Duxbury artist John Cornacchio first fell in love with art in the Art Room of the local Boyís Club in Brooklyn, New York, a room full of art books the start of a long and successful career.
Now the 80-year old South Shore resident will share his love of illustration and art with the Scituate Public Library in the Scituate Arts Associationís September Meet The Artist.
Here he talks influences, artistic evolution, and the passion that has driven him for decades.
Boston.com: So youíll be doing pen and ink drawings for this class. Is that your medium of choice?
John Cornacchio: Its just a side thing that I do. My main venue is pastel and oil. I like working with pastel very much. Itís pliable, its forgiving, and itís a lot easier to make changes in it. And I like to do portraits and portraits in pastel are much more pliable. I had some good background training in the pastel also.
BC: How did it all begin?
JC: Since I was 9 years old I went to the boys club where I lived, and the first place I went to was the art room in the library. So I got interested in art that way. I went to Pratt School of Art, and that helped me develop quite a bit because I had several teachers in various types of art and illustration and figure and life drawing.
I took to it, and like drawing also Ö I felt once you knew how to draw the human body well, you could draw anything.
BC: Have you always been interested in portraiture?
JC: Yes. I find peopleís faces fascinating. When you stop and think of it, we have the same basic structure, but every one of us is different. I enjoy faces and attitudes and expressions, and the character that comes out in the face.
I like to do landscapes as well. I love doing landscapes. I do some still life but Iím not particularly as pleased to do that as landscapes and figures Ė faces. I think still life can get boring.
BC: Where do you usually paint?
JC: I paint at home in my studio, but I do plein air painting also. If I like particular scenes that I cant take the time to paint it plein air, Iíll take several photographs and take those, but I always instill my imagination to them. Its not limited to the photo, itís your imagination also, to make a design youíre happy with.
BC: As an artist, what has been your greatest accomplishment?
JC: It is having people admire [my work] and consider me a good artist.
BC: What has been the greatest influence to your art?
JC: Iíve had several instructors who have done that, and I read a lot and have studied many of our well known past artists and present artists. I go to the museums, when I do I always study the art paintings and study their technique and their brushwork. Learn by observation, I would call it.
BC: How would you describe your own style?
JC: [Impressionist] I think. Iím not a realist in trying to make a photograph reproduction. I donít like to work completely even to scene. I donít like to work too tight. I like to work loose.
BC: As for you upcoming class, what will your presentation be on?
JC: Iím going to use ink and do drawings in pen and ink. Itís a medium I like. Its free, I can sit down with a pen and draw anything that comes to mind.
Itís really drawing, and thatís what I like the most about art. Even when I pant, itís the drawing that I like, whether itís with a brush or pen or whatever tool
BC: Are you nervous, excited, anxious? Have you done this before?
JC: Iíve done a lot [of teaching]. One of the things Iíve enjoyed very much is going to my daughterís classes when they were young and giving them an art class or art instruction. Iíve done that for all three of my grandchildren too Ö Children have an eagerness and an open mind, and theyíre just awed by the drawing and they try hard to emulate it.
Iíve taught adults too, but for some reason I like working with children, but I have given adult classes also.
BC: A lot of the people in these classes are aspiring artists themselves. What advice do you have for them?
JC: Be creative and donít be afraid to be a thinker and use your own mind. To do the work that comes to mind and be free about it. Donít be intimidated or let other peopleís thoughts control you.