by Anne Nassar
From now until the end of December, Little Falls Public Library will host an exhibit by local artist Marc Verri. He recently answered some questions about his artistic endeavors.
Q. Who taught you how to paint/draw?
A. I was pretty much self- taught in drawing. I always enjoyed it. I remember seeing some artwork on the walls in kindergarten and I tried to duplicate it- that was my first real memory of creating art. Soon after that, I got the book, How to Draw 50 Dinosaurs, by Lee J. Ames. This book changed everything. That’s all I did was draw. I loved it. One of my favorite things is that I actually got to personally thank him for changing my life. I sent him a letter that he received and responded to in the months before he died.
Q. What inspires you?
A. I am inspired by many different things. As far as this show goes, I am inspired by home. Home means the place we live and the people in my life.
Q. Who are your influences?
A. I have so many influences. I am most often influenced by local artists around the country. I feel that the average person creating art is much more accessible than some of the greats. I like to look at the technique and style and new ways of seeing things. Frank Wilcox and Mario Pumilio also influenced me. As far as the greats go, I love Vincent Van Gogh, the Impressionists and at the other end of the spectrum, the Hyperrealists.
Q. Which of your artworks is your favorite, and why?
A. I have a few favorites: the Little Falls War Memorial, the Gold Star Mothers Monument outside the Utica Post Office, and the Reverend Upthegrove Memorial in Martin Luther King Park in Utica. The permanence of these works is also very cool. To think that they will be here long after I am is a very unique feeling.
Another personal favorite is my painting of Benton Hall Academy. It is probably the most time I put into any painting.
I also do realistic pencil drawings; right now they are my favorite way to work. I have done Dave Grohl, Tom Petty, John Wayne, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and many other pop and cultural icons.
Another very special work of art is the book, Finley Gets Active. This is a book that I got to illustrate with my son, Matthew, who was 11 at the time. The book features many familiar settings of Little Falls.
Q. Do you return to certain themes again and again?
A. I seem to return to themes of home whether that is geographical, familial or culturally. Again, with the pencil drawings, I go to themes of pop culture from the 80s and 90s -that feeling of home.
Q. Have you ever parted with artwork, and then wished you could get it back?
There are a couple that I wish I could get back. The main one is a drawing of Dave Grohl. I am glad it’s being appreciated in its new home though!
Q. What is the best response you’ve ever gotten to your art?
A. I am lucky with responses to my artwork. I am an art teacher so I often get to hear that I am the greatest artist in the world! I also do a lot of work on granite so I get to immortalize people quite a bit and that will bring tears of joy and sadness to family members. That is always very special. I also get to do a lot of commissioned portraits of families and pets. That also often comes with tears. However, the simplest and most constant compliment is seeing my art hang in someone’s home or seeing it around the community.