This week’s cover is by local artist David Kornrumpf. The scene of the façade of the beloved Suffolk Theater in Riverhead, bathed in golden light with a pale blue sky peaking out from behind, is one that reminds us that autumn is an ideal time to visit historic downtown. Catching up during a mid-week lunch break, Kornrumpf discusses his art.
Is your painting of Suffolk Theater a recent piece?
I did a bunch of paintings in the early 2000s that were landmarks of the East End. First, Southampton and then I did a series of the North Shore. That particular one of the Suffolk Theater I did in 2005. There were about 10 paintings of that series in a show… Then there was [an art show] at the Riverhead Library in their exhibition space. I had put in the landmark paintings and a few others—altogether about 30 paintings. It did well.
You show a lot of love to the East End in your work. Did you grow up here?
I was born in this country in 1965, but in ’67 my parents moved to Holland. My father was in international banking and worked for Citibank. So I was there learning Dutch—we lived near Haarlem, near the coast. In ’72 we moved to England so I spent my years there playing cricket and rugby, and having an English education. In ’83, I wanted to go to college in the States and got into Southampton College, where I had my formal art training.
After graduation, I decided, because of the weather and a few other factors, to stay on the East End instead of going back to England. At first I wanted to become an illustrator, so I went to Sayville and studied under a professor who had taught at Parsons. I learned a lot from that guy. He called me a colorist. After that, I took a hiatus for about 4 to 5 years, and finally got back into painting. Now I’ve been painting for 20 years.
During that hiatus, I did a few menial jobs—carpentry, construction—but art was always pulling me back. Then I started working at Morris Studio and learned how to become a framer—I was always around artists but didn’t paint as much as I used to. The creative juices were always pulling, though—I’d see a beautiful sunset and think of painting.
Who are some of your favorite artists or sources of inspiration?
At one point during my construction years, I got hurt and couldn’t paint right-handed. I tried left-handed and it opened me up—I became more free flowing, there was more shape, texture. The Impressionists were an influence. I finally did get the use of my right hand back, so then began two-handed painting. It catapulted my style and how I use color. I’ve begun to incorporate oil pastels now. Once the paint dries, I use oil pastel over it, and it creates a dry-brush effect. I did glazing for a while, too, it’s constantly evolving. I like trying different techniques.
I’m inspired by Monet, John Singer Sargent, N.C. Wyeth. I enjoy other Impressionists, Renoir, of course, but mostly Monet. His use of color was fascinating. The grass isn’t always green. The sky isn’t always blue. He had a great understanding of color.
Where can people go to see your artwork?
I’m a member of the Southampton Artists Association and we have a show coming up in November. I also have paintings hanging at the Wells Fargo office across the street from the movie theater on Hill Street in Southampton.
David Kornrumpf can be contacted at 631-875-7253. A website is coming soon.