Summer on Long Island is a magical time for artist Doug Zider. The water, the beaches, the skiff that takes him to secluded spots—it’s been a thrill for him to be part of this world all his life, as is evident in the paintings he’ll be showing at the Dan’s Papers Cover Artist Show & Cocktail Party. As he looks forward to the big night, Zider shares his thoughts on local passions, classic inspirations and why winter need be in no rush to get here.
Talk a little about how Long Island inspires your work. Talk a little? There is so much this island has. We are all lucky as hell to live here. I was born on the South Shore, never left her. I live just off the Great South Bay, where one can stick one’s nose out the door and breath that salt air. I’ve got a beautiful, classic-lined skiff that draws little water, so I can get to those places in the marshes the big boys can’t get to. Summer on the water here is a tough one to match, anywhere!
What is the best thing about being part of the Long Island artists community? We are all students of the arts. We all feed off of one another’s ideas, methods and expertise. It’s a never-ending learning process.
Are there any subjects or mediums you would still like to explore as an artist? I just love the outdoors and all she has to offer in all kinds of conditions. Painting studies onsite, making one’s eye see that relationship of light, values and structure. There is no better balance than experience and drawing on those memories with imagination to do something you love.
How do you decide upon a subject to paint? If there was only enough time in a day. My list is long, and its priorities change all the time—that’s why I work on several pieces at the same time. One tries to keep constant with the original game plan, but things pop up. Some things just grab your thoughts and you go with it.
You’ve also done a series of paintings based on such classic novels as Moby Dick. I loved those ol’ adventure flicks as a kid, saw them over and over, mostly in glorious black-and-white. I always was fascinated by book illustrations by N.C. Wyeth and others who took their imaginations and skills and put them down on paper. Pretty awesome but tough work, very admirable. I hope to do as many of those childhood stories as time permits—it’s a great escape from the everyday.
What is special to you, as an artist, about having your work on a Dan’s Papers cover? The first time, oh man, getting published in something other than the local Xerox machine, that was it—a lot of fun. The second time, having Dan Pollera the week before and Peter Max the following issue—how cool was that! Every other time, it’s an honor as always—there’s a tremendous amount of history on that front page. The thrill is always there.
What do you like to do when you’re not working on your art? I’m always working on my art. If not, I end up fixing something with the house! I enjoy the summer and all she has to offer, from the beach to baseball. The smell of fall in the air, football, et al. You can throw the dead cold of winter out the door till spring comes, when you get all jacked up for the summer again! Like all of us, time is the issue—we are blessed with so little. You gotta make it count.