currently living in Harlem, NY. My journey as an artist began at age ten at the Art Students’ League in New York City in a watercolor class led my Mrs. Ethel Katz. I used my portfolio of paintings I created there as my entrance application to Music and Art High School. Unfortunately, as I approached college-age, I was discouraged by “well intentioned” adults in my life from pursuing art as a vocation. I eventually lost interest in painting and chose other career options, however, there was always a gnawing question in the back of my mind “why aren’t you painting?” Along the way, several people pushed and prodded me to get back to painting, but I only went as far as dibbling and dabbling as a hobbyist.
Three things reignited my passion to paint after a thirty plus year hiatus. To re-immerse myself in painting, I took a course at Parson’s School of Design and I was encouraged by one of my instructors to “get serious” about my art. Second, during a meditation course called “Finding Your Purpose,” I had a vision of a Native American woman who told me that my purpose was to “bring beauty to the earth.” Third, I entered my first abstract painting of Copper Metal into a 2015 Montclair, NJ exhibit just for the experience. To my surprise – it was purchased! I took this as a clue from the Universe that I should keep going and I quickly got back on track.
…I started off doing some jazz clubs out here in LA, and they went great. I did some in New York before The Cutting Room, like 54 Below and Iridium jazz club. From there it just started growing in other parts of the country as well.
I cut a CD called “D Most Mostly Swinging,” with this great 18-piece band of wonderful Los Angeles jazz and studio musicians, studio musicians, and our great producer and trumpet player, William Ario. And so that’s out. It’s been hard to grow because the live performance thing is almost impossible during COVID.
I’ve been dying to get back into doing live performance, more films and television. I just did a short film, which is called When George Got Murdered, and it’s a really interesting film about the George Floyd incident. I don’t know when that’s coming out, and I did some TV prior to that, a pilot called Puck Heads, where I play the owner of a minor league hockey team, so we’ll see what happens with that. Hopefully, that gets picked up. And I’m supposed to do a couple of other films that got put on hold.
…Shortly after touring with Cyndi, I was asked to do a record in Frankfurt Craaft, a German band. Subsequently after that record came out, they wanted me to do the tour. And in a similar situation, it was in an opening act. You know Cyndi Lauper explodes, we were were playing arenas several nights a week, the biggest thing on MTV, blah blah blah, and I’m asked to go to Germany. I got paid very little to do it, but as a favor to a friend of a friend, and I went ahead and did it. Because my theory is, it’s like, if somebody wants me to play, I’m flattered. If somebody wants my drumming on their record, or on their gig, or on their live date or whatever, I’m flattered. Man, they like me. All right, so anyway.
The highlight of my Craaft association was the tour, opening for Queen. So from Craaft, I did The Monkees tour. I was actually doing it, again, as a favor to a friend. I filled in for a drummer that bailed out on him, and about a year later he gets the Musical Director gig with The Monkees. Based on, “Hey, Sandy, you bailed me out that night. I want you to do The Monkees tour, they’re reuniting.” So I did not only that Monkees tour, but almost every reunion tour subsequently.
…Adam: If 2020 has taught us anything, it is that the unfolding of life events can be utterly unpredictable. Even the best-laid plans for our personal well-being, for that of our families, and for our finances can abruptly, and dramatically, be altered almost overnight. In the most stable of times, the management of our personal estates, or those of our parents, grandparents, or other loved ones, can appear intimidating, mysterious, and overwhelming. In times of greater uncertainty, all of those feelings can be even more intense. This is especially true when — as is often the case — estate issues arise because of unexpected life transitions or illness. The good news is that understanding in advance the process of dealing with potentially valuable estate items, in particular antiques, can take a lot of the pressure off of managing an estate. It can also put the estate owner or their heirs in the best possible position to see the financial benefits that can come with the successful liquidation of physical items in an estate, such as furniture, jewelry, and art.
…After I finished up commissions I had on my list, I was basically just painting… One day I pulled up a random photo online, decided just to paint a random dog, and I noticed this dog is a shelter dog, and it was a light bulb that went off where I said, “You know what, why don’t you, during Covid, when I’m home, why don’t I reach out to some local shelters and paint some of the long-time dogs and see if I can post them on social media, get them noticed and hopefully find them homes….
…Edwin: I’m really excited about sharing my music with everyone, and I appreciate the opportunity to have you and everyone allow me to borrow your ears with an open heart to give my music a try. I feel the adversity in music is very needed and if I could bridge our human connection through my music I’d feel like I’ve fulfilled a dream of mine. I believe everything we do is about communication and human connectivity. The goal is to for me is to create Ann effective way to bridge that connection in a healthy way that offers us a reflection of just how similar we all are. This type of openness connects us all, all different ethnicities, all different races. I want the branches of my music to offer a message about that love and unity. After all that’s what I’m about, that’s the philosophy I try to live by so While I’m here that’s what I’d like to achieve while I’m alive. It’s what I want to leave behind when I finish the book of my life. As each page turns I want to look back at the end of my days and know that I made some kind of an impact, I want to know I reached you all, and that maybe I made it a little bit possible to make you all see how beautiful life is. Life is an amazing gift, and as an artist I personally believe in everything that calls us to awaken to ourselves and to each other. If you really think about it, if we live in gratitude of this amazing gift called life we can actually learn to respect, empower and carry each other even through these trying times….
ALEX: Tell us about Gravesend?
JOSEPH: It’s a great show. It’s about the 1980s, early ’90s, in Brooklyn, New York. So if you were there in that era, you’re going to love the show. Gravesend season 1 is airing on Amazon Prime right now. With actors William DeMeo, me, Paul Ben-Victor, Louis Lombardi, James Russo, and a great cast, that also includes Nick Turtorro and Peter Gaudio (a local Queens guy), it truly feels authentic. The show is unbelievably good, the cinematography, the story.
ALEX: Everybody now knows about it who didn’t know about it before. Our primary audience is Montauk to Manhattan with Brooklyn being very strong. I have already shared with the people on The Brooklyn Open, a Facebook page and group for artists. They’ll be thrilled that there’s something local for them to watch. I love to watch programs where I can say “Hey, I grew up there.”
…In the early days of quarantine, Sandy embarked on a quest to make virtual drumming lessons a reality. He loves his tried-and true-method of playing with his students using the two drum sets in his studio but found that adjusting the sound and synchronization over zoom was too great of a challenge. Instead, he provides a demonstration and discussion, then asks the student to play. Sandy tweaks the speaker and microphone settings so both he and the student are satisfied with the sound. …
…“The results from the video classes are in some ways better than in person classes. (Simultaneous demonstration and working time) pushes the students to try new things and to work faster,” says Jan. “I will continue to use this method of instruction in my classes when we can meet again in person. While nothing replaces actual in person classes – and I want to resume them as soon as possible – this has been a saving grace, not just for me but for of my students as well. Some of them were alone and feeling overwhelmed. It gave us all a sense of purpose and belonging. And I am so excited with the results!” …
Long Island Portfolio magazine publishers Alex M. Wolff and John Joseph Dowling, Jr. are thrilled to be able to support and showcase such great artists and their art in our first issue, Fall 2020. Enjoy the art and stories of Steven Calapai, Billy Mira, Maya Frank, Jeffrey Steele, EDward Steven Katz, Mike Gomes, Tony DeCaprio, Lenny Stucker, and our cover artist Robyn Bellospirito.
Long Island Portfolio magazine is on a mission to help artists of every kind promote themselves and their work from Montauk to Manhattan. We create great content to build and amplify artists social media presence. Nominate your favorite artist to be a Featured Artist and help improve their recognition and reach in our region.
In this issue we have painters, photographers, a jazz musician, country and rock singer song writer, and even stories around food, fashion, cars, cosplay and fantasy, with to poets!
“For me, I started cosplaying about 5 years ago. I started with pretty easy costumes. I’ve progressed to a little more elaborate ones, but nothing that costs a fortune. After I did my first cosplay, which I think was Elektra from Daredevil, it was just so much fun bringing a character you love to life. I was hooked after that. My favorite cosplays were The Bride from Kill Bill and Bellatrix Lestrange from Harry Potter. It’s cool when people want to take your picture because they love the character. For me, In some ways it’s like being a kid again and “playing dress up”, and getting to nerd out at the same time. It’s more fun than I thought it would be.”
Which characters show up often depends on what’s popular. I used to think cosplayers choose a character because they have similar looks and build to a character, but I quickly learned that was not always the case. I ran into and photographed “Jessica Jones” and thought how lucky the cosplayer was to look just like her. But the next day, she was someone else and pulled that off without a hitch. Ghostbusters, and the usual superheroes are always represented, and the last few years Game of Thrones and Guardians of the Galaxy have been super popular. Cosplayers often form into groups that will become the whole cast of a show, such as Northeast Watch, when the group does Game of Thrones.
…Barbara studied under the late Kitty Klich for one year and then for a year with Bonnita Budysz, a world-wide artist. Barbara’s work has an impressionist aire to it. She has had her paintings accepted into juried shows in NE Wisconsin. She has been part of several group exhibits with the Water’s Edge Artists and the Green Bay Arts Unlimited groups. Last year her work was in a co- exhibit with another artist; she had her first solo exhibit in August & September of 2020 at the Steele Street Trading Co. & … …through wooded areas. Not everyone lives where there is access to natural beauty, so I like to share with others through my artwork. I believe that when I help others, they will in turn help me directly or indirectly. So I give back in these ways. …
As a self-taught emerging artist, my work in oils is reflective of architecture, flora, landscape and street scenes that I’ve photographed in my travels, especially during a trip to Ireland, however the beauty of Long Island offers unsurpassed opportunities to create. The serenity of the East End, whether it’s on one of the undulating sea shores or in a bright lavender field, brings me to the canvas. Butterflies and birds take …
Robyn: Yes. My favorite shoot with you was in the woods because we did four different photo shoots in one. I felt free to be whatever it was I was feeling in the moment. I brought several costume changes that were easy where I could just throw something on over what I was wearing and it totally transformed it. Not only was I free to express myself through movement ’cause I do dance and art modeling and I’ll work that into it.
One of the greatest things I can receive as an artist is freedom to express myself. It’s always easy to work with you because you’re always open to my ideas and I could just emote. When I saw the photographs afterward, I looked at what you saw and you captured the angles, the moments when it felt very intense and expressive for me, and you captured these beautifully. Sometimes you would give minimal guidance, like what we got from the fairy shot that turned that into such magic.
I didn’t know what you were seeing and when I saw the finished work …
you did Photoshop to it, the green one where I’m reaching out… I could not have done that work on my own. I can be on my end and do my part, but I that collaboration is necessary in order for me to gain something much greater than myself that I couldn’t have done on my own.
Alex: If you look at the different photos that we’ve got, they’re very, very different they don’t even look like they’re from the same shoot or same session. It’s almost like you changed costume then the whole world changed around you. You used the term transformation before and it was just an amazing thing for me to capture. Then there are limitations when you’re in nature about what’s there, so there has to be in my eyes a capture process and for me, the capture starts with capturing who you are at peak moments of emotion and then trying to enhance that to tell the story. So the collaboration is ongoing and it continues from the time we decided we’re going to do a shoot.
Sometime around 2008, the realization hit me fully and I changed my working title at Concierge Photography from Photographer to Photographic Artist (and added Director of Photography the last couple of years when I started directing photography and lighting for local indy director, Maria Sawoch Filipone). And the change came very suddenly. Typically, I endeavored to capture an image in the camera, and it either met my objective or it didn’t. I built up a small library of really good photographs, and a really large library of, to quote Agent 86, “Missed it by that much!”
One image convinced me to change from what I categorized as a Capture mindset to a Create mindset. Although it started as 2 images I took while running race committee for Sagamore Yacht Club in Oyster Bay, I saw potential for something better and I sat down in my first serious Photoshop session. About 9 hours later, I had created an image called Happy Fleet. I won’t bore you with the details, but the image Illustration of the Year for Professional Photographers of Greater New York, and Town of Oyster Bay People’s Choice Environmental Photo of the Year awards. It’s one of my bestselling artworks.
Yeah, that’s what I’m really proud of. It’s not a tribute band. I do a lot of cover music and I do it my way. I work a lot with Eric Schwartz and the people that have come on board with me, and help support the vision and really believe in what we’re doing. It’s something I’m very proud of, I’m sure in the history of entertainment there have been similar concepts, but as of right now there’s nothing like it, it is like a variety show. We come out, interact with the audience. One of the things I’m really proud of is it’s not a tribute show, it’s a tribute but in pieces, you know.
Alex: Well you play so many different genres and artists in a single show. You mentioned Eric Schwartz. He leads the horn section and horns really bring a lot of depth to any music and in some cases even leads in parts of the show.
Billy: Yeah, so, you know the greatest thing is that I can sit down for a couple minutes to do stand up. It’s not straight stand up. It’s not straight Impressions and all this and maybe some John Travolta and some David Lee Roth or an Ozzie Osbourne impression, but I can incorporate all of that stuff to introduce songs, and also with it telling the story of my life and what really turns me on as a performer, and I think it really comes out in the show.