Maeve Allen

 Barry Chesser doesn’t shy away from the unusual. You’ve probably seen his pieces hanging up in Bank Square Coffeehouse - the skeleton in the newsboy cap and tie, or the other quirky characters on large canvases. Barry has been showing in Beacon for years, perfecting his “fingerprint,” or recognizable painting style. His off-kilter work has always caught my eye, and I found myself thinking - Who Made That?

So when did you get started with art?

Oh, forever.

Let me rephrase that - when did you get started with art professionally?

Well I graduated from Syracuse in 1999 for illustration. I’m a graphic designer 9-5 to support my art.

Ooo graphic design?

I work on TV shows or commercials making the storyboards. My team and I actually were nominated for a daytime Emmy award for some of the work we did.

Wow, that’s impressive! I’m curious, though - how did you develop your signature style throughout your work?

I like things that are a-traditional and kind of quirky. I’ve never been interested in things that are too straight forward, I find them boring.

Hmm what do you mean by that?

Everyone’s got phones, everyone’s has a camera and can take good pictures. I don’t see the logical point in doing the realistic or straightforward thing - that’s what photos are for. I’m much more interested in the twist on it. In the graphic design world, everyone uses photoshop and the same programs so a lot of things that are produced are practically identical. I like doing stuff with as much personality as possible. As an artist, you want to make stuff you like and you enjoy, and art that caught my eye was always unusual.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get inspiration from drawing. [Drawing with] not too much thinking, just shapes on the page until it starts to look like something. Then I’ll focus on something and dial it up.

What’s your favorite medium to work with?

The scratchboards, where I make a lot of my animal prints.


The black and white prints that I make are on scratchboards. It's a white board covered in black ink and you scratch away to make your marks. I like it because it’s the fastest way to get to a final product. When you’re painting, you’re working with layers. With the scratchboard stuff, as soon as you make that mark, that’s done.

You can see some of Barry’s favorite scratchboards on the slideshow above - make sure to check out his Instagram and Twitter, too!

You can also find his paintings at Bank Square Coffeehouse at the end of Main Street.

129 Main St. Beacon, NY
MSB - Maeve Allen