Brooke Chilvers, Sporting Art Columnist for Gray’s magazine, reached out to several of her favorite artists for news about their activities over the last year.
Catching Up with Adriano Manocchia
Perhaps you recall my March 2018 column on artist Adriano Manocchia, The less traveled road of the self-educated artist. He was born (1951) and raised in New York City, but has lived for ages on 38 acres in the rural farming community of Cambridge in Upstate New York.
Since we are both native New Yorkers who opted for sparsely populated counties far from City Lights, I contacted Adriano to learn how he – and his art – are faring during these constrained times. Adriano responded:
“The self-imposed quarantine the past 12 months due to the pandemic has been an enlightening experience for me and my family, as I’m sure it has been for so many. It has without a doubt made me look at my life, my art, my family more clearly.
“A number of planned art shows were postponed, and trips for commissions put off till things ‘go back to normal,’ but I continued working. I felt I needed to keep doing what I always did.”
Adriano, who has to have an emotional connection to an image for it to be meaningful to him, added: “But slowly I found myself painting totally different subjects, pushing composition, and color, as in my painting actually titled Colors. Ideas that had been in the back of my mind for years, I painted them for a totally different reason.”
In fact, Colors dates back to a trip Adriano and his wife, Teresa, took to visit the boat building school near Gloucester. “Leaving the building we walked down to the water where I saw a group of boats tied up together. The colors blew me away. The dark background with the vibrant yellows, blues and reds caught my attention.” Several years have passed since then, but Adriano’s new painting recently made the cover of New England magazine 518 Profile.
“I worked more on marine scenes, more landscapes,” he said, “and found pure joy in doing them.” After an absence of some 10 years, he also returned to making etchings “a process I always loved doing,” especially if the subject is single salmon flies, hand colored, or groupings of flies.
A chat with his friend and fellow angler Gary Tanner, a former director of the American Museum of Flyfishing in Vermont, led Gary to send Adriano “a box of exquisite flies, which provided the motivation I needed to get back into etching. Covid isolation was perfect timing.”
“Seeing the turmoil around the world made me take stock of my life and especially what I wanted to do when it came to my work,” he said. “And to my surprise, my collectors were excited to see the new pieces.” Rise Through the Mist recalls his fishing buddy, John Prokorym, on the Battenkill River. “We’d met that morning at a favorite pool, and as we walked out, he stopped to look at a rise on the far bank. To me that moment had to be captured, and I finally decided it was time to paint it.”
Adriano, who says his motif behind some paintings “is so that I can relive that moment on the river,” adding that he feels genuinely fortunate to live where he does. “I was able to get out on the river and fly-fish almost daily up to late November, till the outside temperature got to the point where old age does make one wiser. It has kept me sane.”
You can also get a good feeling of who Adriano is, both as a person and as a painter, by clicking here to watch the trailer for In Search of Magical Water.” My original column can also be read by clicking here.
Adriano’s letter concluded: “I continue to paint and count the last few days of winter till warmer weather returns. I wonder how I will see things when we do go back to normal.”
Brooke Chilvers says she looks forward to looking forward to something. Anything.