.
Len Tantillo is a fellow of the American Society of Marine Artists. Tantillo’s work has appeared in national exhibitions, books, periodicals, and television documentaries in the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and New Zealand.
In November of 2000, Tantillo was awarded the prestigious Rudolph J. Schaefer Award at the 21st Annual Mystic International Exhibition at Mystic Seaport.
In May of 2002, Russell Sage College awarded Tantillo an honorary doctorate for contributions made by his artwork to public awareness of the maritime history of the Hudson River.
In March of 2004, Tantillo's artwork was the subject of a documentary produced for Public Television entitled, “Hudson River Journeys.” The program was a collaboration between Tantillo and Pete Seeger, and has aired nationally on over 200 stations.
In the summer of 2005, Tantillo was commissioned to create a painting for the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This work is part of a permanent presentation of Dutch Architecture in colonial America.
In September of 2009, his work was featured in the exhibition, “Hollanders and the Hudson” at the Westfries Museum in Hoorn, The Netherlands, and was attended by over 10,000 visitors from both the United States and Europe.