On Saturday, August 20 at 2 p.m., East Hampton’s Herrick Park will be the place to be as famous artists and writers square off in the 74th annual Artists and Writers Charity Softball Game.
As is tradition, Walter Bernard has created the official artwork for the game, which appears on the cover of Dan’s papers every year on the weekend of the game.
Here, Bernard discusses the new design, the ball game and more.
Walter Bernard in the Artists and Writers Game and more
Does the Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game cover art have an official name or a nickname you use to describe it in conversation?
Nothing official, but I call it “Fly Ball”.
What inspired this year’s unique cover of baseballs with wings flying through the air?
I have used the brush and pencil motif as part of my designs for the Artist & Writers game for many years on shirts and hats and Dan’s papers cover This actual cover is based on the idea of a flying ball; the ball in this case has arms made of artists’ brushes and writers’ pencils.
How did you compose and create this particular piece?
I did a few sketches, some using seagulls holding a ball, but as I worked, I quickly realized that I could use brushes and pencils as wings instead of a seagull. Fausta Kingué, my talented assistant, then put all the elements together to make the design work and ready for print.
What have you painted this summer? Any inspiring new museums?
I’m working on a large watercolor called “Bridgehampton Skies”, based on the wonderful and amazing late-day cloud formations I see over the Mecox plains. I am also continuing work on an oil painting of my wife and daughter in conversation; it’s an ongoing project I started when my daughter was in high school (she’s now the mother of teenage twins) that I can’t quite figure out. Maybe I will this year.
Are there any artistic goals you have yet to achieve?
Just to keep learning and fulfill the advice given by a teacher to my friend and mentor Milton Glaser: “Do good work.”
Where can more of your work be seen in the coming weeks (online, exhibitions, publications)?
No exhibitions planned, but some of my design work can be seen around town on the logo for the Hamptons Doc Fest, the upcoming Sag Harbor American Music Festival, the East End Fund for Children, and the book jacket for Carl Bernstein’s Following the story and Bina Bernardi Keeping secrets.
What aspect of this year’s artists and writers game are you most excited about?
The last few games have been exciting contests fought to the last game. The artists have been winning the last few games and I’m eager to see if we can continue the streak.
Having done both, do you prefer playing on the Artists team or cheering them on from the stands, and why?
At my age, I hope to play a few games without doing too much damage, and then I’ll be happy to cheer on the team for the rest of the game. I like playing it more because it makes me feel like it’s 1972.
Why do you think the Artists and Writers game is a tradition that has been going strong for over 70 years?
It has evolved over the years from a fun softball game and picnic in artist Wilfrid Zogbaum’s backyard – it included artists Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Joan Mitchell. Later writers such as Irwin Shaw, Willie Morris and James Jones joined in—in a larger community game at Herrick Park, an even larger event that now contributes to four local charities. There are many people over the years who have kept the game alive and thriving. Leif Hope has been the heart and soul of this game since the 1960s.
Many others have made great contributions to keeping this game alive, but these come to mind: Elaine Benson, Deb McEneaney, Eric Ernst, Ronnette Riley, Ken Auletta, Mike Lupica, David Brandman, Dan Rattiner, Alec Baldwin, and Juliet The Pope, to name just a few.
Any closing thoughts or additional information you would like to share?
Well, I hope to play again next year when it will be like 1973.
To see more of Walter Bernard’s design work, visit walterbernarddesign.com. And por more information about the Artists & Writers Charity Softball Game, visit awgame.org.