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!