By Daniel Marcillo and Donovan Alexis
SOUTHAMPTON, NY–With its back to the plexiglass, the Hedwig look-a-like snowy owl sat perched on a branch like on a tree in the forest. Every barb and quill of the hand-carved piece, etched in minute detail. The eyes, yellow, scanning the main gallery at the Southampton Cultural Center.
One of the more expensive pieces of artwork during the Fall Art Show, the “Snowy Owl,” by sculptor Matt DiBernardo of East Quogue, is up for sale at $5,000.
The Southampton Artist’s Association (SAA) will be hosting the fair until Nov. 18. The exhibit features over 125 pieces created by Long Island artists, ranging in style and form, from photographs and mixed media to paintings and sculptures.
“Growing up, my mother always encouraged us to do some kind of artwork–to work with our hands,” DiBernardo said.
During an outing with his wife, he explained that after seeing a less than appealing antique duck for sale he thought he could make something like that himself. A couple of months later, he took on the task from a carving book.
A majority of the gallery depicted nature art, as photographers and painters brought their vision of the outdoors onto the canvas.
“I try to capture images to try to inspire people to get outdoors,” nature photographer and 13 year cancer survivor John Cardone said. In the last twelve years he explained that the focus of his art turned to nature.
“Learning that you might have cancer is something that turns your world upside-down,” he said. “My time with nature is amazing and I am actively trying to help educate people about the health benefits of being outdoors.”
Choosing what pieces will be part of the exhibit is tough.
“Whether it is a smaller piece off the rack or one of the more expensive pieces on the wall, all of these pieces have a uniqueness to them,” Margaret McCormick, an attendee of the art show, said.
The idea is to give viewers something new and intriguing DiBernardo said.
“It’s a leap of faith,” Second Vice President of the SAA and photographer Dave Johns said. “There’s definitely some anxiety about what are people going to think. You have to get through that pretty quickly because then it will influence your work–you’ll start to think about what can sell.”
As a photographer, Johns’ passion started at a very young age. He explained that he had a strong interest in photographic history, and that he owns a library of photographic books.
“I started as a young child when I was 10 years old or so with a little brownie Kodak plastic camera when it was popular in those days,” Johns said. “Over the years whether we lived in apartments or houses I always managed to set up a dark room in the bathroom one way or another.”
Whether it be part-time hobbyists or full-time creatives, Johns advised aspiring artists to follow their own inclinations and encourages them to submit to shows and use the forum as a gauge in order to help improve their craft.
“Often times you hang a show and before the show is even in its first few days, I’m looking at it already saying ‘I can do better than this,’” Johns said.