How the Torrington Art Scene Helped Me

the first painting
Along with the amazing local artists in the area, my artwork and the artwork of Nutmeg Junction that I create with Jessica Ponticelli will be a part of the Arts Desire’s one year anniversary celebration on October 5th. I’m looking forward to this event and I’m grateful for the opportunity.
For this Crayon Diary, I want to give a little history behind the artwork and it has to start with this painting of a yellow and orange dinosaur running past the Carrie Welton fountain in Waterbury, Connecticut during Halloween. It was three years ago in late September, early October that I made this piece, my first oil painting. At that time I was teaching my daughter to read and I had created some 8 page “learn to read books”. Within the books, I created this goofy dinosaur character. She liked the books and she liked the dinosaur character. In a fit of creative inspiration, I began work on this piece and finished it and then wondered what I’d do with it.
It was then that I found the Artwell Gallery which at that time was on Water Street. I met Pam Bogert and she encouraged me to bring my painting to the gallery for their upcoming show. So I did and this Dinosaur painting was placed next to their front door. Energized by that opportunity, and with the help of my friends, the Morrions, my website was built and I began to pursue my lifelong dream of drawing cartoons for newspapers. Since I was going to visit central New York that November, I pitched a weekly newspaper there in a bid to do their cartoons. I was able to advise them that my artwork was in a gallery locally and I had the photos and the blogposting to back it up. The editor liked my work and after some back and forth, she hired me. When I went on my visit to central New York, we were able to sign a contract and my cartoons began at the end of November 2010. I still do their cartoons for that newspaper to this day.
Now I always had the desire to draw a daily comic strip and they had a sister publication that was a daily. I pitched a comic strip based on the dinosaur and a character not unlike my daughter and their adventures together. It began running April 11, 2011 and it still runs in that paper to this day. What’s more, in 2012 I expanded the storyline into Nebraska, and the cartoon with that dinosaur runs in Nebraska (and THAT’S still running today!).
In 2013, I started drawing TORRINGTON and then greater Connecticut, a concept which then was expanded with Jessica Ponticelli to become NUTMEG JUNCTION. My cartooning continues to evolve and with help, I hope it expands into the world of animation and books.
And now this piece will once again look out at Torrington this October 5th, a painting that was a part of the journey that started it all for me. I am grateful for the opportunities I have received along the way and I look forward to continuing that journey in the years to come!


12 thoughts on “How the Torrington Art Scene Helped Me

  1. How awesome! It is amazing how things happen in life! Who knows what adventure will be in store for you this time around!! (the sky reminds me a lot of “starry night” 🙂 )

  2. Great background story! I knew about the connection of writing books for your daughter, but I never knew how it evolved into the comic strip. I can’t wait til I can say I knew you “when”. Hope things are well with you Joe!

  3. Congratulations Joe, that’s great news! I love that you were able to pursue a career in creativity and you’ve been able to do so much with it; it’s really inspiring. And I really love your art!

    1. Thanks Angela of “ ! It’s still not my full time career (yet) but hope springs eternal and I’m very grateful to have had some forward momentum in the past few years!

    1. Thanks Chelle of ! It is interesting how everything happens. The one thing that I think is very clear, however is that it’s people helping people literally. If you read it carefully you see how many folks helped me get to the point where I’m at! That’s how it is, which is wonderful.

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