Joe Ventimiglia is a papermaker and an oil painter. As a child growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he often helped his grandmother and his father in the garden. Working with the flowers, vegetables and trees provided him time to think of the beauty of the natural world. He felt that he was a part of a larger place around him as he observed the repetitiveness of the landscape in the city and on Long Island, New York, where he and his family summered at Rocky Point, a small beach community.
There was a variety of trees in the city, and the oak trees in Rocky Point were tall and swayed in the breeze coming off Long Island Sound. Over time he could not help but compare the landscapes of Long Island to those of Brooklyn.
The tree lined streets in Brooklyn helped him to feel grounded in his neighborhood of family and close friends. The book A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was confusing to him because he saw trees everywhere. Flowers grew in abundance in yards and gardens. Empty lots were full of wildflowers especially Queen Anne’s lace and goldenrod which bloomed prolifically all over the city in middle to late summer. He always loved color even though he is color blind to most colors. Unable to I understand how his brain interprets color, he believes that he compares various hues of color to obtain the information.
Because paper comes from plant and tree materials, he was drawn to this art form because of its connection to the landscape; Joe has a yearning to preserve and then reclaim these natural elements.
Paper is ever present in the lives of us all. As children, and later as adults, we use the senses to experience paper; we look at it, smell it, listen to it move as pages are turned or as they fly in the wind. Paper is used for writing, drawing and painting. Because the senses are integrally involved in the art of papermaking, this art form is particularly appealing to Joe.
Joe is a second career artist; he is a retired special educator and administrator. He lives in Setauket, Long Island, New York. He is married with four children and seven grandchildren. He has taught classes in papermaking with inclusions at Gallery North in Setauket, New York. Besides the Morgan Conservatory his work has been shown at Gallery North and at the Art League of Long Island in Huntington, NY.