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‘I can’t help but be inspired here’

In his late teens, artist Joseph LaMorte was asked by a friend what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.

His answer: to become an artist. Mr LaMorte said it was an ‘aha moment' and he started to question why he wasn't doing precisely that. The very next day, he travelled to New York City to pursue his dream.

Currently the artist in residence at Masterworks Museum of Art, he will be unveiling his 30 piece collection of work, called ‘Impressions of Bermuda', next Friday (September, 13) at 5.30pm until 7pm. The exhibit will be on display until September 23.

Mr LaMorte is looking forward to sharing his art with residents and admitted that painting on the Island for the past two months has been “immensely enjoyable”.

“The colours are so different here from what I am used to back home in Connecticut,” he said.

“I do a lot of paintings of the seascapes and I had to learn a whole new form of colours because everything is so vibrant and lush and beautiful, so I can't help but be inspired here.”

This is the artist's fourth visit to the Island, after falling in love with the people and architectural features like the limestone walls on his first visit years ago.

He plans to host another exhibition with some of his Bermuda-inspired oil paintings when he gets back to Greenwich, Connecticut.

Mr LaMorte was just six years old when he would sit on the curb and draw the houses and scenery outside.

He always loved art, but isn't quite sure why, considering no one else in his family was interested in art at that time.

One of his earlier works, a religious painting of the Blessed Virgin, was hung in the halls of his Catholic School as a youngster.

“No one could believe a first grader had done it because it was so advanced,” he said.

At 18-years-old he ventured to New York City to embark on a career as an artist.

His first day in the city, he walked all over trying to get a job and couldn't, but after seeking help from an employment agency, specialising in helping artists find work, his luck began to change.

He secured work at magazines like The American Home (now defunct) and House & Garden, doing layout in the art department and worked his way up to becoming the art director.

He said: “In my life luck has played a very big part. I seem to have been in the right place at the right time and met the right people who encouraged me or led me into something different.”

Mr LaMorte later moved on to work for luxury design label Loren Taylor, where he created designs for women's dresses, men's clothing and home furnishings.

After venturing into advertising, his award winning advertising work made its way into many of New York's major newspapers and magazines.

He is now retired and has spent the past eight to ten years teaching watercolour painting in Darien, Connecticut.

He said: “I love teaching and communicating with the artists and people who generally want to learn.

“I have a very casual way of teaching and I think it's very important to encourage people and not be critical, but be supportive because they will progress and get better as they go along.”

Mr LaMorte will be exhibiting in the Rick Faries Gallery from September 13 to 23.

He will also be hosting a workshop and artists discussion events on September 20th and 21st, from 10.30am — 1.30pm.

The cost of the workshops are $25, to reserve a space contact the museum on 299-4000.

www.josephlamorte.com

Joe LaMorte (Photo by Mark Tatem)

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Published September 04, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 03, 2013 at 6:24 pm)

‘I can’t help but be inspired here’

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