By Dawn M Chiossi
Art is much more than paint on a canvas. It is creating what you see, translating it into beauty, in hopes of sharing it with others. At its best, it touches people, makes them think, to wonder and to dream.
For Kinnelon artist, John Salerno, it’s all about doing what he loves and sharing it with others.
Painting and drawing all of his life, going to art school in New York, studying art in college, art has always been a part of Salerno’s life and he discloses that he does it because he loves it. Setting up a paint studio in his house, he has the commitment and discipline of the artist. “I paint every day,” he shares.
Additionally, he mentions that he will paint, and then take a break or step away, and then get back to his art. For him inspiration is in the everyday, social interactions with others. He even created a portrait of his grandson for family.
When asked how long a picture takes him to complete, Salerno is non-committal. “It depends, sometimes it takes a month to a few days.”
Although he paints in watercolors, he enjoys painting in oils. Mostly for the control and technique it gives him, creating the desired effects that he strives for.
Experimenting with different settings, such as nature beach scenes, Salerno tells that he likes to draw people and figures. “I love the movement, the colors, the shapes,” he shares.
And it’s all in the details for Salerno. “Do you know that there’s no such paint as flesh color?” he asks, “To get that perfect shade you have to mix many colors within it.”
Far from being the introverted artist, Salerno is both gregarious and social. “I love seeing people, talking to them, engaging and being inspired by them.”
And it is easy to see his joy in the paintings themselves. He mentions that he wants his paintings to speak to everyone, for them to feel uplifted when they see it, or hang one in their home. For Salerno, it is important that they be timeless–that when looking at the painting, it could reflect any time.
“For me, I try to keep things simple and not over complicate the painting. What might look perfect from six feet away, might not up close.”
When asked what his favorite paintings are, Salerno mentions the woman with the sombrero, the little girl on the beach, and the girl with the yellow bird pulling at the bow in her hair. “I think they turned out well,” he says.
Ever humble, Salerno was excited for his art show at the Kinnelon Public Library. “I enjoy seeing what people think of my paintings, how they respond. It helps you as an artist,” he shares. “For me, if one of my paintings puts a smile on someone’s face, then it’s all worth it.”
During the recent exhibition, Salerno showed approximately 30 paintings.