An artist’s appreciation of the Collar City, Troy, New York.
Although he has traveled and painted throughout the world, John Emmett Connors has returned time and again to paint the houses, buildings, and neighborhoods of his hometown, Troy, New York. Collected here are his depictions of some of his favorite places in the Collar City and the surrounding area, including the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, the Frear Building, Oakwood Cemetery, the Melville House, and many others. Also included are his memories of growing up in Lansingburgh and his reflections on the ways in which the history and architecture of Lansingburgh and Troy affected his growth and development as an artist. Vito F. Grasso’s collaboration with Connors adds a distinctive voice to the artist’s recollections of his youth and his impressions of how the many familiar places of his childhood impacted his personal and professional development. The result is a visual and narrative account which transcends the skills of both the artist and the author and offers the reader a unique insight into the creative process. Anyone who loves art, architecture, or the city of Troy will find this a fascinating look into the deep connections that can be formed between an artist and a particular place.
“This assemblage of paintings, along with the accompanying narratives of life in Troy, is an elegiac, poetic tribute to a city, its milieu, and the families that molded the resident artists. It is indeed a work of lyrical art.” — San Francisco Book Review
“John has an eye that naturally marks him as an artist. He captures an object, an area, and an era in a special way that delights, entertains, and elevates.” — Majority Leader Ron Canestrari, New York State Assembly
“I have known John Connors the painter for years, but was not aware of John Connors the author until I read John Emmett Connors. His words are as colorful and charming as his pictures, and the stories he shares, while recounting his own personal evolution, are all of our stories in small-town America. Connors’s sense of history and the high value he places on it are the cornerstones of this book. Reading it, one learns multiple histories at once—that of the young artist, John; that of his unique home, Lansingburgh; and that of an America where you could still grow up innocent and free, exploring a world that seemed both safe and vast. This book shows that Connors never lost his wide-eyed amazement, which is why his paintings are so appealing and why John Emmett Connors is so enjoyable.” — David Brickman, Art Critic
“If a painter is defined by the subject he paints, then John Connors is truly a Troy artist … Connors is an unabashed enthusiast of Troy, especially its architecture … He uses color boldly, even though he favors pastels, and is fond of different shades of red and uses it to make strong, instant impressions. Connors has the ability to draw your eye to what he wants you to see.” — Troy Record
John Emmett Connors, a native of Troy, is known for his local and New York City street scenes. He studied artistic anatomy and painting on scholarship at the Art Students League of New York where he mentored under Robert Beverly Hale for four years and was awarded a Fine Arts Certificate of Completion. He also studied Sumi-e (Japanese brush painting) including studies in Japan. Vito F. Grasso is Executive Vice President of the NYS Academy of Family Physicians. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University at Albany, State University of New York and holds the certified association executive professional accreditation conferred by the American Society of Association Executives.