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Lodato was born in 1946 to film industry parents, and his mother always encouraged him to draw. He says his earliest memories are being in a crib and looking at the dark spaces. Today he finds himself doing the same thing on foggy days at the beach, looking at the emptiness. This has always been provocative to him, even though he says there is "no such thing as emptiness ... one experiences perception."

He always drew and practiced his art, and attended Cal State Northridge to study psychology and art. Art won because he was better at it in college. Lodato had his first solo show in 1972, and art has been his life ever since. Prominent art writer, Fidel Danieli, wrote back then that Lodato "is one of the major southern California artists to emerge in the 1970s." He has since had 40-50 one man shows, all over this globe.