Dan’s Cover Artist Nick Cordone Talks Ukraine & the Art of Change

April 29, 2022 Dan's Papers cover art (detail) by Nick Cordone
April 29, 2022 Dan’s Papers cover art (detail) by Nick Cordone

The impactful art on this week’s April 29, 2022 cover was painted by Nick Cordone of Southold, who felt moved to address the situation in Ukraine with his brush. Here, he discusses the power of art to enact change, a North Fork art show raising funds for the Ukrainian people, and more.

Nick Cordone in his studio
Nick Cordone in his studio

What inspired you to paint “Ukraine … Live Free or Die” in response to the conflict in Ukraine?

As with most observers, the invasion of Russia into the Ukraine is very upsetting. This painting is one of a smaller bundle of paintings within my larger series titled “Do Animals Daydream?” (This series expresses the cognitive similarities between animals and humans. … Animals and humans have indicated cognitive similarities in their thoughts and actions. As humans, we love, dislike, assimilate, aspire, enjoy humor and music, etc. and science is finding that animals are expressing similar cognitive thinking.)

This painting reflects the situation in Ukraine. The people of Ukraine’s personal freedom is in jeopardy. The freedom of the fish above the control of the bowl, along with the colors of the Ukraine flag, express my thoughts of “freedom versus
control.”

I am so very impressed by the “Molon Labe” attitude of the Ukrainian people against the Russian aggressors. Their strength and fortitude express their love for their country.

Nick Cordone's "Uber" (Do animals show concern for other animals?)
Nick Cordone’s “Uber” (Do animals show concern for other animals?)

How was this piece created? Walk us through your creative process.

My creative process starts with thoughts concerning a subject. I select a storyline and then start to write out some ideas which leads to many, many thumbnail sketches. Research and reference of images then follows. I then work on an actual-size composition along with a value study to indicate the forms and lighting direction. Consideration of color combinations follow and the painting process begins. My process sounds pretty pragmatic but along the way “change happens.”

Nick Cordone's "Ta Dah!" (Do animals share a sense of accomplishment?)
Nick Cordone’s “Ta Dah!” (Do animals share a sense of accomplishment?)

What are your thoughts on the power of art to enact change?

Throughout history, the influence of art in the form of painting, sculpture, architecture, fashion, music, etc. has always been thought-provoking for the viewer and has often affected change. As an artist, we offer our opinion, in our own way, and hope that the viewer will come away with new insight concerning our subject.

Nick Cordone's “Snowy sisters” (Do animals discuss the effects of climate change?)
Nick Cordone’s “Snowy sisters” (Do animals discuss the effects of climate change?)

What artistic accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am just pleased that someone would look at my artwork and find it interesting and thought-provoking. That, to me, is a major accomplishment, one that makes me feel like all my years of effort counted for something. I feel validated.

What is one artistic goal you hope to accomplish this year?

I don’t make any specific plans for the upcoming calendar. I am thinking about my artwork throughout the day and night and will continue to do so throughout the days ahead. My observations will bring about new ideas, which I’ll be able to express in my own fashion.

Nick Cordone's "I May Not Be King, but Someone Should Bow When I Pass By" (Do animals express personal Ego?)
Nick Cordone’s “I May Not Be King, but Someone Should Bow When I Pass By” (Do animals express personal Ego?)

What do you find most rewarding about being an artist?

The best part of being an artist is the fact that I can do whatever I want creatively. And if my work doesn’t sell or is not appreciated, well so be it, I’ll just go ahead and create something new. It’s not going to stop me from creating.

Would you like to share any closing thoughts or additional info?

This painting, along with 29 other works of art, will be exhibited at the William Ris Gallery in Jamesport starting April 30. The exhibit is titled Hearts and Souls: An Exhibit for Solidarity. Proceeds from the sale of the artwork will be donated to the charitable organization Razom for Ukraine (“Razom” meaning “Together”). I urge all of you to stop by to view the artwork and perhaps purchase a piece as a donation to such a worthy, timely cause. More of my work can be seen at the William Ris Gallery throughout the year, as well as on my website, nickcordone.com.

April 29, 2022 Dan's Papers cover art by Nick Cordone
April 29, 2022 Dan’s Papers cover art by Nick Cordone

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