The 2021 Dan’s Papers Labor Day cover features the art of designer, woodworker, master craftsman, industrial artist and owner of A Is for Art in Southampton Walter Sternlieb. This week’s cover is an example of his unique “three-dimensional paintings” which are on view and for sale at his Jobs Lane gallery.
What was the inspiration behind the eye-catching design of your three-dimensional American flag?
My inspiration comes from within. Back in the day I would say I have a built-in TV set in my head, but now it would be called a 3D monitor — this is where my ideas come alive. In this 3D monitor, I can visualize, spin, rotate and alter them to my leisure. I don’t dream of these designs, I just wake up and there it is. One day I just woke up and had this three-dimensional flag in my TV set. I went to my studio and started fabricating a mini model, I loved the shape and the form.
How was the full-size piece created? Walk us through the process.
Once my mini model was created, I went and stared at a stack of plywood. I figured out the angels based on my prototype, and I started cutting and fabricating. After it was primed, I placed my stripes and stars, and I loved it even more.
What makes this artwork such an ideal fit for a Dan’s Papers cover?
To me, the flag represents “America the Beautiful,” which is why I named this piece just that. During these times it is nice to have bright, wonderful colors, something to give people inspiration and hope.
What does Labor Day mean to you, and how do you intend to spend it this year?
It is a time to look back on my life and work from this year. Time to gather my thoughts and reflect on how to make my career better for the following year.
Where do you find the most inspiration as an artist and designer?
From my childhood, spending time with my family traveling to museums, historic sites and gardens. Through my life I have seen such wonderful things, and I am so fortunate. When a situation arises that I need a new concept, I go into my memory bank, pull up images that I have seen in the past and I combine them together to come up with what I’m going to do next.
What artistic accomplishment or achievement are you most proud of?
I am proudest of the collection I have created for my indoor and outdoor gallery.
What do you find most personally rewarding about your artistic life and career?
People come in and look at my work and tell me that it makes them so happy to see such cheerful works of art.
Tell us about the opening of A Is for Art this summer. What has it been like joining the art mecca that is Southampton?
Very interesting. I love doing the art, I love hanging the art, I love being in the gallery when no one else is there. I am not an outgoing people person, and when I am at the gallery when it’s open, I tell my staff not to tell the people I’m the artist.
What new works can be seen at the gallery now and in the coming weeks?
I just set up an outdoor part of my gallery. I am currently in the process of building two benches for the outdoor gallery. The first bench has the seating area carved out similar to the style of Windsor chairs. The second bench has a back on it and is made from plumbing pipes, using similar bright colors on it. This one was inspired from when I went to Barcelona, Spain where I saw some park benches by Antoni Gaudi. I always have a mess of ideas running through my head.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I would like to thank the wonderful people of Dan’s Papers for choosing me for the cover of their magazine. I would also like to thank all the people who were so helpful in my life.
To see more of Walter Sternlieb’s work, visit A Is for Art at 60 Jobs Lane, Southampton or check out the gallery website at aisforart.us.