Sunday, October 30

Meet James DeMartis: an artist living and working in the historic Springs section of East Hampton

James is a sculptor, artist and blacksmith living in
the Springs section of East Hampton, New York.

His custom metal work can be seen in New York City
and around the greater New York area,
from Manhattan to Connecticut, New Jersey to Long Island.

you may remember I wrote a story for Dan's Papers magazine this past June about James DeMartis and his talent.  I stopped by his studio in the Springs section of East Hampton for a tour of his working space.  Read my interview with James and Who's Here editorial I wrote profiling him. 
James' inspiration board front and center
at the entrance to his studio --
I love this!

Before we go on,
let me give you a little background  
on The Springs section of East Hampton...

The Springs is an enclave in the famous glitzy Hamptons that is a quite un-glitzy, yet culturally rich area with a long and interesting history.  I love the Hamptons and it's no secret because I write about the tip of Long Island often.  I continue to be intrigued by the area's history that dates back to the 16th Century and the Dutch settlers, as well as the amazing natural beauty that still exists.  However, there are times the Hamptons gets a bad rap in the press (not unduly warranted but that's another story) but one of the sections that many people overlook is The Springs section of East Hampton.

Let's talk about art in The Springs

check out this video of Jackson Pollock 
parlaying thoughts on his work created mostly in his Springs studio

The Springs became famous in 1940s when artist Jackson Pollock and his wife and artist Lee Krasner bought a farmhouse and set up their studio.  Jackson created his now famous "drip paintings"  in his studio just a short distance down the road from my own home in The Springs.  The beautiful yet austere Pollock/Krasner home sits a stone's throw away from the Charles Parsons Blacksmith Forge and Ashawagh Hall, and in the historic center of The Springs where any given weekend one may come upon art exhibits and other country art and antique shows. I recommend taking a  drive through this square and maybe a leisurely stroll over to Louse Point or Maidstone Beach and you may have an "ah ha" moment where it starts to make sense why creative types are drawn to the area. 

Louse Point, The Springs

Willem de Kooning's
Morning: The Springs

Of course, artists from all over the globe have known about The Springs for years and it continues to attract them today, beginning in the 1940s when many artists congregated in the area and created the abstract expressionist movement which is studied and talked about in art circles and museums today. In addition to Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, Willem de Kooning and Randy Rosenthal were drawn to the rural area for it's amazing light and nature, and quite possibly for the fact that the real estate prices were and still are a tad less than the uber-expensive homes "south of the highway" near the ocean.  Tucked just inches from the sleepy bay with calm waters, a plethora of birds and nature of all kinds, The Springs still retains its charm today.  Not only painters but sculptors, writers and other artists have made The Springs their home including Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Heller, Philip Roth, Nora Ephron, and John Steinbeck. The Springs has also been a blue collar neighborhood for generations of folks referred to affectionately as the "Bonackers", many of whom are from generations of families who were the original fisherman and farmers in the area.  This authenticity is refreshing and no matter how many large scale spec homes are built in the Hamptons the charm and unique quality to The Springs remains relatively unscathed, which is one reason it is my favorite neighborhood in the Hamptons. 
Now that we can see why James made this area his home, let's check out his studio and works. James built a forge in is studio where he creates metal work from fabricating copper, zinc and stainless steel.  He creates a combination of products from art commissioned pieces to stair rails, gates, tables bases and other furniture. 
photographs by Gabby Stephenson

"He speaks with the passion of someone who truly enjoys what he does. He even personally hand picks the coal he uses (a specific soft West Virginia variety) from an upstate farm. DeMartis begins by explaining all the necessary tools one needs to work with metal, and illustrates the importance of four key tools—anvil, hammer, coal and metal (material). DeMartis works at the forge with these tools to create each unique work of art. He is one part blacksmith, another part metalworker and all parts artist".  

excerpt I wrote taken from
Dan's Papers story "Who's Here" June 30, 2011 

James is influenced by his father's paintings many of which
hang through his studio (see above)

the beauty and simplicity of working tools

end results: 
commissioned art pieces,
and beautiful wares for the home and garden

asparagus beach


Pipe Dream

Willow at Bridge Garden

two photographs (above and below) credit
East Hampton Patch Aubrey Shuman

James welcomes working with clients and designers
to collaborate on custom pieces,
so please don't hesitate to give him a call. 

James DeMartis Metal Studio

214 Springs Fireplace Road
East Hampton, NY 11937

stop back next week --
hot off the press, I'll give you a few of my favorite new
 interior design, architecture and entertaining books
just published and hot off the press in time for the holidays!