Local artists collaborate for ‘Sight and Sound’ exhibit

An exhibit entitled “Sight and Sound,” will feature charcoal drawings by Robert Gaetano, Loyalsock Township Middle School principal, and accompanying music by Matt Johnson, Loyalsock Township Middle School seventh grade reading teacher. The exhibit will open Feb. 7 at 33 East, 33 E. Third St., beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The subjects of the charcoal paintings will feature celebrities from the 1940s to present day – including Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, The Beatles and Bob Marley, just to name a few.

Gaetano, who has exhibited his artwork at various local venues, including most recently showing figure drawings at the Galleria, located next to Franco’s, has a background in art, completing a master’s degree in fine art before deciding to pursue a degree in educational leadership.

“I’m not really sure where the inspiration came from to draw the celebrities, but I did draw a picture of Elvis first. I was pleased with the way it came out, so I continued to pick various celebrities that were musical artists from the 1940s to present,” Gaetano said.

Gaetano and Johnson decided to collaborate when Gaetano showed his drawings.

“Since Matt enjoys art, I was showing him some of the drawings and he mentioned that it would be cool to play music in conjuction with the artists,” Gaetano said. “I mentioned that I was exhibiting at 33 East and asked him to join me. I checked with Joanna at 33 East and she believed it was a great idea. Hence the theme, ‘Sight and Sound.’ “

Johnson is a member of the band, Way Back When and also plays keyboard and guitar.

Gaetano, whose interest in art began in high school, is a signature member of the Pennsylvania En Plein Painters society. Plein air painting is the act of painting “in the open air,” where artists paint on site of what subject they are painting.

“I also worked on my artwork as a member of the Wyoming Valley Art League, the Lambertville Art Association, the Art Association of Harrisburg and the Carlisle Arts Learning Center,” Gaetano said. “I also taught art for 24 years, as well as gifted at Crestwood High School in Mountaintop, Pa.”

Gaetano finds time in between his busy schedule of being a middle school principle by using painting as his entertainment. “Needless to say my job as principal comes first and many nights I am also attending sporting events. I don’t watch much television, so my entertainment is drawing and painting.”

As for his favorite, Gaetano said he is his biggest critic, “I do have a few favorite paintings,” he said. “A large pastel painting of Long Beach Island, as well as an oil painting of a reclining figure have been my favorites. In this current exhibit, I would say Dean Martin, Bob Marley, Jim Morrison and Jerry Garcia are my favorites.”

“Sight and Sound” will be on display at 33 East through the month of February.