I am honored for my work to be included in a show of "Downtown Legends" featuring prominent local artists' interpretations of historical landmarks in Downtown Brooklyn. The show is organized by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. The exhibition will take place at the Brooklyn Historical Society from December 9th through the 31st.
The Brooklyn landmark that I chose to paint is the old Dime Savings Bank of Brooklyn, a truly spectacular example of neo-classical architecture built in 1908 by the famous architectural firm Mowbray and Uffinger. Designed to awe its customers, the interior is a vast cavernous space with an imposing rotunda of marble columned, crowned with mercury dimes. The idea behind the Dime Savings Bank was that anyone could open an account with just a dime, and the dime motif is everywhere. I can't imagine a more effective way to be inspired to save than looking up at this majestic sight. Encircled by these marble columns is a giant clock, truly the centerpiece of the room. Normally I don't paint interior views, but this one was too good to pass up.
Myself and the other artist who will work with this subject were given special permission to enter the bank and take photographs. I invited photographer Catherine Talese to join me, as she excels in this type of photography and she was kind enough to share her beautiful photographs with me to use as reference (these here are mine, not at all as good!) We were able to see the vault in the basement- it was the stuff of bank robbery dreams. Naturally we looked in some of the safety deposit boxes to see if anyone forgot their stash; alas- we came away empty-handed.
The painting I'm working on is on the larger side, 45 x 65" approximately. My approach was to get the drawing close to accurate, and then start stripping away until I get at its essence. I'm hoping to hit upon the spiritual feeling you get walking into such a grand space. The bank definitely seems like a "church of money" so to speak. The idea of saving as a moral goal is echoed even further by the quotes about saving and frugality which are literally etched in stone on benches around the rotunda. One of my favorite sayings: "the mind that is anxious about the future is miserable." I couldn't agree more.
Here are a few shots of the painting in progress. It's likely to change a lot before it's completed but these will give an idea of my process and the general feel. I'll post the completed work soon. Enjoy!