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The Many Faces of Lansdale

With so many interesting faces in Lansdale, I embarked on this project called "The Many Faces of Lansdale" which would – I hope – be a good representation of our borough.

This idea came to me after I had painted the previous mayor, Mike DiNunzio, before he died. 

Unfortunately, he never saw the painting. Dick Stricker, on the other hand, who was one of Mayor Mike’s friends, former Lansdale Borough Councilman and active, Historical Society member, requested that I paint his portrait as soon as possible – being eighty years old and not in the best of health, at least according to him – because he could go at any moment.

In the event of his soon-to-be death, he prodded me to get the painting finished. He also gave me explicit instructions as where and how long his portrait should be placed at the different stages of his funeral: next to his casket at Huff and Lajker, then at the Lansdale Mausoleum before internment and then on permanent display at the Lansdale Historical Society.  I went to work right away.

No portrait comes without criticism of the subject. In Dick’s case, he was a little concerned about the wisp of hair (I offered to change it; he declined the touch-up), but he was pleased with the characteristic creases in his forehead that were the result of a skin condition. Thankfully, he is still with us.

Two paintings down and I was enjoying this, plus it was helping my craft. Who next?

With so many interesting faces in Lansdale, I embarked on this project called "The Many Faces of Lansdale" which would – I hope – be a good representation of our borough.

My next choice was Russ Smith, who is president of the Blue Comet Motorcycle Club and one of the driving forces behind Lansdale Bike Night. I also could not resist painting someone with mutton chops (with a Hungarian wife, perhaps it is the connection to Franz Josef II).

I have been asked if I have a criteria for selecting the subjects for these portraits and the answer is: not really.

It helps to have an interesting face but more important is the commitment to Lansdale, whether it be as a colorful figure, a community leader, a business person or an interesting person about town. Take for example, my next portrait of Nona Breaux, the former editor of The Reporter with 38-years time at the newspaper. Not a tax-paying Lansdale resident, but an honorary one.

As long as I can remember, Harry Mitchner has been walking about town and needless to say his visage is one that is characteristic of Lansdale. He refused to sit for a painting and grudgingly allowed a photograph. 

Another Lansdale wanderer in town is Dell Mims. She is a sweetheart who can be seen walking Main and Broad Streets. Give her five minutes and she’ll get you up to date on all the happenings in town. 

Next, was Jay Daveler. He is a lifelong Lansdale resident, business owner, former Fairmount Fire Chief and current Fire Marshal. And Lansdale’s first, well-deserved recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Lansdale has a large Bangladeshi community and having attended a few of their community days, I have made the acquiantance of Mohammed Mustafa, a very caring and community minded resident.

This past Memorial Day, I snapped a photo of this member of the Lansdale VFW, but unfortunately, I didn’t catch his name so if anyone knows, please let me know. A fine portrait if I do say so myself.

To date, I have painted 16 portraits and each one tells an interesting story. What I hope to do with these portraits is eventually have them on display at the Historical Society, Borough Hall or 311 West Main Street. 

I am continuning to look for subjects, so if anyone out there reading this blog has any suggestions, please feel free to send me a photo with a description of their contribution to Lansdale or why they are identified with our little town (please make sure, you have their permission).

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Diane Di Domizio August 24, 2012 at 06:12 PM
I think you should do a portrait of my father-in-law the late Robert Di Domizio. His contributions to Lansdale are well known.
G August 24, 2012 at 09:43 PM
What about Dick Shearer ---- He's donated the last 10 years of his life diligently working for the historical society and as anyone who knows him can say know what knows this town better than him. Just a suggestion. Either of those three locations would be great.
Jynell Kicinski Brunt August 28, 2012 at 07:23 PM
I think your paintings are nice, but you definitely need to make a stop at The Mitre Box to get some better frames!! I also think you should do a painting of Joe while you're there since it's the family businesses like them who have been in Lansdale for decades (and many others as well) who give Lansdale her small town charm!!
longtimehere September 03, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Very interesting project Andy, and well done. You have represented Lansdale so well in all you do. I strongly feel that the next portrait you do should be of yourself, and also Dick Shearer, who gives so much of his time to this borough. Keep up the good works and our borough will thrive. Thanks

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