Bill Pesce — Sunday Paintings

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Cooperative Gallery 213 is exhibiting the works of

Bill Pesce — Sunday Paintings

On Thursday April 5, 2018, Cooperative Gallery 213 will open an exhibit by the gallery’s newest member, Bill Pesce in “Sunday Paintings.” Pesce, a commercial artist for 41 years, maintained his interest in art by painting on Sundays, samples of which will be on display. The exhibit will run through April 28, will also include illustrations from his advertising agency career. 

Woods of Windsor

“The art on exhibit represents the work I have created through the years while running an advertising agency in Manhattan and then on Long Island.  I loved creating art and felt I could make a living at it. However, I always envied some of my artist friends who worked full time developing and growing their skills, creating great art with small regard for making a living.  It has always been my desire that someday when I retired, I would finally create some serious paintings that would be my legacy. The journey to get to that point was long and odious. I guess I was a little naive to follow that course.

After being discharged from the army, I worked for an advertising agency on Madison Avenue, and joined with two artists I met there, and in 1965 opened our own agency on Broadway and 42nd Street.  At that time not a nice place to be.  The rent was only $150 a month; we bought a used desk for $5 and a chair for 50 cents. The plan was, since I was just married and without youngsters and they both had a slew of kids, I would sit in the lonely office and make calls. When we had enough money coming in, they would quit their jobs and join me in our not too luxurious office.

Bill Pesce Self-Portrait

Scholastic Publications became one of our first clients and remained so for the next 18 years. We illustrated student books and created all kinds of promotional materials for them.  In two years we moved to new offices on the 40th floor on 57th St. and Park Avenue and remained there for 22 years.  Soaring rents finally drove us to Long Island, where we continued to grow. By the time I retired, we had a large base of clients that included publishers, major banks, hospitals, universities, supermarkets and dozens more from various industries.  It was indeed a long journey, a lot of fun, and a lot of stress. Along the way I smoked three packs of cigarettes a day and drank martinis with clients at elaborate lunches to get and keep their accounts.

From a $5 desk to a staff of 40 graphic designers, copy writers, account executives, we indeed had come a long way. After serving as president/ CEO, for Austin & Williams, Inc., on Long Island, which is still in operation and growing, it was time to retire. Today I don’t smoke and drink only an occasion wine with friends and I’m on a healthy vegan diet.

My wife Johanne and I decided to move to Windsor where we had a vacation home for many years.

Portrait of Johanne Reading

I thought it would be a good idea to open a small art gallery so I could surround myself with other artists for inspiration. Well it didn’t exactly turn out that way; the small gallery grew into the Windsor Whip Works Art Center, a nonprofit organization and a full time job with little opportunity to paint. I must proudly say, however, that the Art Center had a remarkable board of directors who helped us earn a reputation as a cultural hub, bringing an enriched quality of life to the surrounding communities.

After eleven wonderful years with my wife as co-founder of the Windsor Whip Works Art Center, I retired once more and resurfaced as a co-op member. I’m no longer a Sunday painter; now I can paint everyday of the week.

The show will be on exhibit from April 6 to April 28.

Refreshments and warm greetings will be served.

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