After successful business career, Deerfield man finds passion for painting
Artist Frank Pirri at the Patty Turner Senior Center at his show on Friday, December 14, 2012 in Deerfield. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 24, 2012 3:44PM
DEERFIELD — Deerfield resident Frank Pirri loves to paint, but said he didn’t get that calling until after he retired, with more than 50 years’ experience, from the business world. At the suggestion of his wife, Pirri said he took up art classes and never looked back. On Friday, Dec. 14, Pirri’s art went on display at the Patty Turner Center during a social function, where he was able to share his talent and inspiration with others.
Q: You were a businessman for quite a while, what sparked the interest in art?A:
As a businessman I was always looking for a more artistic approach to presenting new marketing ideas. At S&H, we were in the business of selling motivational ideas. More specifically, helping corporations to motivate individuals to achieve higher goals not because of organizational reasons, but because they, the individual wanted to do so - providing them with their own reasons to be motivated.
Q: What inspires your artwork?A:
As I did in business, my objective in my art is to get people excited and motivated about the subject matter. Watercolor provides the means to do that. Its transparency provides the opportunity to link together light, shadow and color to create a depth and dimension otherwise unachievable. It provides the means to invite and motivate individuals to enter the art and explore it.
Q: How has your family embraced your desire to be an artist?A:
Initially it was simple. On the first day of my retirement from business my wife asked “so, now what are going to do?” My typical male response was “don’t know.” She suggested, why not take an art class. That was six years ago and the rest is history.
Q: In what business were you the CEO?A:
From 1961 to 1986, I held senior management positions at The Sperry & Hutchinson Company (S&H Green Stamps). From 1986 to 1993, I served as President and Chief Executive Officer of S&H Motivation, a consumer and business-to-business Performance Improvement Company. From 1994 to 2006, I co-founded and served as CEO of PeopleFilter,Inc., a leading web-based applicant tracking and hiring optimization solution company. I was also a founder of MyPoints.com, a leading web-based direct marketing and consumer loyalty marketer.
Q: How long have you been painting?A:
I have been painting for six years and have been inspired by the teachings of artists Don Andrews and Bridget Austin, and most especially my teacher, Barbara Farrell.
Q: Was it a tough decision to leave the business world behind?A:
After nearly 50 years in business the change came easy. It gave me the opportunity to do many things that I was unable to pursue while working, like golf, travel and especially painting.
Q: Where do you do most of your painting?A:
I do most of my painting in the studio that I have set up in my home. I also have the good fortune of painting at our second home in Door County, Wisconsin, a location that has provided an endless supply of landscape subject matter.
Q: What are your future goals?A:
My goal as a painter is to continue to grow by experimenting with new and different techniques. As a painter, I consider myself to be a realist, but not a photorealist. I am not looking to record each and every detail, I will leave that to the photorealist. I prefer detailing through various texturing techniques.
Q: Do any other members in your family paint?A:
No other member of my family paints. However, I have two very creative daughters. Nancy, living in Chicago is an accomplished sculptor (www.npgraphx.com), and Marie, living in Steamboat Springs, Co. is a jewelry designer and marketer.
Q: How has painting shaped who you are?A:
I have become very sensitive to everything around me. I am constantly intrigued and inspired by the shapes of things, the colors and the shadows that come from trees, mountains, structures and the sky.
Q: How does it feel to have your art on display locally?
A: The Patty Turner Center is a very special place in our community. As a member, I have developed many new friends through its various activities. My wife also contributes to the Center by assisting in the English As A Second Language class as well as conducting a book club for second language students. To share my art with the many members and guests of The Patty Turner Center is both a pleasure and an honor.