‘The Capones’ Reality Show. Interview with Michael Bell. By Isabel del Rio

‘The Capones’ Reality Show. Interview with Michael Bell. By Isabel del Rio

‘The Capones’ Reality Show: about Al Capone progeny and Chicago Mobsters. Today, in the weekly section of artist Michael Bell in Yareah. MBELLART

I.R.- Hi Michael. How is life? Today, I’d like to speak about “The Capones” Reality Show. Then, about your career as an actor too. How did you get to be involved in this project? And how about the experience?

M.B .- Hi Isabel. Life is…”interesting.” That would also sum up my experience working on set of “The Capones.” An interesting, wild ride filled with colorful, warm-hearted, hot-tempered, dark, dangerous, passionately loyal people who I am happy to call “family.”

from left: Director Russ Heldt, Staci Richter, Carmine Perrelli, Dominic Capone III, Michael Bell, Bartolomeo Tumbarello, Jeff Vercillo

from left: Director Russ Heldt, Staci Richter, Carmine Perrelli, Dominic Capone III, Michael Bell, Bartolomeo Tumbarello, Jeff Vercillo

M.B.- As for how I got involved, Dominic Capone III is the star the show and Domo and I go way back. We first met at the world’s first “Golden Age of Gangsters” Convention in Chicago back in 2004. I was contacted to be a part of the Convention to exhibit some of my famous Mob Art, and they flew me out, along with a couple of my “Sopranos” clientele pals, ex-mob wife painting client Georgia Durante and we made a weekend out of it. Domo was also invited to take part in the convention as one of the main attractors, due to his infamous blood line, being Al Capone’s Great Nephew. We met, hung out, and instantly became friends. More like brothers. When I got a radio show gig the next year with John Fiore, who played Gigi on “The Sopranos” I also invited Domo to come on the air as a weekly guest star. It was a great way to expand the show’s market from New York to Chicago. Eventually in 2007 I returned to Chicago as the featured artist in the World’s second annual “For the Love of Chocolate” show, where my first “Cioccolato” series painting was auctioned for $12,000.00 to benefit students studying culinary at the French Pastry Institute.  

Michael Bell with Jessie Smith-Larson at 2007 Chicago Auction

Michael Bell with Jessie Smith-Larson at 2007 Chicago Auction

Dominic Capone III and Michael Bell out and about on the streets of Chicago (2007)

Dominic Capone III and Michael Bell out and about on the streets of Chicago (2007)

M.B.- And on and on it goes…Dominic, Staci and my family vacation together, Domo and I hit clubs together, crack heads together when necessary…Domo’s family. That’s the best way I can put it. So, when he called me to tell me he was getting his own tv show I was as happy as DeNiro’s character “Jimmy Burke” in Goodfella’s when he got word “Tommy DeSimone” (Joe Pesci) was getting made!

M.B.- As far as my career as an actor goes, I’ve done some small cameos here and there in NetFlix “House of Cards”, and on CBS’s “The Amazing Race”. I got a taste of that life hanging out with my “Sopranos” pals at first back in ’01 and found it’s a similar life to an artist’s life. I’ll never abandon my career as an artist for it, but approach the big screen just like I approach my canvases, with passion and honesty to bring out what I need to “emotionally” through the work. And when Dominic’s show was greenlit I didn’t expect him to have me in the show. I was just simply the happiest guy in the world for him, knowing how long and hard he and I both have worked to “make it” out there. But when he called me a few months into filming and told me he wanted me to make a cameo and commission a very special painting for him I was happy to be a part of it all and do what I do best. I mean, how often does an opportunity like that come around for anyone, especially for an artist to have his work seen by millions of viewers and potential high-end collectors outside the gallery circuit. The experience and the television exposure for my work is priceless. I couldn’t thank him enough for including me.



I.R.- In 30’s and 40’s, Chicago was associated with mobsters. The Capones Reality Show is set in Chicago. What has the city inherited of those times? Of course, they were tragic times but in your opinion, were they artistic too? In the end, lots of movies, books and artwork are based on this subject.

M.B.- I figured I’d get this answer straight from the horse’s mouth as they say…so I called Dominic last night to see what he thought about this question, being he’s “living it” and grew up in the heart of Cicero. Here’s what he said:

Corruption back then and now…the City is even more corrupt…Cook County is now Crook County..the City that nickels and dimes their residents to the poor house…” – Dominic Capone III


M.B.- In the end Isabel, you are right, lots of movies, books and artwork are based on the subject. Much of my art and the often dangerous narratives found within some of my large paintings, like my “Carnevale Italiano” series and “Gangster Art” are based on the subject. People love Gangster films because it’s a world Hollywood has glamorized. And the people still love a good gangster film because some of it portrays Robinhood-like stuff they probably deep down wish they could have the balls to do (without the consequences or repercussions, of course).
I.R.- You are a friend of Dominic Capone III and you have portrayed him, the same as John Gotti. How do you imagine the first Al Capone? Are you going to portray him some day?

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M.B.- One day I’m going to portray the two of them together. I have an idea in mind. To split both their faces down the middle and merge one into the next separated by one long drip of blood down the center of the canvas. Old time Chicago on one side behind his legendary great Uncle Al Capone, and the new world he’s the center of in Present Day Chicago behind his side of the canvas. That’ll happen one day, and it will be incredible Isabel. Mark my words…Until then, watch for my cameo apperance in this Season of “The Capones” airing Tuesday, January 28 on the REELZ Channel. Everyone should contact their local cable television provider to make sure they get the channel to see the show! It’s as easy as 1-2-3 – LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!


The Capones | Movie Trailer | Review

I.R.- Nice week, Michael

View Comments (2)
  • Donna Hayes

    Great article on Michael Bell. He’s obviously a gifted artist. What makes his special is his Stallone real guy quality . Part of his genius is
    His ability to float between the elitist art world and The Guys, the old neighborhood ., and somehow bring them together in a new art form. A true artist lives artfully and this guy is high art and I think loving every minute of it. Truly inspiring. !

  • Pingback: Inspirational quotes by Al Capone. The Capones TV show is trend - Yareah Magazine()


is renowned American painter and muralist, famous for his larger-than-life sized narrative series paintings and for his infamous portrait clientele, which includes the late Mob Boss John Gotti, best friend Dominic Capone III (Al Capone’s great nephew) and numerous actors from The Sopranos, Goodfellas, A Bronx Tale and more. Yes, his works are the mirror of a tragic world, but they deepen our human psychology with strong brush strokes and vivid colors, from personal memories and silent echoes, with courage and creativity. Bell was naturally gifted in art and won 1st Place in his first juried art exhibition at age 5. As an emerging artist he spent a lot of his time in and around New York City, studying art with his maternal grandmother, Violet Vallery, a self-taught artist from Lyndhurst, New Jersey. Then, after the still-born death of his sister Amanda and the sudden passing of his Grandfather, a former professional boxer, Bell began to explore life's personal and psychological issues through his paintings. In addition, Bell has written his first screenplay based on the real-life events surrounding his famous "TICKET TO RIDE™" painting series and has won three national awards in 2013. Bell exhibits his large, narrative series paintings in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

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