There are few images as striking and distinctly “Long Island” as the Montauk Lighthouse. This week’s cover artist, Bill Kuchler, paints his vision of the lighthouse in “Montauk Majesty.”
Where do you find inspiration?
I get my inspiration from the beauty that most people overlook every day. The sagging barns, windswept lighthouses and broken-down covered bridges…they all have history and tell a story. I’m trying to capture that story in a way that makes people stop and take another look at something they may normally pass by.
Why paint this lighthouse?
The Montauk Lighthouse is such an iconic image for those of us who live on Long Island. It’s really a symbol of what it is to be a Long Islander—strong, proud and able to weather any storm. Whenever we see it, we are reminded of that heritage and are asked to be better than who we normally are, to be a beacon of light to those around us.
How would you describe your style?
My art is very realistic but in an idealized way. I want people to look at my paintings and to recognize places even if they have never been there. They are images of Americana, burned into all of our memories.
How did you get started?
I grew up painting. It runs in the family. My father painted and he encouraged me in my art, from the time I was little. We always had a drawing table and some of my fondest memories are of standing there with my father as he showed me a new way to do something on one of my paintings.
What’s your favorite time of year on Long Island?
The fall—there’s crispness in the air—and a magic, almost. The leaves themselves turn into treasures of gold and copper. It’s when I really feel most alive.
If you could meet any artist, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
I would love to meet Edward Hopper, just to watch him work. He has a relatively simplistic style, and yet in paintings like “Nighthawks” he captures so much emotion and drama.