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Dario Ballantini was born in Livorno in 1964. He had his first meetings with paintings and theater, within the walls of his own house. With his father who was a painter in the neo realist style, his uncle a post Macchiaioli artist, his grandfather an actor of an amateur dramatic company, and his uncle a unsuccessful tenor.
And he was struck by the reproductions of Guttuso, and Picasso seen in the volumes of reunited publishers that were distributed by his father. He became very passionate about comic strips (Jacovitti, and Marvel authors), and began trying to realize some of his own. As a teen, he discovered the songs of Luigi Tenco, whose figure became the subject of many portraits, and opened the door to the musical passion of Italian singers/song writers. Among of which that stood out, Guccini and Dalla, who were painted many times in portraits.
After taking a course in hatching, held by professor Giulio Guiggi (1912-1994) He enrolled himself in an experimental secondary school specializing in Art. Where he was a student of Giancarlo Cocchia (1924-1987).
He graduated 1984.
In the mean time, his passion for being on stage, and for the figures of Totò, Petrolini and Alighiero Noschese grew after he watched their live performance in Pisa.
At the age of 16, he visited Paris, and the large art exhibition of Amedeo Modigliani (The Museum of Modern Art). These works partly influenced his training. The subjects that he was practicing on, during this period, was the irregular face of Totò, which reminded him of the "Cubist" deconstruction, and the portraits and caricatures of companions, and high school teachers, which he filled his scholastic notebooks with.
It all began in 1983, with his classmate Stefano Ceselli, in the cabaret forming the duet "Le Cornacchie" that, after a radio broadcast in a local radio station (Radio Flash) and a victory at the Festival Nazionale del Cabaret, it surprisingly lands a TV program "Ciao gente" conducted by Corrado Mantoni on Canale5 (Guarda il video!), which proposed young talents. Among others, Dario imitated Enzo Bearzot and Falcao.
In the meantime, he acted in theaters interpreting one of the four "Maschere of Livorno" in a dialect company that brought to the stage scenes from the works of Beppe Orlandi.
The comical duet appeared on "Pronto Raffaella" Rai 1 (Guarda il video!), "Tandem" Rai 2 and some episodes of "Incrocia la fortuna" on Antenna 3, then falls apart. The two 19 year olds did not have a manager, and Stefano decides to quit.
After finishing High School, Dario meets and socializes with the painter Maurilio Colombini, and the art dealer Cesare Rotini (1945-2008). He was exposed to the Livorno lifestyle, at first with the portraits of Pierpaolo Pasolini neorealist, and subsequently with the expressionist works in collection and personal.
Many of his small format works were purchased by the organizer of some poetry prizes, Giovanni Merlo, with of which winners are rewarded. Which is how Ballantini was inserted, in contrast of the paintings post- Macchiaioli which ruled the market of livornesi painters. Meanwhile, the cabaret shows were being improved, with strong changes to hand-crafted quick changing. Which became his primary job. Dario performed at town festivals, parties, fairs, night clubs opening a small market.
However, painting remains an open door, and the participation of the collective "Rotonda Expo" gave him the possibility to meet the president of the Senate at the time Giovanni Spadolini (1925-1994) historically refined, that received a gift of artwork for his private collection.
In 1989, he took an advertisement graphic course held by the professor Leonardo Baglioni. In the same year he exhibited in Florence in the "Teorema" gallery, but his expressive language was not appreciated. Due to this failure he went through a crisis, and took a reflective pause, which proved to be a productive break.
In fact Dario, worked even harder on the formation of the cabaret, and toured all of Italy, finally arriving in Milan, at the "Derbino cabaret".
He was selected from the Tuscan talents for the TV program "Gran premio" by Pippo Baudo but did not participate, and presented at the audition for the talent show "Star 90" on Rete 4 who among the jury was Antonio Ricci.
Dario won the competition conducted by Alessandro Cecchi Paone, and then made some appearances on the network Fininvest like "Oggi Sposi" (Guarda il video!), "Radio Carolina", "Cara Tv" (Guarda il video!), and "Giù la maschera".
In 1993, he married Cristina Cennini with whom he had two children Ilaria e Nedo.
His unexpressed gestural painting was transported into the preparatory studies of special and experimental effects, and in the realizations of stenography, and hand made screens for theater shows, among others pièce "Petrolini Petrolini" (Guarda il video!) of which was the author and interpreter. Subsequently landing at the "Asti Teatro" which was directly reviewed by Vittorio Sgarbi receiving the consent of the last living futurist painter Osvaldo Peruzzi (1907-2004).
The director Alessandro Benvenuti inserted him in a scene of his film "Zitti e Mosca", his role was himself, playing a transformist interpreting and imitating Ray Charles and Lucio Dalla, then Antonio and Pupi Avati, thanks to the recommendation of Emanuele Milano, they do take part of some episodes of the program of Telemontecarlo "T'amo tv" conducted by Fabio Fazio, in which Dario interpreted Dario Fo and Enzo Jannacci.
In 1993 he participated in an episode of "Domenica In" on Rai 1 (Guarda il video!), selected by Ugo Gregoretti that presented him as an interview, and a debate with Antonio Rezza.
In 1994, with a new contact, Antonio Ricci through David Lubrano (one of his authors, that at the time collaborated with Dario) who consented him to land "Striscia la notizia". Starting out with the imitation of Dario Fo and then the following with Paola Borboni, Ignazio La Russa and Vittorio Cecchi Gori.
Ballantini also realized a short film called "La chiave per il mare" (Guarda il video!) which participated at the "Bellaria Film Festival" written with Fabrizio Torri obtained a small role in a film by Silvano Agosti "L'Uomo proiettile" which was presented at the Mostra del Cinema di Venezia.
In the meantime, he continued to perform his cabaret arriving at "Zelig" (Guarda il video!) in Milano with the show "Zapping Mutazioni Telegenetiche" written with Lubrano.
A few years later, in 1998, the imitation of the stylist Valentino with the innovative idea to use this character for "on the road" reports, with the director Luca Silvestri camera crew. This new style for "Striscia", which allowed him to take advantage of the make-up (taken care of by Beppe Tripoli), mimicking, and disguises having this character interact, as if he was the real one, with whomever he meets: This was the first truly great success for Dario in television, that was reached at his sixteenth year of experience.
IRicci's program made him an icon, and on the wake of the result of this new style, of proposing imitations, was followed with other successful interpretations like Gianni Morandi, Margherita Hack, Vasco Rossi, Gino Paoli.
But the passion for figurative arts returns, and wants to be known; Ballantini realized portraits of several big show celebrities of which Erminio Macario, Bice Valori and Fred Buscaglione during the festival "Acquaviva nei Fumetti" while he started to tour in Italy, with his new manager Massimo Licinio who Ezio Greggio had presented. Exhibiting with his new transformation show, concentrated on the three most successful characters (Valentino, Morandi, and Vasco Rossi) that were a great success everywhere.
In 2001, was sent by the satirical television news of Ricci, to meet San Benedetto from Tronto Achille Bonito Oliva, with which talked of paintings, submitted photos of his older works, and received encouragement, and useful advice. He separated from Cristina, and permanently moved to Milan.
In the same period, he meet the journalist Stefano Lorenzetto who discovered his almost abandoned pictorial activity, proposed him to realize an exhibit at the historical "Ghelfi" Gallery in Verona.
This was the turning point. Massimo Licinio, by now a friend, and adviser, as well as estimator of the pictorial side; that had been suffocated for all these years. Decided to encourage him on his decision to undertake the career of a painter again. Participating in the organization of exhibits, of which the presentation of the catalog would be trusted. Thanks to the good support of their common friend Marta Marzotto, Giancarlo Vigorelli (1913-2005), that wrote he could have never imagined, that there was such an amazing cube-expressionist amongst them, in Italy.
The show had such a great success, therefore constituting the real "rebirth" as a painter. Contemporarily, Dario interprets some roles "cameo" in the film "Baci e abbracci" by Paolo Virzì, "Il pesce innamorato" by Leonardo Pieraccioni, "Svitati" by Ezio Greggio and Mel Brooks, "Festival" by Pupi Avati and "Il segreto del giaguaro" by Antonello Fassari. Instead for the short film "La grande borsa blu" by Carlo Pulerà he had the leading role. He participated, and had succes at the first edition of "Sacher Festival" directed by Nanni Moretti.
In 2002, he met Pietro Cascella (1921-2008) in his studio in Fivizzano, he encouraged and sustained him showing appreciation for his artwork.
The relationship with Bonito Oliva which stimulated him to be more accurate, and brave choices on what work to exhibit.
Meanwhile, television success did not stop, and Dario, after participating in the show "La notte vola" coupled with Gianni Fantoni, presented by Lorella Cuccarini, proposes again to "Striscia" new imitations, specializing in make-up, with the collaboration of the cosmetician Mariangela Palatini, and got amazing results with the impersonation ofLuca Cordero di Montezemolo, Tony Renis, Antonio Fazio, Franco Marini, Re Vittorio Emenuele, Valentino Rossi and many others, some of which as a couple with Alvaro Vitali.
The time was right to organize an exhibit in Milan, in collaboration with the Galleria Artesanterasmo.
The art dealer Sorrentino proposed to Prof. Luciano Caprile to visit Dario's studio in Milan.
Where a cultural agreement was born, on the themes of the works, and Caprile decided, with enthusiasm, to deal the layout of the critical text.
The art show in Milan, drummed up new success, and the echoes were amplified by the mass media. After they made exhibits in Padova, Genova, Como, Fano etc., and collection participants, of which included the European parliament of Bruxelles with the Gruppo Labronico, and a tribute to Amedeo Modigliani in the native house cured by the gallery Guastalla in Livorno.
In 2005 was born the third son Deleo from his relationship with Eleonora Giaiotti, which ended one year later.
On the occasion of the awarding of the "Telegatti 2005" he reproduced, on porcelain, a work realized for Tv Sorrisi & Canzoni and R101 which was delivered to all prize winners.
In the same year, Ballantini participated on the radio show "La Carica di 101" on the air every morning on R101, interpretating the grandmother character, the collaboration lasted two years.
In May, of the same year, the critic Fabio Marcelli, administrator of the show on Gentile da Fabriano, decides to take care of the preparation of an exhibit in the same city. The show was to be visited by, among others, the criticsEnrico Crispolti and Ivano Fossati that decided "to dress" the stage for the tour "L'Arcangelo" with a large scale reproduction of Dario's works.
Also, a friendship and cultural understanding began with Ugo Nespolo. They were introduced by Antonio Ricci who showed his appreciation of his works by declaring that Dario is post modernity in person.
In 2006, he realized his personal label "Un Fiore per Ivan" in the memory of the singer songwriter Ivan Graziani produced by Marcello Zaccagnini on the occasion of the demonstration "Pigro" in Teramo.
In September of the same year, he realized with Bonito Oliva a satirical service on the show "Da Dada Dada e Dadaismi del contemporaneo". Subsequently, the critics presented him with the silver A.B.O. for the painting.
In October, the "Corriere della Sera" invited Ballantini to present, as a interviewer, the great exhibit "Turner e gli impressionisti" at the Santa Giulia museum in Brescia.
In 2007, at the Piccolo Eliseo theater in Rome, some images of his works were projected during the reading of some texts of Oliver Py interpreted by Leo Gullotta within the review of the new French dramaturgy.
Fabio Marcelli handled the publication for Silvana Editoriale the volume "In arte Dario Ballantini", a monograph that traced the career profile of Dario, and included his works from 1980 to 2007. Enriched by critic texts by Ivano Fossati, Antonio Ricci, Enrico Crispolti, Luciano Caprile and Luciano Lepri.
He interpreted a fixed role on the fiction "Carabinieri 7" on Canale 5 directed by Raffaele Mertes, and an important part in the film "Il soffio dell'anima" byi Victor Rambaldi, in the same year, he exhibited at the Palazzo Coveri in Florence, Castel dell'Ovo in Naples, and the exhibits itenerary of the titled "Visioni Sommerse" at after a short show in Bologna, arrived in Paris at the "Galerie de l'Europe" in 2009.
During the summer Alessandro Parella organized an exposition at "Castello di Saint Rhémy" in Valle D'Aosta, that September in the ex "Chiesa Anglicana" in Alassio, handled by the critic Nicola Davide Angerame, the title "Labirinti Esistenziali".
In the autumn of 2008 Davide Rampello, President of the Triennale, proposed a exposition at the Triennale Bovisa to Dario, which finally fused both of his two activities after 25 years.
The realization of the show in October, 2009 entitled "Identità Artefatte" was given to Massimo Licinio who was contributed with 15 years of video material furnished by Antonio Ricci and the participation of some of Dario's evaluator colleagues of which Lucio Dalla, Enrico Ruggeri, Remo Girone, Enrico Mentana, Antonio Ricci and new critics text of Luciano Caprile and Nicola Davide Angerame.
In the same period the new works of Ballantini were displayed in Milan at the San Carlo Gallery of Giancarlo De Magistris.
From November 26, 2009 to January 7, 2010 his paintings were displayed at 18 Gallery of Bologna.
In 2010 Ballantini was one of the interpreters in the film by Paolo Virzì "La prima cosa bella" and conductor of the "Ottovolante", radio show on Radio Due; also continued, with great success, his impersonations for Striscia la Notizia, which he had added: Giorgio Napolitano, Michela Vittoria Brambilla, Nanni Moretti, Roberto Maroni, Angelino Alfano and Matteo Renzi.
He displayed his works in Basilea, in the collective art show "Italians do it better" and at the Albanese Arte gallery in Matera, at the Palafiori in Sanremo and at Chiostro in Suvereto.
During the Salone del Mobile 2010 Ballantini's works decorated the space of Anni Luce in Milano. It was contemporarily present at the Triennale in the Atelier Resin Solutions in Gobbetto with an unpublished "cylinder" realized for the occasion.
In the same period, Ballantini participated in one of the most important contemporary art exhibits, the "Cow Parade". He painted one of the seventy cows of authors, that decorated the most beautiful plazas in Rome.
On the occasion of the Vogue Fashion's Night the Galleria San Carlo in Milano prepares a one man show at Art Basel Miami from November 30 to December 7, 2010.
In 2011, the Gallery La Telaccia in Turin had prepared a one man show, and as of april 2012 at Salone del mobile at the stand for Francesco Molon, Illulian, and at the Fuori Salone "150Y Italian Beauty" and "Noa".
Then in May he participated in a collective art exhibition at the Aquire Gallery in London.
Dario Ballantini was present at the 54th Biennale in Venice, in the Padiglione Tibet project, and in June, in a collective art exhibition at the Brehova Gallery in Prague.
Dario Ballantini was in the cast of the film by Giovanni Veronesi "Manuale d'amore 3".
In July, he was present in the sixtieth exhibition of the Gruppo Labronico at the Galleria Athena in Livorno and, in the same month, at the Fiera di Forte dei Marmi "Arteforte", at the same time at the La Telaccia Gallery in Turin.
In the same year Dario inaugurates his one man show at the Fortezza Medicea Girifalco in Cortona and, in October started a collaboration with UEART Tour 2011 (Usa) and the works of Ballantini were displayed in collective art exhibitions in Tallahassee e Miami. And then, present at the 54th Biennale in Venice (Italian pavillion), prepared by Vittorio Sgarbi in October in Milano, and Dicember in Turin.
During 2011, he realized the logo of his Radio program "Ottovolante" on-air on Radio Due Rai.
On January 31, 2012 inaugurates "Fake Identities", his first London personal art exhibition at the Fiumano Fine Art Gallery.
In March 2012, was still present in London at La Dolce Vita.
In May, he realized a personal at the Mazzoleni Art Gallery in Bergamo and that September, Ballantini planned and prepared with his paintings, the space dedicated to the famous potter Del Conca during the Fiera del Cersaire in Bologna.