In July 2007, Belle Arti became Forest Hills’ only boutique-like music school of European heritage. The school, founded by acclaimed pianists Massimiliano Facchini and Claudette Munné, has since cultivated and refined the talents of thousands of students.
After years of offering vocal and instrument courses, now the owners are coming closer towards their vision of incorporating a full picture of the arts.
For the duration of the summer, Stanisci's comic book workshop will teach kids ages 11 to 17. WPIX Channel 11 personality Mr. G will participate in a session this summer and film it.
“I am pleasantly surprised at the level of enthusiasm my students have,” said Stanisci. “I realized that they have a strong fantasy life. Existing inside their heads are characters, adventures, and stories. Now they have a chance to get them into real life on paper.”
The workshop will resume in the fall, and a workshop for older teenage students and adults is in the works. Other comic book workshops under consideration include private instruction, a class for younger children, and a portfolio prep course for high school students aspiring to attend a good art college. Another vision is a bi-monthly “life drawing class,” where adults can master the art of drawing people.
“Twenty years ago, if you lived in the New York area and were a competent artist you could break into Marvel or DC, but today that doesn’t exist,” said Stanisci. “You need to seek a school or a mentor who will truly be able to help you develop your skills to a point where you can compete against the best artists in the world.
“You need to say ‘I’m in it for the long haul,’ hear the criticism, and know that you will grow from that criticism,” he added. “It’s not just how well you can draw, but you need to give your daily work ethic the respect that a career deserves, or you will stay an amateur.”
A personal inspiration was his father, who he observed painting a re-creation of an early 1970s Spiderman-themed rock album cover. “That was the first time I ever saw anyone draw, so I began creating characters and stories,” Stanisci said.
When Stanisci was 21, he met the famed comic book artist Klaus Janson. “I became his protégé and learned everything from him,” he said.
Today, Stanisci works for DC Comics and IDW Publishing as an inker, penciller, and a writer. His book Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond reached the top spot on The New York Times bestseller list for graphic novels. His upcoming projects for DC Comics are Constantine and Batman Eternal. At IDW Publishing, he has worked on Judge Dredd and The X-Files.
Stanisci’s audience has referred to his theme as shadowy and moody.
“If there is a theme, it is the art of visual storytelling,” he said, comparing himself to a film's director. “You are not just dealing with one image on a page like a painter, but it’s a medium where you create six to eight images per page that work together, are visually interesting, and communicate clearly what the writer of the story intended. That is almost unnatural in the order of art.”
To sign up for a consultation or a course, visit their website or call (718) 261-2237.