On Saturday, August 20 at 2 p.m., East Hampton’s Herrick Park will become the place to be, as celebrity artists and writers face off in the 74th annual Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game.
Here, Bernard discusses the new design, playing ball and more.
Walter Bernard on the Artists & Writers Game and More
Does the art on this year’s Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game cover have an official name or a nickname you use to describe it in conversation?
Nothing official, but I call it “Fly Ball.”
What inspired this year’s unique cover of winged baseballs flying through the air?
I have used the brush and pencil motif as part of my designs for the Artist & Writers Game for many years on shirts and hats and on Dan’s Papers covers. This current cover is based on the idea of a flying ball; the ball in this case has wings made of artists’ brushes and writers’ pencils.
How did you compose and create this particular piece?
I made several sketches, some using seagulls holding a ball but as I worked, I soon realized I could use the brushes and pencils as wings in place of a seagull. Fausta Kingué, my talented assistant, then put all the elements together to make the design work and ready for printing.
What have you been painting this summer? Any inspiring new muses?
I am working on a large watercolor called “Bridgehampton Skies,” based on the wonderful and amazing end-of-day cloud formations I see over Mecox fields. I’m also continuing work on an oil painting of my wife and daughter in conversation; it is an ongoing project that I started when my daughter was in high school (she is now the mother of teenage twins) that I can’t seem to get quite right. Perhaps I will this year.
Is there an artistic goal that you have yet to achieve?
Only to keep learning and fulfill the admonition given by a teacher to my friend and mentor Milton Glaser: “Do good work.”
Where can more of your work be viewed in the coming weeks (online, exhibitions, publications)?
No exhibit planned, but some of my design work can be seen around town in the logo for the Hamptons Doc Fest, the upcoming Sag Harbor American Music Festival, the East End Fund for Children and the book jacket for Carl Bernstein’s Chasing History and Bina Bernard’s Keeping Secrets.
What aspect of this year’s Artists & Writers Game are you most excited for?
Recent games have been exciting hard-fought contests to the last inning. The Artists have won the last few games, and I am eager to see if we can continue the streak.
Having done both, do you enjoy playing on the Artists team or cheering for them from the stands more, and why?
At my age, I am hoping to pitch several innings without doing too much damage, and then I will be happy to cheer the team on for the rest of the game. I do enjoy playing more because it makes me feel like it is 1972.
Why do you think the Artists & Writers Game is a tradition that’s been going strong for over 70 years?
It has evolved over the years from a fun softball game and picnic in artist Wilfrid Zogbaum’s backyard — it included artists Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Joan Mitchell. Later writers such as Irwin Shaw, Willie Morris and James Jones joined in — to a bigger community game in Herrick Park, to an even larger event that now contributes to four local charities. There are many people over the years who have kept the game alive and thriving. Leif Hope has been the heart and soul of this game since the 1960s.
So many others have made major contributions to keep this game alive but these come to mind for me: Elaine Benson, Deb McEneaney, Eric Ernst, Ronnette Riley, Ken Auletta, Mike Lupica, David Brandman, Dan Rattiner, Alec Baldwin and Juliet Papa, to name just a few.
Would you like to share any closing thoughts or additional info?
Well, I hope to play again next year when it will feel like 1973.
To see more of Walter Bernard’s design work, visit walterbernarddesign.com. And for more information about the Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game, visit awgame.org.