After being bombarded with images of domestic destruction from Superstorm Sandy, it’s comforting to experience this week’s cover by Daniel Pollera, where soothing shades of amber engulf the dunes. The setting is not only calming but also evokes a late fall day, the ending of one season and the beginning of another.
While new beginnings and the nostalgic past (seen in this cover’s historical home) have often been themes of Pollera’s, he has always focused on formal qualities concerning light and composition. These particular techniques have served him well, guiding him through the long journey he has traveled to reach his goal of becoming an artist.
Q: What are some things that you believe in, some values that have gotten you where you are today, especially having to do with your children?
A: I believe my children should work for what they have and not be given everything. But if things get tough, I would step in. I am always there for them.
Q: How about work values? You are so committed to your art. Do you ever relax?
A: At the end of the day, I turn on the TV, which is in my studio. But my paintings are there, too, and I get distracted. I start looking at my art.
Q: You just like working. Like on your boat.
A: I like working on my boat, refurbishing it, but if it becomes a chore, I walk away.
Q: The same with painting?
A: Same with painting; I just walk away. But I come back to finish it.
Q: Have you ever given up and not gotten back to a piece?
Q: How come?
A: I don’t paint myself into a corner. I have good planning before I start a painting. I know where the composition is going. When I first started painting, I would block the entire image in and figure how one color would effect the other.
Q: You really do have a great sense of color.
A: I remember when I took an art class, my teacher said, “You understand color.” I didn’t understand what he meant then.
Q: I think he meant you work with intuition, which is a real gift. But despite understanding and good planning, problems may come up in the process.
A: Composition can take on its own personality and deviate from my plan. So I make adjustments in that case. Problems are workable. I try and keep it under control. But it’s like walking a tightrope.
The important thing is that the end result is pleasing to the viewer.
Q: So what other values are important to you besides planning and control?
A: Determination. If people try and tell you not to be an artist it challenges you to try it anyway. You follow your gut, your dream.
Q: How about the determination you showed with the recent storm?
A: We were two weeks without services. But I was determined to stay in our house. It’s not going to float away, I kept thinking.
Q: What life lessons have your learned from the storm?
A: I’ve seen history change. My neighborhood was really affected: The Red Cross was giving out meals; neighbors came out to help; the National Guard was there. But I also realized another change in history. Some Victorian houses that I painted a long time ago were destroyed by the storm. I can’t paint them again.
Pollera’s original art can be seen at Southampton’s Chrysalis Gallery, 2 Main Street, 631-287-1883. His work can also be seen on his website: www.danielpollera.com