Eleven decorative artists from Long Island have been chosen to display their work and demonstrate their tricks at Salon NYC 2017, a free show running April 13-16 at Manhattan's High School of Art and Design (for details, go to salonnyc2017.com). Here's a sampling of some of the whimsical, practical, skilled work from Long Island artists participating in the show.
Theresa Nardone (bellaterradesigns.com) doesn’t think of her decorative art projects as work.
“That’s how much I love the job,” says the 39-year-old.
The Bellmore artist says she originally wanted to be an illustrator. While interning as an illustrator/graphic designer, she realized that meant working at a desk with a computer.
“I prefer a brush in my hand,” she says.
Now, she paints patterned floors, furniture and murals, among other things. She is known for her strié finishes (faux painting that creates a natural, fine-lined texture), as well as plasters layered to look like stone, marble or suede. One of her projects was a mural painted on a ceiling that displayed an ancient map with oceans filled with prehistoric fish and old ships.
“Mainly, I just try to give clients something that completes their vision,” she says.
Pictured: Nardone painted this antique map on the ceiling of a private residence in Oyster Bay Cove.
Cathy Chiavaro (cathychiavaro.weebly.com) may be painting a giant flower in a dining room one day and soccer balls on a children’s wall the next.
“If you want to make a living, you learn to adapt,” the Northport artist says.
After getting her degree in painting, it didn’t take long for her to realize selling her work privately would be challenging, and she turned to decorative art. She keeps learning, even after 35 years. “It never gets monotonous,” she said.
Chiavaro, 64, has depicted everything from fish playing musical instruments to a trompe l’oeil tent interior in a room. Lately, clients have been requesting scenes from places they are familiar with, she says.
“A woman in Northport wanted a view over the sound to Connecticut. Another wanted a mural of Old Bethpage Village where she used to volunteer,” she says. “It’s something they want to look at every day.”
Pictured: Chiavaro submitted this work on canvas for display at Salon NYC 2017.
Philip Jordan (philipjordan.com) says he has thought about retiring one day and moving to a tropical island, like the French Postimpressionist Gauguin, to paint in paradise. But, that’s later.
“Right now, I have a wife and kids to support,” says Jordan, 61.
He started his art life studying in Paris and says he once painted a mural at the U.S. ambassador’s residence. Back home in Greenlawn, he developed a career in decorative art and also teaches at the Huntington Fine Arts school. He isn’t fussy about his canvas.
Pictured: A mural at a Northport home done by Jordan and Chiavaro that depicts Asharoken and a view of Northport Bay.
“I’ve painted walls, floors, ceilings, tables, chairs, refrigerators, TV sets,” he says.
He also has spent a good deal of time as a scenery painter for theater departments and is on staff at the Usdan Summer Camp for the Arts. Probably his most observed mural is on the alley wall of Finnegan’s restaurant in Huntington depicting the inside of the crowded bar.
Pictured: A mural at a Northport home done by Jordan and Chiavaro.
Rita Broughton (ritabroughton.com), 56, has a bagful of tricks to help her give a home a face-lift.
“I go in using special faux finishing on walls, creating illusions and effects that make the environment beautiful,” she says.
The Bethpage artist has a degree in commercial art and worked as a graphic designer, always creating decorative art on the side. She was asked to create a mural for a prominent antiques dealer, and that led to other commissions and work with interior designers.
In one project, she turned a kitchen wall into a scene of an outdoor Italian restaurant with a view of a town in the background. Another wall was transformed with two cloister windows overlooking the sea.
Pictured: Broughton exhibited this acrylic painting at a 2015 designer show house in Mill Neck.
Jeanne S. Schnupp
Jeanne S. Schnupp (jeanniesdesigns.com) has had some highs in her profession. Take the time she worked 25 feet in the air, perching on a ladder while applying paint and gold leaf to molding around a chandelier in a domed ceiling.
“There’s a lot of neck pain involved,” says Schnupp, 62, who lives in Holtsville. “You take aspirin before you even start.”
A former art teacher, she did a mural in her home that led to requests to do other projects. Word spread, and she started her own business. Now, she does faux finishes, indoor and outdoor murals, floor patterns, furniture and more.
She has been going to the Salon gatherings since 2008 and is a co-host of this year’s event.
Pictured: Schnupp painted these flowers in a Setauket powder room.
Eva Karsai (evaartonline.com) says she is glad she received a traditional artistic education in her native Hungary because of the layers of architecture and history she was exposed to. But she says she is happy she came to America rather than stay in Europe. “I can find lots of work here,” the Glen Cove woman says. “But over there, forget it. You’ve got to have connections.”
Karsai, 59, has her own business and specializes in faux finishes and large, high-end murals. She can turn an ordinary window into a stained glass marvel or transform a blank wall into a European garden.
“There are homes where I spend a day and homes where I spend a year,” she says.
Pictured: Karsai painted this ceiling mural in a staircase of a designer show house in Glen Cove.
Tania Corse (artistinny.com) will be submitting a panel entry for display at this year’s Salon. It won’t be hard to spot.
“It’s the Statue of Liberty,” says Corse, 42, an unabashed fan of the city.
A native of England, she won a “New Designer of the Year” award there in 1998 after getting her art degree. This led to a job offer in Manhattan, where she worked for two years as a fashion and furnishing fabric designer.
Someone saw a mural in her home, which, of course, led to other jobs. The Valley Stream woman started her own business 15 years ago and says she is glad to be away from her old desk job.
“I can paint for 10 hours and it feels like 10 minutes,” she says.
Her favorite project has been her mural work at Camp Simcha in upstate Glen Spey, a summer camp for ill children where she drew scenes from Dr. Seuss books, circus animals and magic castles.
“I feel sad when I see the children in wheelchairs or carrying oxygen tanks,” she says. “But I feel good knowing I’m giving them something that takes them to another place.”
Pictured: Corse painted these large-scale poppies on canvas to co-ordinate with her bed linens.The flower on the duvet was painted on silk and sewn on.
Arlene Mcloughlin (arlenemurals.com) has not lacked for challenges since becoming a decorative artist 20 years ago. One of her projects was stenciling patterns on a copper dome in a ceiling so high her husband had to build special scaffolding for her. She recently finished a poker mural in the game room of a home.
“The players were Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Frank Sinatra,” she says.
Pictured: Mcloughlin painted a floral chinoiserie in the two-story foyer of this Brookville home.
After graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, Mcloughlin worked as a fashion designer. Later, she moved to Massapequa to start a family.
She attended her first Salon in Chicago, along with Schnupp. The international gathering was eye-opening, she says.
“We just didn’t realize there were so many people of such high caliber out there. It opened up a world to us,” she says.
Since that first Salon, the two, who are co-hosting this year’s event, have traveled to gatherings around the world, including two trips to Versailles in France, a mecca for decorative artists. She also has learned from her friends that talent isn’t enough for a business.
“You’ve got to have a knowledge of materials, a business sense and drive,” she says.
Pictured: Mcloughlin painted this mural on the wall of a wine cellar in a home in Nesconset.