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Local Artist Display: An Interview with Samuel Caponegro

Beginning in March 2020, our new lobby display will feature the charming artwork of Samuel Caponegro! This show, entitled Faces of Friends, highlights a unique style of portrait painting that the Somerset artist specializes in. Samuel was kind enough to answer our questions about his life, his unique style of art, and what inspires it.

FTPL: How long have you lived in the Somerset area?

SC: I have lived in NJ for my entire life and moved to  Somerset 15 years ago.

FTPL: How long have you been painting? When did you notice that you had artistic talent?

SC: I have always been interested in art, but started painting seriously  after I retired 7 years ago.

FTPL: What attracted you to painting portraits?

SC: A unique face is a piece of art.

FTPL: What inspires you?

SC: I am inspired by faces that make me smile and I hope my art works make people smile.

FTPL: You mention that Alice Neel and Diane Arbus are influences on the display in our lobby. What about their work are you drawn to?

SC: The color, brush stroke, and the eyes of Alice Neel’s portraits inspires me and the unique subject matter of Diane Arbus certainly influences my work.

FTPL: What other artists inspire you?

SC: The waiters, waitresses, and bellboys of [Chaim] Soutine and the pools of David Hockney.

FTPL: How do you know an interesting face when you see one?

SC: A face is interesting to me when something about it is out of proportion. 

FTPL: What are you drawn to about the Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson’s 2014 film), or what about it are you trying to incorporate into this particular show?

SC: I saw the film on an airplane, and even on the little screen, I was intrigued by the visual depiction of the staff, especially the bellboys.

FTPL: What are you working on now?

SC: Since I spend part of the year in Southern Florida, I am always painting watercolors of people on the the beach, especially seniors having a good time.

The library is always looking for artists, crafters, and collectors to feature on our art wall and in our display cases. For more information, please email with a little about yourself and a link to your website or social media accounts. You can also attach samples of your work. Preference is given to residents of Franklin Township.

Thanks for reading!
-George, FTPL

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