Category Archives: Art Direction

Fine Art Painting

After art school I stopped painting and focused on filmmaking for seven years or so, and ended up going to graduate school for film. I graduated from The American Film Institute with a degree in directing and, needing money, I quickly landed in the art department, where, among other things, I did a lot of scenic painting for rock videos, TV, commercials and film. When that work got slow I housepainted.

After computer and electronics-based film and art making the tactile quality of plaster and paint is like comfort food.

Big empty wall
Big Wall, Tiny Painting

After many years having my creativity “mediated” by machines that demand updates, bug fixes, and a maddening and endless search for technical know-how, I have started painting again, partly out of a desire for a more immediate and direct creative experience and partly because someone I owe a lot of money to had a big empty wall in his waiting room and a tiny little painting to put on it. 

The purpose of this post is to advertise this service to prospective clients. 

My first client agreed to consider a trade with the stipulation that he didn’t have to take my proposed large-scale painting if he didn’t like it. That seemed reasonable. Looking at his taste and with the direction of “abstract with texture, and pow colors,” I started with some photoshop mock-ups (below):

Through this process I established:

  1. That he didn’t like circles, or too much red.
  2.  That he wanted something bright.
  3.  That he kept coming back to a section of my second proposal (2 of 4) which, despairing of finding the right photoshop brush to do good paint splatter, I had pasted a Jackson Pollock painting into the mockup and threw some filters on it to make it match the floor.

So I decided on Jackson Pollock. It’s what I wanted to do anyway and the final result can be seen at the top of this page or the end of the slide show. The still image doesn’t do it justice. 

Having limited my filmmaking to art projects and regular clients, I have been looking for a new way to earn money. I have already begun doing house painting and carpentry, why not fine art–made to order? 

Rongovian Embassy Poster for February 2015

footer logo designed by Q Cassetti

I’ve been fascinated by the timeline of history on the wall of the Rongovian Embassy since the first time I went there in the early eighties and that became the concept.

Q Cassetti designed the footer for the poster, which gave a strong foundation, and  set the bar very high for whatever I had to come up with. The Rongo is the most famous landmark in Trumansburg (See Wikipedia) and the public house of my own community. It is a legendary destination dating back to my infancy. So there was no pressure whatsoever. _R2_3472Babel

I drew the Rongo building in the style of the tower of Babel–from whence, according to the Timeline of History, many of the bloodlines of humanity are traced.


I felt the need to bring back a little of the clutter and patina of the old Rongo. The place needed (I just have to say it) a high colonic. And it got one. Which is good.  But I am very sentimental about nicotine stains, yellowed paper and other visible signs of human habitation.

I cast around for a few days for concept to hang a poster idea on. Of course this required putting some time into “getting the vibe” of the newly-renovated bar. I’m pleased to report that the Rongo is in very good hands. It’s a very very nice place to hang around in. The beer, mixed drinks and food are excellent and affordable.

Art Direction

I use a broader definition of art direction than the guilds in Hollywood.

I could call it Production Design, but honestly, we’ll call it that when it’s appropriate. Art direction is what they called it back when movies were “pictures” and the credits only lasted three minutes.

I use the term to describe everything you see in the frame of the finished film that isn’t a human being. For example, if I decide we need to shoot your film in the conference room because I like the potted plants, that’s art direction.



art department

Before moving to Trumansburg, I worked as a set dresser and propmaker in Los Angeles. These photos are (a tiny sample) of sets I dressed and destruction that I wrought for the TV show “The Middleman” as well as some stuff from “Dirty Habit,” and “Spacerex.”

Strictly speaking, I did not art direct the middle man. Rather I was part of a team of people among whom was an art director who was not me. I was the onset dresser, and worked the set during the actual production.