Doors of perception

June 27th, 2015 1:39 am

First Posted: 2/10/2013

Pittston is laying out the welcome mat, so to speak.

In a push to make the downtown more attractive and to brand it as an art hub, a new project commissions area artists to design and paint the Main Street doors of area businesses, bringing art awareness to downtown Pittston.

Downtown Manager Rose Randazzo calls the project Portals to Progress.

We have a group of artists working on Main Street in the gallery, Randazzo said. We wanted to invite them to be a part of a public art project.

The goal, Randazzo said, would be an art walk with a map pointing out the specific doors.

And it gets people walking down Main Street and patronizing businesses and eating at our restaurants, she said, that's the most important thing.

Randazzo said she'd like to see 20 doors, but will continue to do them as long as artists want to display their work.

So far, four doors have been painted:

• A wreath on a red door in front of Harry Jackets' restaurant by local artist JoAnne Raynis.

• A gold lion's head on a green side door on Yore Antiques, also painted by Raynis.

• A red Asian-inspired design on an ivory door at the YMCA by tattoo artist Melissa Davies.

• And a version of the Mona Lisa on the Joyce Insurance Building at the corner of Broad Street and Main Street by digital artist Kevin McGroarty.

Raynis, of Fantastic Finishes, said she's been painting her entire life and was glad to offer her services.

They're making great progress downtown and I'm really glad that I'm a part of it, she said.

McGroarty picked the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci because of the area's Italian heritage.

My first reaction was something traditional, with a digital twist, McGroarty said in a release. Arguably the most famous painting in the world seemed like a real good fit.

After consulting with project partner Todd Williams, owner of SignWerks, Kingston, the two agreed on a particular substrate that would seize the colors McGroarty needed in the design. Williams said preserving the artwork from sun exposure was key.

We tested a few traditional applications but we found slight bleaching in the colors. Kevin's style of painting, he lays purples and rust over blacks to get a certain effect, it was a challenge but when it rolled off the processor I knew we got it right, Williams said.

This is why I consult Todd, said McGroarty.

Those vibrant colors were right on, and the muted ones – like in her smile – are so pleasing. She is more divine rather than human. Todd is a perfectionist and why I trust his expertise with my work.

The next two businesses that plan to open their doors to art are office the Leo J. Sperrazza Insurance on Broad Street and the soon-to-open Tomato Bar and Bistro near the Tomato Festival Lot.

We want people to slow down and think, Randazzo said. I really hope people become inspired.