Then he found out that zookeepers had to clean the animals’ cages. Lofaro went to Plan B — he would draw the animals instead.
He briefly attended art school to learn his craft, but soon found himself living in his parents’ basement on Long Island, working part-time jobs and creating a portfolio by the light of a 100-watt bulb. “I call it my tortured Romantic period,” he says.
Whatever it was, it worked. In the next 20 years, he would establish himself as a world-class illustrator, with major league clients like Coca-Cola, Bacardi, Disney, Häagen-Dazs, Nike, TWA, National Geographic and Celestial Seasonings (the buffalo above appears on one of their tea boxes). His art can also be seen on the book covers of most major publishers, including Random House and Time Life.
In 1995, LoFaro and his family moved from New York City to a 200-year-old house in Henniker, where he has a studio. In much of his work, which LoFaro describes as “highly realistic with many surreal elements,” he uses the animals that had fascinated him in his childhood, especially dinosaurs. “They never go out of style,” he says. “They still ring my bell. My studio is full of dinosaur models.”
One of these days, LoFaro is likely to branch out beyond his commercial work into the wildlife print industry. That’s made possible, or at least easier, by the fact that LoFaro has traded his acrylic paints and airbrush for a much more efficient tool — a computer. “I sit at this thing everyday; I’m still flabbergasted at what it can do and how quick and easy it is. If I want to change a color, I just press a button. It’s been a godsend because my painting was so time-intensive.”
For more information about LoFaro and his work, visit www.jerrylofaro.com.
Sure, they bring May flowers, but April showers also mean gray days and big puddles. You can brighten those days with colorful rain gear — and stay dry, too.
Combining the functionality of wet-weather Wellies with current Western-inspired style, these Tamara Henriques boots are made entirely of rubber with a slim, pointed toe, one-inch squared-off heel and pull-on side loops. They have a soft cotton lining for comfort. From Garnet Hill (800-870-3513, www.garnethill.com) in Franconia. $98
Compact and lightweight push-button umbrella from L.L. Bean. Vents allow wind to pass through the umbrella rather than blowing it inside out. $24
Classic English-style rubber midcalf boots from the L.L. Bean store in West Lebanon or online at www.llbean.com (not available at outlet stores). $49
Amphibians have a lot on their mind in the spring. It’s the time for mating and laying eggs in vernal pools and other wetlands. To get to the water they often have to cross a road, and it’s not likely they’re thinking about whether cars are coming. The N.H. Fish and Game Department is asking drivers to keep an eye out for our slithery neighbors.
“If you can, consider picking up that gallon of milk on the way home from work instead of driving on rainy nights,” says Fish and Game Wildlife Biologist Eric Orff. “By doing so, you could help save some of the thousands of salamanders, frogs and toads that will be run over by cars during this period.”
Orff says the height of spring amphibian activity comes during the first rainy nights after you begin to hear the spring peepers. For more information, call (603) 868-1095 or visit www.wildlife.state.nh.us
A cup of coffee and singing birds — for most of us they are ingredients for an enjoyable spring morning. For others, coffee and birds have a far deeper connection.
Here’s why: When our birds fly to the tropics for the winter, they often end up in the trees of what are called “shade-grown” coffee plantations, which offer the birds shelter and food.
In recent years, though, many coffee growers have “modernized” and now grow coffee in the full sun. Add in all the other deforestation in Latin America and there are no longer many places for migratory birds to spend the winter.
To help stem the loss of habitat, the American Birding Association, in partnership with the Thanksgiving Coffee Co., is offering organic coffee that comes from shade-grown plantations. Not only is the coffee good, 15 cents from each sale (the price averages $10/pound) is returned to the growers to assist them in improving the economic and social infrastructure in the communities; another 15 cents fund American Birding Association conservation projects.
In N.H., you can find the coffee at Wild Birds Unlimited, 37 Plaistow Rd., Plaistow (603-382-3354). You can also buy online and get more information at www.songbirdcoffee.com.
We Love N.H.
Maybe it’s lady's slippers in bloom. Maybe it’s rocks in a rain-swollen river. Or your kids hunting for Easter eggs. Whatever your favorite spring scene is, it’s time to grab your camera and go take a picture of it. You might win a contest.
The state, in partnership with the Div. of Travel and Tourism and the Film and Television Office, is running a four-season “You’re Going to Love It Here” contest for photographers — both amateur and professional. Fall and winter are done; spring 2006 is now the, uh, focus.
Winning photos will be displayed in a variety of official New Hampshire media, including the state Web site and tourism advertisements. Winners will also be publicly recognized with a commendation from Gov. Lynch.
“New Hampshire’s beautiful natural environment is part of why we all live here,” the governor says. “This is a great opportunity for our citizens to showcase their favorite places in our state, and help introduce visitors to them.”
The deadline for submitting photos is June 21. For more information visit www.visitnh.gov.
Cindy Pierce touches her crotch more often than Michael Jackson. Watching the up-and-coming N.H. comic onstage, you know her hand will go “down there” soon again. But it’s not just the touching that’s a shock — it’s the talking. Things you never even talked to your best friend about, she talks about.
Birth control, sex, orgasms, hemorrhoids — few things about private parts are out of bounds for Pierce, who has been described as a cross between Lily Tomlin and Dr. Ruth. She calls it “the adventures of 40 years of owning a vagina, and everything attached to that.”
Audiences (adults only) think Pierce is a hoot. This past year she did one-woman shows (called “Finding the Doorbell”) at The Music Hall in Portsmouth and the Lebanon Opera House, as well as venues out of state.
Male, female, young, old — they laugh and cringe as the pacing Pierce tells her very personal tales. She says people can relate: “Everyone has experienced something painful, something shameful, and I think people are relieved to hear someone who has shared their experiences and is looking at them through the filter of humor. They feel normal and not alone. This is my purpose on the planet, my higher gift.”
Pierce says there are people who shouldn’t come to her show (“George Bush would be horrified”), and she makes sure her posters and ads indicate how graphic the stories are “so people know what they’re in for.”
In Pierce’s other life, she is a mother of three and, with her husband, an innkeeper in Etna. She says she’s running hard, with a foot in two worlds. Where it all goes, she’s not sure, but for now she’s happy to be helping people not take themselves too seriously and “to find the fun.” For more information about her and her upcoming performances, visit www.cindy-pierce.com.
Historic Images and Fantastic Art
When a cruel teacher once told young Bill Oakes that his brain was small, he believed her and determined to use what little he had in new ways, to make the most of it. Oakes nursed that seed of negative inspiration into a body of work that is remarkable for its brilliance and diversity. And his peculiar “small-brained” genius proved to be contagious. He excelled as an art instructor at the New England School of Art & Design and the Art Institute in Boston. He illustrated his own artistic instruction guides and children’s books — introducing kids just learning to read to the pleasures and stimulation of abstract art. He was commissioned by the Washington Post to cover the Watergate hearings as a courtroom artist, producing some of the most iconic images of that sad period of political history. His work, in virtually every medium, appears in many major collections. In his last exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science, infrared technology and cordless headsets of Oakes’ design allowed visitors to “hover” above fantastic imaginary civilizations and hunt for visual or auditory “signs of life” in his large canvases that blended paint, organic materials and found objects.
Oakes lived near Hampton Beach for the final seven years of his life and died last October at age 61. But for the uninitiated, there’s another chance to be touched and transformed by his art. He liked to describe his artwork as “intuitive,” both in its origin and its effect. Ever the teacher, Oakes would surely be pleased at the chance to inspire yet another group of viewers to look a bit deeper and perhaps take their own plunge into the creative process.
Mindleaps: The Art, Imagination and Vision of Bill Oakes
April 1-30 at the Healy Library, University of Massachusetts, Boston. This is the first in-depth retrospective of Oakes, who was an innovative artist, illustrator, educator, inventor, children’s book author and publisher. The exhibit, sponsored by the Critical and Creative Thinking Program, will showcase Oakes’ work over the course of his 35-year career, during which time he evolved from an illustrator to an abstract artist. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, April 8 from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. in the Healy Library’s fifth floor gallery.
This article appears in the April 2006 issue of New Hampshire Magazine