BY JANICE LLANES FABRY
Douglas DePierro is that rare jack of all trades who happens to have mastered them all. The painter, illustrator, and sculptor who specializes in fine art, portraits, and murals is also an inventor, plays the drums, and builds sets, cars, and motorcycles. He has singlehandedly added color and texture to downtown Rye with his seasonal, whimsical window paintings along Purchase Street, from Poppy’s and All Paws to Anna Maria’s Wine Bar and Joan Sansone Antiques and Jewelry. His festive windows are always striking, but DePierro’s favorite thing to paint is the American flag. “I am very patriotic, and the flag is the symbol of our country. I would paint it all over the place if I could,” he said.
“Like most kids, I started drawing at around age 2, but unlike many I never stopped. Now, I’m too old to grow up,” quipped DePierro, who was born and raised in Yonkers. (Coincidentally, it was my husband Jan Fabry, who grew up with Doug in Yonkers and, after running into him in Mamaroneck almost 20 years ago, hired him to paint a French streetscape on the second floor of Ruby’s. From there, Doug got to know Poppy’s, and the rest is history.)
He recalled becoming completely captivated by the endless talents of Leonardo da Vinci when he was around 10. While in elementary school, the precocious artist won all the art contests sponsored by the Grinton I. Will Public Library. As a teen-ager, he would airbrush images of popular album covers onto white T-shirts for his friends. He would grace the walls and windows of Roosevelt High School and, unknowingly, became the inspiration behind the Yonkers School District magnet program.
Early on, the entrepreneurial young artist began apprenticing with successful illustrators and photo retouchers while bussing tables at a local restaurant. At that very restaurant, DePierro, also a talented drummer, had the opportunity to take the stage with none other than jazz greats Cab Calloway and Lionel Hampton.
“Music has always given me joy. It flows right through me,” he said. “My art, I have to work at, but it puts me in a zone. I lose all track of time and go to a whole other place.”
By the time he was 16, he had founded Da Vinci Inspired, which evolved into offering model making, Venetian stucco, plaster molding restoration, interior and window design, as well as canvas painting, murals, and sculpture.
DePierro went on to a highly successful 30-year career as an artist in advertising, responsible for high-profile magazine covers and a Superbowl commercial. He has sculpted interactive scale models for HBO, MTV, and ABC. It is his vast experience on the periphery, however, that distinguishes him even further with a dazzling treasure trove of memories.
Not many people can say they’re behind the artwork on the Hells Angels’ Harley Davidson motorcycles or designed displays for the MET Gala. He has painted portraits and murals for Harry Winston’s family, a Kips Bay landscape for Anne Getty, and automobiles for Jay Leno.
Fortunately, despite DePierro’s broad canvas of subjects, he has not outgrown our downtown. Look for his Easter window at Poppy’s coming soon.
<To contact Douglas DePierro, call 557-7761 or email him at email@example.com>.