First published: Spring 2009
Daniel Belardinelli has been making art since he was a child. Encouraged by his family, drawing kept him occupied during the many after-school hours he spent in the two restaurants his father’s family owned in Manhattan. These establishments were frequented by popular entertainers such as Groucho Marx and Tony Bennett, as well as successful horseracing jockeys and the occasional Mafia kingpin.
Meeting such people was routine for the young Belardinelli, who regularly eavesdropped on the animated conversations in the bar. He typically augmented his quick sketches of the resident cast of colourful characters with marginal notes containing snippets of their lively banter. These drawings were prototypes for the work he produces as an adult: images of grimacing, bug-eyed stick figures and sparely rendered objects set against neutral grounds and accompanied by brief textual passages.