This week’s cover artist, Joe Chierchio, has created about 20 covers for Dan’s Papers. In the past year, his cover drawings have ranged from a winter scene of his barn and horse corral in Water Mill, where he and his fiancé live and work when they’re not in New York City, to a quintessential summer scene of people debarking the Hampton Jitney, which opened the Dan’s Papers special Jitney section. This week’s cover reveals Chierchio’s love for nostalgia and film—and is aptly timed for the 2014 Hamptons International Film Festival (HIFF) Oct. 9–13. Back in the city after five weeks in Spain, where he had a show, Chierchio discusses this particular cover image and the inspiration behind it.
This cover seems to have a lot of cinematic elements—is it from something in particular?
This is terrific timing for the film festival because this cover is a montage from one of my all-time favorite movies, Casablanca.
Oh, of course, that’s a great movie.
Yeah, and even though the movie was in black and white, I wanted to do this in color. I think most people like to see color.
The timing is pretty amazing—was this something you did recently?
Yeah, I did this within the last year or so. What I’ve been doing is a whole body of work from iconic movies. A lot of people love the old movies—I do, especially from the ’40s and ’50s. I just finished On the Waterfront, which is with Marlon Brando. It’s a great movie. Brando was in his prime. I did that in color, too. I also just finished The Misfits—another great movie from the ’50s, with Clark Gable and Marilyn Monroe. I think it was the last movie for both of them before they died. It’s about wild horses out west, and how people gathered and sold them.
So those three, including Casablanca, are done already, and then I’m going to do some new ones: African Queen with Humphrey Bogart—I seem to gravitate to Bogart, he’s one of my favorite actors…Maltese Falcon, another one I want to do is Treasure of Sierra Madre.
So that’s what I’m working on. I’m doing a lot of contemporary stuff, too—city scenes, people in the city, done in a contemporary style.
Are you still showing at Chrysalis Gallery in Southampton?
Yes. I’m also a sculptor, I carve in marble and alabaster and there’s some of that there at Chrysalis, too. In the city I show at Gallery of Graphic Arts right near Gracie Mansion—just did a body of work of Carl Schultz Park, which is on the water. Gracie Mansion is where the mayor lives.
Does this new body of classic film–inspired work give you the opportunity to watch some of them over again?
Oh, yes, all the time. The good ones. Casablanca I’ve seen about 20 or 30 times. Each time, as an artist, you see something new and fresh. I like to study the acting and directing. The Godfather is one of my favorites and I’ve seen that about 50 times.
When I was a kid, my mother and I went to the movies all the time. After school, I used to go to the movies by myself and then come home in time for dinner. Then after dinner, my mother would take me to see the nighttime movie. In the ’40s, a person would get a free plate, cup or saucer each time you went to the movies—so if you go enough you end up accumulating a whole dinnerware set! I bet those are collector’s items now.
That was before television—a night out was going to the movie theater or turning on the radio at home.
Do you plan to go to HIFF this year?
Oh, definitely. We’ll probably head out for it on Thursday.