Artists, Musicians, Filmmakers

Franklin Lakes NJDriving through the streets of Franklin Lakes, the architecture of many homes are works of art inspired by varied schools and genres. Seeing such a diversity of artistic display in the designs of homes, it is surprising that the community does not have an established venue dedicated to the arts in all their unique forms. For now, a new co-operative of artists is making use of alternative venues.

Smaller steps in promoting independent art leads to a greater sense of communal involvement, such was the case with a recent exhibit hosted by Tracy DiTolla, Rick Norman and Suzanne Norman. A grassroots sensibility formed the basis of this show that incorporated artists, entrepreneurs and creative field professionals, and by the steady stream of visitors it appears more than a small step was taken.

The mix of mediums, and the alternative setting, was a perfect combination of the urbane and the suburban which, in the spirit of creativity, can be defined as the suburbane. It was an atmosphere of part party and part think-tank, as guests and artists mingled sharing insights, perspectives, and inspiration at the creativity being shared.

Franklin Lakes NJOne of the greater contrasts between suburban and urban living seems to be a a lack of serious appreciation to the creative pursuits. The metropolis to the East offers an environment that fosters the spirit of art and creativity with a variety of venues; but too often throughout the many towns of New Jersey the art show is delegated to churches, schools, senior centers, or the seasonal arts & crafts show that do their best to fill this cultural gap. The promotion of artistic works does not appear respected as a serious endeavor.

It is easier to count the grains of sand on the beach than it would be to estimate the number of transactions concerning the buying and selling of art. Regardless of demographics, every home exhibits artwork of some nature on its walls, and yet too often the buying public resorts to mass produced art which has become so readily available through modern technologies. Creating a venue that celebrates art in an intimate, communal environment provides an opportunity for learning, sharing, and a public display of respect that teaches to another generation the value of art.

Franklin Lakes NJThe event in Franklin Lakes was not about selling art, it was about promoting art. It provided genres that could appeal to the broadest spectrum with music, film, art, jewelry, and photography. The diversity of artists, guests and mediums was a refreshing break from the travails of daily existence, and it brought to mind an insight offered by Albert Einstein, “All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.”

Franklin Lakes NJSpecial thanks were offered to the Walker family, Jack, Corine, Patrick and Theresa for helping to sponsor the event. Paul Anderson, and the Ditolla’s, William and Dolores also received singular recognition along with Aline Simonyan. It should be noted that Mark and Bicé Berry put themselves out tremendously, and literally, by opening up their doors to host the event.

Endless Vine in Franklin Lakes helped defray the cost of the wine for the event which allowed a greater percentage of the proceeds to go to Jessica Tito who suffers from MS.

The Artists

The band Stone Document provided listeners with examples of their groove orientated sounds. The sound soar to the sublime, skronk through the ridiculous, and send the listener on an aural trip. Members of the band have studied with Robert Fripp, and worked with King Crimson and Tony Visconti. The trio is made up of Dennis Tirch on guitars, Mike Roze on drums & percusssion, and Mark Christensen, chapman stick.

Singer/songwriter Rick Norman has perfomed at some of the most legendary clubs such as The Bitter End, The Stone Pony, and the Hard Rock Cafe in Boston. A member of the band My Buddy Paul, Rick was joined this past Saturday by Joey Trentacosta and Peter Danese.

Mark and Bicé Berry of Franklin Lakes, along with Adam Meyers, Nireen Dinardo, and Stephanie Angelil, collectively known as West of the Hudson Films ,will present two short films. “Wigged Out” is a musical comedy based ever so slightly on the story of Cinderella; it was the winner of the Hudson County Film Festival in 2006. “Chasing Innocence” is the story of a father in search of his run-a-way daughter. After her mother dies in a convenience store robbery, Fawn runs away from home after a physical altercation with her father, Chase. Chase, played by Mark, spends his entire life savings looking for her.

Bicé Berry, a long time Franklin Lake resident, has tried her hand at many different crafts. However, it was a couple of years ago that she found her niche. After countless hours of meticulous hand crafting her own jewelry line, she is making it available to the public for the first time. Swarovski Crystals, pearls, beads, and many other baubles of size shape and color all strewn together to form beautiful necklaces, earrings bracelets and lamp work

Tracy DiTolla, of Oakland, works in various mediums but has a focus on collages and assemblages as well as experimental objects not usually thought of as fine art. There are several recurring themes in all of her artwork such as mental illness, alcoholism and confusion about religious dogma. She often uses a humorous slant when dealing with serious issues. Tracy has studied studio art and art history at William Paterson University and art history at Montclair State University, she is currently working on her Masters Thesis which is on the performance art of Ray Johnson.

Rob Taylor like to describe himself as New American Artist, one seeking to return to fundamental inspirations. His paintings are mainly acrylics and oils, but he utilizes other use media and material to create texture and depth in his work.

Mike Barch has been passionate about 2 things: rock n’ roll and photography. Although today, he works in the 9 to 5 world helping run the family business, he still rock ‘n rolls at night as the bass player for the band My Buddy Paul, as well as carries his camera wherever he may travel to try and capture that special photo. Mike is a self taught photographer who has always been drawn to black & white photography. He has always had an affinity for landscape and still-life photography; whether it’s mountains, city scapes or old architecture. His influences are the black and white photography masters of the early 1900′s…Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, and Dorothea Lange.

Barbara Frey’s work involvesl prints that combine techniques, mediums, and layers of ink. The oil-based inks are rolled and/or painted on a Plax printing plate. These monoprints are printed on paper several times. One piece, “Map Quest”, is printed from a woodcut, with additional layers of acrylic paint added on. Another, “Positive Thinking” is a combination of a lithograph and monoprint. Out of the six works, four are about various stages of prostate cancer. A personal subject for all victims of the disease, Barbara hopes that anyone viewing the work can get his or her own interpretation from each piece

Steve Cavallo will be displaying 2 watercolors from his 2006/2007 immigration series. These paintings are from a 17 pieces exhibit about the loneliness of immigration, the feeling of being far from home, and being forced to give up all one has learned thus far, to adapt to a new culture. Steve has worked as an illustrator throughout the 1980s and 90s and has recently turned to the fine arts, showing in New York, New Jersey and having his debut international show in Seoul Korea this November.

Anthony Mezza has exhibited and sold his photorealistic paintings depicting still life and scenes from nature and the urban landscape in several galleries in the New York and Washington D.C. areas. He has also created custom works for private as well as commercial clients. After achieving success in recent years creating residential and commercial murals for the children’s market, Anthony has now started experimenting in oils with expressive figurative and abstract works.

Aengus Walker is a 14 year old talented young artist recently recognized at the Alice E. McDermott Art Show in Oakland for his work, “Death by Sea”. His works are prominently displayed at his parents’offices and home, and his participation was a great inspiration for other young artists.

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