Accorsi's Art Comes Home

By Kim Podolsky

“Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? – every, every minute?” The answer to this question posed in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town is complicated. No, most people are lucky to have a surreal experience once in their lives. One where they truly understand the gravity of their circumstances and one where they can appreciate what they have in that very moment. Others experience life differently. Some people have the ability to take a moment in time and preserve it considering every wrinkle, scar and perfection.

Michael Accorsi, an artist based out of San Francisco Bay with family roots in Hershey, PA, explains that “The aim of [his] art is to bring people to a place they may not have considered before. To make an ephemeral connection with another - without the use of analysis and vocabulary.” Accorsi’s work in oil intertwines elements of expressionism while maintaining roots of realism to allow people to connect to a place or subject.

Over the years, Accorsi has developed his craft studying practiced art at the University of Virginia and calligraphy and watercolor at the Daegu Institute in South Korea. He refines his work at workshops throughout the United States and China while continuing to work from his studio in Northern California. Accorsi’s work contains elements of realism and expressionism while evoking something new in each person who experiences the world he has captured on paper.

His summer 2013 series of artwork will include four paintings of Hershey, Pennsylvania, his family’s hometown. Accorsi’s grandparents Ernie Sr. and Mary raised his father Ernie on Areba Avenue. His art this summer is composed of historical places in Hershey, some of which are no longer there. Accorsi explained that “The story of how Hershey became a town, [his] family’s history, along with [his] beautiful memories of the years [he] spent enjoying the town and people [himself] made it a rich and motivating place to incorporate in [his] art.”

Without the option of visiting these important landmarks, Accorsi photographed subjects around Hershey, then had to rely on his father’s descriptions and detailed accounts of color, shape and essence. Using images online, Accorsi would create rough draft sketches and send them to his father for review. Through the process Accorsi hoped to create an image of his grandfather’s business, Triple Distributors which will live on in modern and changing times.

Bringing the beer business to “life” on canvas stirred up a great deal of emotion for Michael and his father. Hershey evokes many other vivid memories for Accorsi such as the painted image in his mind of his hometown. He recalled “The beautiful drive down Elm Avenue underneath the dense canopy of trees, as [he] head[s] toward Memorial field with the lights on, faint screams of people on rides at Hershey Park, the smell of cocoa in the air, and the beaming happiness [he] feel[s] knowing [he’ll] be eating at DeAngelis (now Fennici’s) Pizza later that night.” Many people live their whole lives wishing to experience life in a small, closely knit town like the one Accorsi describes from his memories. A place where they can look back on fondly and remember fishing trips with their grandfather where they can say as Accorsi does that they “became one of the men at age five with [their] boots, rod and thermos.” Hershey was that place for Accorsi and still is today for thousands of young boys and girls.

For those who are not fortunate enough to have experienced a place like Hershey, Accorsi hopes to have conveyed a realistic image of what these significant places are, but he aimed to preserve his own memories through the process. Accorsi would create a realistic image on canvas with measurements and angles as close to precise as possible. He would then allow his own memories and visions to take over in order to maintain the essence he remembered as a boy. The key for Accorsi was to capture the spirit of each place he portrayed instead of trying to replicate it exactly.

A portion of the proceeds from Accorsi’s Hershey summer series will be donated to the Hershey-Derry Township Historical Society. As Accorsi explained the Society is so significant because “every child has to have these memories.” Through Accorsi’s art and the preservation and promotion of the area’s history by the Society, children near and far will have the opportunity to experience Hershey for what it is: the perfect American town.

For more information on Michael Accorsi and his upcoming artwork series please visit www.michaelaccorsi.com or check his Accorsi Studios Facebook page.