My parents, as many of our ancestors did, spent most of their waking hours in factories. Having worked my way through Art school in General Electric in Bridgeport, I developed an appreciation for the beauty of the factory buildings and was witness to the human experience that played out there.
The architecture of the mills is rooted in their function. All you have to do to appreciate their aesthetic beauty is take a walk around any of the hundreds of vacant mills or factories. Thousands of broken multi colored windows filter the afternoon light. Bricks that were once red are now orange, green and blue. Doors that were painted for generations now are cracked and pealed, brick has filled doors and arched windows to make new walls. The factories are a study of decay and re-use.
The reaction to my subject matter is interesting. While painting, I have been approached by people who are incredulous that I would spend time painting something they feel is no more than an eyesore, while others appreciate the subject the way I do.
We live at a time when the factories are either being restored, recycled, or removed. Since there is little or no use for these large buildings we will likely be the last generation to witness them.
They represent the history of labor, the history of the union movement, and the history of our culture.
Over the years, other buildings that represent significant cultural periods have caught my attention, like the Roesslers Stand on rt. 25 in Monroe, the HIHO coal towers, Conty’s restaurant, and some area barns (I don’t usually paint barns, but in Connecticut they are becoming quite rare and may disappear before the paint dries on my canvas).