Joel Naprstek Displays Illustrations at the Clifton Arts Center through Oct. 30th

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It’s no accident that Joel F. Naprstek has an exhibit of his impressive artwork at the Clifton Arts Center (CAC), which will be on display Oct. 7-30. It turns out that he had a well-placed hometown connection.

Naprstek, who hails from Park Ridge, has enjoyed an extensive career as a freelance illustrator, and spent 15 years (2005-2020) as an artist/designer for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, working from a studio in the Bergen County town of Moonachie. During that time, the studio would open its doors each year and give tours to middle school and high school students from the area.

Several years ago Jeff Labriola, the former president of the CAC Advisory Board and art teacher at Christopher Columbus Middle School, brought his students to the Moonachie studio. Naprstek and Labriola became friends and kept in touch. Last year Labriola invited Naprstek to exhibit his artwork at CAC, but the Covid-19 lockdown upended those plans. Now that many of the pandemic’s restrictions have been lifted and life slowly returns to a more normal tempo, the CAC revived the invitation to Naprstek.

The exhibit, titled “Race Cars, Comics and Flying Tigers—The Dynamic Art & Illustration of Joel F. Naprstek,” includes more than 100 drawings, prints and acrylic paintings, all of which feature Naprstek’s three favorite subjects: race cars, comic book/fantasy characters; and aviation.

After more than three decades in the business, Naprstek hopes to do more gallery exhibitions in the future as well pursue his work as a commissioned artist. His resume includes illustrations for clients such as DC Comics and Marvel Comics, TV networks NBC and CBS, financial publications Business Week and Fortune, and various advertising agencies.

A graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City (Bachelor of Fine Arts), his career includes working as a teacher at his alma mater. He’s also taught at the School of Visual Arts Summer Painting Classes, Woodstock, NY, and the Kubert School, Dover, NJ, formerly known as the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, named after the long-time, prolific comic book artist from DC Comics.

Roxanne Cammilleri is the director of the CAC and Sculpture Park, located on the grounds of the Clifton Municipal Complex, 900 Clifton Ave.  According to the mission statement posted on its website, the CAC “provides an interactive environment in which the arts can thrive; a haven in the heart of the city where our diverse community can come together to experience art in all its forms.”

The CAC celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2020.  The gallery is open Thursdays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment.  For additional information on the Naprstek exhibit and future events, call the CAC at (973) 472-5499. 

Regarding precautions for Covid-19, the CAC follows guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Clifton Health Department as detailed on its website here

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