MIDLAND PARK, N.J. — Visual artist Christine Zaccardi, founder of the Drawing Room Fine Art and Sculpture Studio in Midland Park , lives a life she loves in a studio she inherited.
The multi-room Drawing Room starts its popular 10-week summer camp Monday. But Zaccardi and her staff of four artists teach lessons for children, teens, and adults all year round.
They also stage art birthday parties and provide special needs instruction. For the most serious high school and college students, Zaccardi offers portfolio development services in person and on Skype.
All over the walls of the studio are the colorful fruits of everyone’s efforts: portraits, landscapes, mixed media works, and more.
“I’m very moved by color effects,” said Zaccardi, a Wyckoff resident. “Color in a piece of art definitely attracts and effects the moods of the people looking at it.”
Zaccardi, a graduate of the School of Visual Arts and once a hotshot graphic designer in Manhattan, was trained in charcoal and pencil. But, she said, she’s become a very outside-the-box artist.
“I gravitate toward sculpture now,” she said. “I also gravitate toward mosaics and fantasy art.”
She’s also painting murals, providing printing services, and creating fabric art, including illustrating wedding dresses and designing shirts for corporations .
The Drawing Room also offers events and programs as abundant as its director’s interests — “Creativity and Cocktail” gatherings at local restaurants; Scout programs; fundraisers; and corporate team-building events.
What keeps Zaccardi jazzed about all of it is “a three-letter word called ‘art.’
“I love what I do,” she said.
She’s also seen the freeing and uplifting influence of art on her life and those of her students.
“Big football players come in here and become mushballs,” she said. “I’ve worked with kids who have psychiatric problems or focusing and processing issues and they just become different people. In art, they shine.”
Years ago, the place was known as the Wyckoff Gallery. It was owned by Jock MacRae, a master painter who also was Zaccardi’s teacher.
He taught sparingly and asked Zaccardi, in her leisure time, to instruct two young girls who wanted lessons. She did. Then two became twenty-five.
When MacRae’s wife died, he gave the studio to Zaccardi, who has grown it from a single room with some drawing tables and easels to what it is today.
In her 10-week summer camps, Zaccardi continues his tradition of outdoor painting in the mornings when the weather is nice. Students learn so much about the purity of colors in the sunlight, she said.
They also learn everything from how to hold a pencil and draw from geometric shapes to the historically significant periods of art history.
But she always includes an emphasis she didn’t enjoy when she studied art in her youth.
“People need to learn techniques,” she said,” but they also need to develop their own style.”