This week’s cover artist, Joe Chierchio, has done 14 covers for Dan’s Papers, each time enjoying the challenge of coming up with something new and quintessentially “Hamptons.” This time, he’s taken a departure from his typically very colorful palette in favor of something more stark and seasonal. The timing could not have been better for his submission, as East Enders begin to emerge from the recent blizzard. Here Chierchio discusses his cover image and current projects.
Is this cover, “Winterfeed,” a recent work?
Yes, I just finished it within a month or two. We have a house in Water Mill where there’s a barn and a corral, which we’ve donated to Amaryllis Farm. My finacée, who is a sculptor (and who also loves horses) and I see people come in all kinds of weather and take care of the horses.
You sculpt too, right?
Yes, stone carving and bronzes. In fact some of my marble sculptures are at Chrysalis Gallery on Main Street in Southampton. Some of my drawings and paintings are at Arthur Kalaher’s gallery on Jobs Lane.
Oh, wow, I’m going to check that out this week. So, how long have you been coming out East?
Almost 20 years. Since then I’ve had a lot of shows out there. In fact, one of the Dan’s Papers covers that I really like was of Candy Kitchen in Bridgehampton, and in it my friends are standing outside, leaning against their antique Packard. It was a fun cover, very nostalgic. I love the challenge of coming up with new ideas for the cover. I try to make it of the local scene, whether it’s an iconic spot like Wölffer or Candy Kitchen…I like to do the local color of the Hamptons. I was in the advertising business for 40 years, with Grey Advertising, and this is the most fun I’ve had, coming up with something apropos for out there.
I do get the feeling of nostalgia in your work, especially that Brooklyn Diner one I see on your website.
I love nostalgia. I love capturing the way things were, especially in the ’50s and ’60s, when I was growing up in New York. I love that diner over near 57th Street. A funny story about that one—I was having a show in Italy and it was included in the show and I got a call from someone who wanted to buy it for the owner of the Brooklyn Diner, a friend of his, but we couldn’t reach a deal. Back in the city, I was showing it again and this time the son of the owner saw it and ended up buying it for his father. So you never know who’s going to buy your work, the important thing is to have it out there.
So where can people go in the city to see your current work?
The Gallery of Graphic Arts near Gracie Mansion is showing a series I just did from scenes in Charles Schultz Park.
New Yorkers love scenes of their city.
Yes, they do. I do a lot of scenes of Central Park. I live two blocks from the park so I go there every day with a sketchpad and a camera. I’ve also been working on some illustrations for the Hampton Jitney; people gathering there, getting off the bus. It’s such a Hamptons scene. In one of them, Dan is getting off the bus, reading his paper. I love to tell stories in my work, a little bit like one of my favorites, Norman Rockwell. He did 350 covers for the Saturday Evening Post and every one of them was terrific. Every one of them told a story.
I really like the tree branching out behind the horses in this drawing, and that sliver of sunshine along the horizon.
I usually put a lot of color and I had to stop myself with this one and just go with muted tones and just a little color in the sky. I wanted it to have that feeling of the cold, and the person who comes to feed the horses on a cold winter’s day. I like the message in this one; people doing good in some way, whether it’s with people or with animals.
See more of Joe Chierchio’s work at joechierchio.com.