Visual Arts

“Today’s Feelings with Yesterday’s Headlines”

Joe Chierchio is a storyteller extraordinaire, telling vibrant, fun, narrative stories through his art. He has always known how to get a message across expeditiously. Chierchio was an art director in the top echelons of the New York advertising world for forty years. He was an original Mad Man, selling some of the most prominent brands to the general public.

Drawing compilations of many scenes from the movie "Casablanca", with Rick in the center wearing his fedora and raincoat.

Once he left the high-octane world of advertising, he turned his attention to fine arts, starting with stone carvings and sculpture but eventually settling on drawings
and paintings for which he is now known. Chierchio’s art evokes nostalgia: vintage cars and airplanes, women, old Hollywood films and superheroes. He paints subjects that he himself enjoys, and he is certainly not alone in appreciating these
themes. His work sells well in New York City and the Hamptons where he has a home. His work is also often featured on the front cover of Dan’s Paper, a weekly lifestyle publication in the Hamptons, Long Island, N.Y.

Some of Cherchio’s work depicts working-class scenes pulled from his days of growing-up in Brooklyn. They are no nonsense, reality-based scenes, perhaps a little moody but with just a hint of romanticism. Jeannie McCormack of Gallery&Studio says, “he depicts everyday people as heroes.”

Drawing of a woman sat riveting a prop aircraft dressed as Rosie the Riveter.

Women feature widely as well in his art. He draws women who are strong, very capable and sexy. A woman changing the tire of a Ferrari in ‘Testa Rossa’ and still looking immaculate or, in a nod to Rosie the Riveter, a woman working on a single
‘Liberty’ prop aircraft. It is a portrayal that should make any feminist proud.

He also loves cars and planes, particularly those of the 30’s. He calls them “moving works of art.” They evoke the good-old-days emotions and memories, or stories told by parents and grandparents. Despite their bygone-era depictions, Chierchio manages to infuse his vintage images with a freshness that makes them feel current. “There is nothing new under the sun,” he says, “but it’s the way you replay it.”

Drawing of Wonder Woman wielding a lasso with the Batmobile and Wayne Manor in the background.
Wonder Woman

Chierchio’s images evoke stories, capturing a fleeting moment in an intriguing before-and-after narrative that draws you into his scenes. He sells us a snapshot of a longer narrative. In his ‘Female Heroes’ series, Wonder Woman is already swinging her lasso to incapacitate the bad guy before Batman has a chance to park his car to jump out and flash his skills and muscle. You can easily hear Diana saying, “It’s ok Bruce, I’ve got this.” In her rather innocent way and taking the wind out of Batman’s
charging-white-knight self-image.

“The idea comes first,” stresses Joe Chierchio, who also taught advertising at the School of Visual Arts in New York for many years, and he emphasized the importance of developing concepts and ideas before executing them. “You can’t just attract attention; you have to tell a story.”

His work is created using the extensive array of colors provided by Prismacolor pencils and watercolors on paper. He is proud to call himself an illustrator, continuing in the vein of Norman Rockwell whom he admires. His style is a souped-up version of Norman Rockwell–a little more Pop and way cooler. There is
a very clean and streamlined feel to his work that makes it look easy to execute but hides the technical capabilities that underline his years of professional experience. He also sometimes uses multi-angled visuals, with different subjects on different
planes, giving the overall feel of dynamic movement in a still image. A consummate professional, he strives to keep improving and promoting his work. It all adds up
to the sense of drama and fun in his works.

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