WYCKOFF, N.J.– Wyckoff artist Mark Oberndorf invokes nostalgia with his oil paintings of Bergen County landmarks of today and yesteryear.
Starting March 20, his work will once again be featured in the borough at the YMCA on Wyckoff Avenue.
“It feels like I'm giving back to my community and I like that aspect of it,” Oberndorf, 55, told Daily Voice.
The exhibit and art sale, which runs through May 31, will feature three new paintings created specifically for the event: the Hell's Angels’ New York City headquarters; the Palace Diner in Biddeford, Maine; and the Lobster Pot in Cape Cod, Mass.
“I consider it historical documentation. I think I breathe life into these paintings,” Oberndorf said. “I add ‘poetry’ to them.”
The artwork is personal for the father of two because he’ll talk to the business owners and patrons beforehand. If he’s at a diner, he’ll grab a meal. If it’s a barbershop, he’ll get a haircut there.
“Then I translate [the experience] into the painting,” Oberndorf said.
His inspiration for painting local scenery dates back nearly three decades.
And it all came to him while waiting at a red light in Rochelle Park.
“I glanced out the window and saw this barbershop. I don’t think it had changed since the 1950s,” the award winning artist said. “It was like a time capsule. Everything about it seemed to be original, so I wanted to capture it like it was.”
Since then, Oberndorf has painted still-standing places like the Bendix Diner in Hasbrouck Heights; the Dairy Queen in Montvale; and the Tick Tock Diner in Clifton.
And he’s also captured the time and essence of places like the Old Mill Pond in Paramus and the original Callahan’s Hot Dogs in Fort Lee.
“The only thing left now are the paintings,” Oberndorf said. “But there’s still an emotional attachment to these places.” Case in point: He sold a painting of a long gone Paramus restaurant to a couple who got engaged there.
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