The cover art for our Father’s Day issue comes to us from Gia Horton, who can now celebrate her 10th Dan’s Papers cover. Here, she discusses “Carpe Diem,” her parents’ role in her path as an artist and her goals for the summer.
A Chat with Gia Horton
Tell us about “Carpe Diem” your inspiration and the narrative within.
I painted “Carpe Diem” during our lockdown in 2020. What better subject than a yacht whose name is a cry to seize the day, not such an easy thing to do for all of us then. During the COVID months, I was drawn even more than usual to paint the places I love on the East End that uplift me. The yachts in Sag Harbor always spark my imagination, making me wonder about who owns them, what would it be like to live on one. I find them beautiful and fascinating. Having painted them, they become a little part of my soul.
We’ve chosen this piece as our Father’s Day cover. What is a Father’s Day memory that you look back on fondly?
My favorite Father’s Days were those when my dad and all my uncles were still around. We always had so much fun when we all were together barbecuing and doing whatever the day would bring. Maybe we’d all take the boat out and go fishing or, if it was warm enough, he’d take us waterskiing. It was just great whenever I could watch him really having fun.
Has a father figure played a role in your path as an artist?
I would say that my father and my mother both played a role in my path as an artist. My mother being an artist herself, allowed me to be surrounded while growing up with the scents and supplies that come with having a studio. There were always events where artists gathered and I was exposed to many styles, realism being my draw.
My dad loved the East End and the nature of it all. He taught me to see nature through his eyes. He was very proud of our Horton ancestry that is so a part of the North Fork. It all became very special to me. The life surrounding the cove in Southampton where the house is was more than just trees and water, it was those things that were native to that area, the birds, the sea life, the stars, even the rocks and shells, and he taught me about all of it and showed me how to look closely at it all and appreciate my surroundings. That’s why when I look for painting reference, I look closely at the landscape to really feel what is happening so I can portray it in a way that will preserve it properly.
Where on the East End do you most enjoy boating or admiring the boats on the water?
I love Sag Harbor and looking at all the yachts at the dock, as portrayed in this cover. Any marina will draw me to take reference photos. They all have something special. I like to walk along the docks and see how the boats reflect into the water on a calm day. My favorite place to be on the water is on my kayak in North Sea Harbor and out to Peconic Bay early morning or just before sunset. There is so much to explore there, the little inlets which surround the Conscience Point Preserve, Towd Point, the marina, the marshlands, they always look different as the tide and the light change. There are times when it can be so quiet and I’m the only one floating along on the bay, the sky is changing from pink to blue, there’s nothing like it.
How do your inspirations and/or creative process change as the weather gets warmer?
My inspiration comes from the warmer weather. Spring and summer are my favorite times of year to explore and take reference photos for new paintings. I don’t paint as much in the summer, I do most of my work in the fall and winter. I’d rather spend time outdoors with family and friends while the weather on the East End is so wonderful.
What is one artistic hope or goal you have for this summer or this year?
Well, I think we’ve accomplished that today with this cover being my 10th. Dan’s Papers has always been a staple in my home since I can remember. From the first cover to this one, it has always been so exciting, and I feel so honored to be a part of this paper that has represented all that is the Hamptons for decades.
Going forward, I was invited to participate in the Box Art Auction 2022 to benefit the East End Hospice, an annual event in August in East Hampton. Presently, I have work at the Water Mill Museum and the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James. I’m looking forward to seeing what other opportunities await this summer.
Would you like to share any closing thoughts or additional info?
I would like to acknowledge Daniel Pollera, who passed away this past March. Dan, as anyone who has ever picked up a copy of Dan’s Papers knows, was a prolific landscape artist who built an exceptional art career painting the bay houses of the South Shore and his love of coastal living. He was my friend and my greatest inspiration even before we met. Dan was always generous with his encouragement and advice. I am grateful to have known him.