Joe Chierchio is no stranger to the cover of Dan’s Papers. A quick glance through the archive and he pops up more times than even Hemingway’s famous polydactyl cats—all of whom survived Irma—could count on their over-full paws. Born and raised in New York City, Chierchio studied art the School of Art Design, Pratt and the School of Visual Arts before becoming a successful art director at several prestigious advertising firms.
In that capacity he worked on the campaigns which saw Dinah Shore star in the Holly Farms Chicken Nugget commercials, Billie Jean King in the Theragran Vitamins commercials and Joan Copeland in the Minute Rice commercials.
“After my career in advertising,” Chierchio told us, “I went into fine art. I should have done it sooner.”
Aren’t we all grateful he did?
You’ve been on about two dozen Dan’s Papers covers. What is it about your art, do you think, that appeals to our readers?
I think people relate to my covers because there’s always an idea and a narrative. Not just a pretty picture. I’m also fun, not too serious.
What was your inspiration for this piece?
I always loved Popeye as a kid. He ate his spinach and got the job done. Him, Mighty Mouse and Superman were my earliest heroes.
Earlier this summer you shared some of your new work from your “Bodies of Work” series. What draws you to superheroes as a subject?
Growing up we had lots of heroes, today not so many. We need superheroes today more than ever. Wonder Woman, Batwoman and Batman will live forever. Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? We all would like to know.
All the works in the series are done in colored pencil, do you also work in other media?
I love to use colored pencil. It gives me a feeling of drawing which I love to do. I also work as a sculptor, stone carving and bronzing is my medium.
After many years working in advertising, you turned your focus to fine art. Do you have any advice for a young artist who might be stuck in the grind trying to focus more on their fine art?
Don’t get stuck in doing one thing—try different media. Don’t depend on the computer too much. Get out of your comfort zone.
How has your time in advertising influenced your current work?
My job as an advertising art director was to come up with ideas that can sell products. It isn’t creative unless it sells. Always ideas first then the execution. That’s the way I taught my students at the School Of Visual Arts for many years. Execute the idea, not the execution.
Is their one piece of advice you received from another artist that you’ve always remembered?
Work on your art every day, you will get so much better. Dig deep for good ideas. Take chances, create your own look, so people will know your work from a mile away.
Where can readers see more of your work in person?
Arthur T. Kalaher Fine Art Gallery at 28E Jobs Lane in Southampton features drawings from my female heroes series.
Learn more about the artist at joechierchio.com.