Tuesday, July 17, 2012

These portraits are Sterling

Works featuring famous visitors to opera house evoke simpler time

By Steve DiRienzo
Vice President
Valley Arts Council

DERBY - This is a continuation in our series of interviews with our group of very talented artists who contributed to the Sterling Opera House Portrait Project.
Jerry Mulcahy and Hope
Shelton artist Jerry Mulcahy, who chose Bob Hope as his subject and created him in the style of Shepard Fairey’s “Obama Hope Poster”, said he was “struck by boyhood memories of “seeing Hope on television and in vaudeville style comedy skits.”

He added that as he got older he developed a sense of “pride in seeing Hope perform for the Troops on multiple USO Tours!", which was something he felt was a “selfless act on the part of a big celebrity”.

His brightly colored acrylic rendering captures Hope's famous likeness.
Deneen Datcher and "Uncle Miltie"
Local painter Deneen Datcher created a striking black and white portrait of Milton Berle.

Her connection to Berle also came from her childhood days spent at her grandmother’s house where everyone gathered around the TV to watch “this really funny guy.”

“Uncle Miltie” became somewhat of a fixture and to this day evokes fond memories of her grandmother, Datcher said. “I captured his likeness in-between … not quite young and not quite old,” she said. "It’s the way I remember him.”

Deneen also says she was “excited and enthusiastic” to take part in the project. “I love the fact that this will hopefully help others learn more about this part of history.”

Karen Loprete and Gracie
Karen Loprete of Shelton created a beautiful fiber art rendering of Gracie Allen. She said she has always admired Allen for being a “powerful woman” for her time and one who really “stood up to her man.”

She also pointed out that Gracie Allen seemed to “always be smiling” and that even after the breakup of the “Burns & Allen” act, she still managed to “attract great recognition on her own.”

Editor's note: See previous posts about the Sterling Opera House Portrait Project here and here
Check back for more features on the remaining portraits.

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