Monday, March 29, 2010

"Dumbo" by Richard Valente
pen, ink & acrylic on felt

I have a general rule for myself to keep this blog about my professional work and not get into the dramas of personal life or opinions and such. Cause, frankly, who cares? I just want a place to showcase some of the work I do and talk a little about it. However, some things are too monumental to ignore and to just continue posting freelance work and random sketches as if nothing has happened would seem wrong. So here goes:

Today would have been my father's 66th birthday. He passed away a little over a month ago and I can't even begin to tell you how much I miss him. In addition to being a really great guy who instilled in me his love of New York Yankees baseball and Superman cartoons, my dad was definitely a "Jack-of-All-Trades". He was a New York City Firefighter for 24 years and a NYC Transit Cop before that. He was an electrician, a carpenter, and a nutritionist. And he was also an artist.

The above image is a painting he made for me, 30 years ago, when I was born. My mom had kept it in her home all these years but when he passed away she gave it to me to keep (I'm hoping to come across more of his work over the next few months. If/when I do, I will definitely be posting more of it on here).

I still have very vivid memories of when I saw his sketchbook for the first time and how much it made me want to draw too. I also remember when my sister and I would spend weekend afternoons drawing with him and hoping, someday, I would be as good as he was. He never really gave himself enough credit when it came to his artistic abilities but I always thought he was amazing. In fact, I would even say he is my biggest influence because seeing his work made me want to pick up a pencil in the first place. I hope he knew that.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Richard Valente
March 29, 1944-February 24th, 2010


Jon Roscetti said...

I think you should break your rule more often. I used to share it. I thought the pictures would be enough. Slowly I added a line or two about process, but lately I've come to believe this has been a mistake. Art is very much about touching people's lives, It can have profound effects on people in ways that would surprise you. So much of the artist goes into every piece they make, it's sometime difficult to separate the artist from the person. Even when you're not working, you're still an artist. Every minute of everyday. You might think that you're professional side is drawing cool pictures of Batman, or a humorous take on Colbert, I know I used to, but it's so much more. It's about connecting with people. I think you should break you're rule. You might be surprised by "who cares". Thanks for sharing this.

Erin Gallagher Illustration said...

Beautiful post, honey. Your dad was one-of-a-kind, and I'm very glad he became my Father-in-Law. I'm so thankful he inspired you to take up drawing– because otherwise we may never have met! Everyone who knew him misses him. Happy Birthday to Richie.

And I'll second Jon– thanks for sharing.

Swands said...

Tom, My heart goes out to you. I think it would be great to post more of his art-a way of tribute, or for you own grieving process.