“It’s the heart and soul of Sag Harbor,” this week’s cover artist Richard Sygar says of his painting’s iconic subject, one all East Enders miss so much: the historic façade and neon sign of the Sag Harbor Cinema. “The big letters right in the middle of the village are very important to Main Street in Sag Harbor,” he adds. “It broke everyone’s heart, including my own, when the [December 2016] fire occurred.”
Sygar created this painting, along with another of the Sag Harbor Cinema, approximately a decade ago to give as gifts—one, to his wife; the other, to a contractor friend of his. The artist recalls the physical cinema itself: “It was fun to go to the Cinema—the actual building—because it was old and musty. It had an atmosphere to it.”
He also reiterates something he told us last year when we interviewed him for another of his Dan’s Papers covers. He doesn’t like to call himself an artist.
“I don’t make my living as an artist,” he explains. “And I have too much respect for artists who make their living and work hard at their art.”
Sygar has, however, been painting and working in other visual arts for as long as he can remember—and has even sold some watercolors along the way.
“I’ve been drawing since I was eight or nine,” he says. “I briefly studied watercolors in college, because it was part of the architectural department curriculum.”
He is now well into a successful architecture career, but still makes time to paint.
“I haven’t painted many watercolors recently, but I always seem to pick up a brush if I like something,” he notes.
As far as his architectural work, Sygar says he’s influenced by all the big names such as Frank Gehry and Frank Lloyd Wright. He’s designed several homes on Butter Lane and Lumber Lane and the renovation and addition at the Bridgehampton Golf Course Clubhouse on Ocean Lane.
He describes his style as “contemporary. Not too exotic, but not too simple,” adding, “I think they have some punch to them.”