This weekend—Saturday, August 21, at 2 p.m. to be exact—the annual Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game returns to East Hampton’s Herrick Park for another exciting game, pitting celebrity artists against famous writers to benefit four local nonprofits. This means that, as tradition begets more traditions, this is the week we feature Walter Bernard’s latest Artists & Writers Game art on the cover of Dan’s Papers in celebration of one of the Hamptons’ most unique and beloved fundraising events.
Here, Bernard discusses this year’s cover, his fondest game day memories and more.
What is the name of this year’s Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game cover, and what inspired this particular design?
Well, there’s really no name for this piece unless it’s “Play Ball.” After more than 15 or 20 covers on this theme each year, it gets more challenging to come up with something different. I originally thought of a design that just celebrated a great day for a ball game with a giant glove formed by a cloud, but that didn’t get accepted. So, I changed it to a giant surreal glove over the playing field.
What does your artistic process typically look like, and was it any different for this piece?
I am basically a graphic designer who makes sketches before proceeding. In this case, I made a watercolor of the glove in the sky, adding several watercolor figures (made separately) and the playing field. Using these elements, I then made several different compositions by computer. Most of my previous covers have been watercolor or pastel paintings.
What do you find most exciting or rewarding about designing the Artists & Writers Game covers?
After 50 years of designing magazines and books, I still enjoy seeing my work in print.
In addition to softball, what other subjects or locales inspire you to create art?
With fellow artists I have taken many painting trips, frequently here on the East End. The landscapes and the light in this area are inspiring.
What artistic accomplishment or achievement are you most proud of?
Currently, I am most happy and proud of Mag Men: Fifty Years of Making Magazines, my book with Milton Glaser, published by Columbia University Press. And really proud of my wife, Bina, whose first novel, Keeping Secrets has just been published by Arcade.
Where can your work be seen in the coming weeks, both online and up close?
I have no exhibit in the works. But some of my design work, to name a few, can be seen locally: the logo of the Hamptons Doc Fest, the logo for The East End Fund for Children and the design of The East Hampton Star. And at walterbernarddesign.com.
What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Artists & Writers Game?
A sunny day, a good crowd, an entertaining game, funds for charities and an Artists team win.
How has last year’s cancelation changed the way you and the other players view this year’s game?
That cancelation reminded us that playing in the game was a special privilege in a long tradition—that it has a place in the community and deserves to continue.
What’s an especially fond memory you’ve shared with your fellow Artists & Writers Game players?
I remember well when the esteemed Elaine Benson, owner of the Benson Gallery in Bridgehampton and manager of the Artists team, invited me to play a long time ago. A real gathering of artist and writers. And at my first game, I met Leif Hope, an enthusiastic ballplayer, now the heart and soul of the game.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Did I mention you should all come to the softball game on Saturday at 2 p.m.?
For more information about the Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game, visit awgame.org.