When I hit a brick wall, it’s with a smile on my face and paint brushes in hand. Painting on brick brings a whole set of challenges to the table. The surface is uncompromising and changing at every turn. I deal with it by remembering the mission: to end up with result I would have on a smooth surface.
Some recent projects have been interior ones. Truthfully, each of these has been fun and an opportunity to paint something a little out of the box. A huge shout out to Bruno DiFabio , along with Steve Cioffi and Germano Minin, at whose restuarants these brick beauties reside.
The most difficult part of painting these walls, ironically, is not the painting. It’s the step following, distressing armed with a sander and a squirt bottle of dirty glaze to make the work appear as if it’s been there for decades.
You will find the Bertolli girl at Bronx House in Stamford.
The lady on a boar just makes me want to grin. She presides on the focal brick wall at Ridgefield’s Village Tavern. I can still hear Sandra DiFabio as I got ready to hit the just completed painting with a sander. “Not the face, Sharon. She is so beautiful”.
And so her face remains unblemished. It’s a little dicey using the sander. Even going as gently as possible, there is always the chance that an edge will crumble and a huge chunk results. And then the infamy of spritzing rivulets of dark colored glazed to run down and dirty the image.
The three panel mural filling one wall of Romolo Gastro Pizza combines translucent glazes that picture iconic views of Rome with a full-bodied color mural of an Italian young woman, sitting on a vespa with-what else- her pizza.
And those are the easy ones. Everything changes when you move outside. It’s heat, the sun, the bugs, the climbing up a scaffold. I think I always tell you how much I love what I do. You might here me reciting my mantra to remind myself upon occasion when less than idyllic situations arise.
The black and white logo of Bronx House
was an easy one. No ladder, just me and the traffic whizzing by while working on the sidewalk. At the intersection of Camp and Ryan in Springdale, count on amazing pies all the time.
Once I got the idea for the white painted brick wall on the side of Stamford’s Hope Street home of Amore Cucina and Bar, I just couldn’t shake it. Come on, with a name like Amore and home of of the best white clam pizza as far as I am concerned, the song kept playing in my head. As the words went up, there was that beautiful thing when the neighborhood gets involved. The people on the sidewalk, the bread man making his early morning delivery, serenaded me as I painted. Perfection.
This last project at the Milford Arts Council brings me full circle. While not a restaurant, it fills out the nature of this work. It brings me back to my roots as a sign painter and enjoying the beauty of hand painting letters as perfectly as is humanly possible. Brick is a brutal competitor and has no forgiveness when you are working on it. The quick absorption means no do-overs. Tape will not stick to allow getting a sharp corner. The uneven surface dares you to lose your concentration. All in a days work , or two as this project ran. I included a picture taken from the side so you can see the unevenness.
I have to admit the weather was warmer than I care for and I don’t like scaffolds. Period.
But in the end, I was delighted to add my talents to the historic train station built during the Confederate war era that is now home to the Milford Arts Council, a unique venue for, well read the sign. They’ve got everything artsy covered.
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. I’m a lucky person to call this work.