Pamela Talese has been painting full time, mostly outdoors, since 2000. Living in New York City, she has found her muse in old icons of the manufacturing and shipping industries, so emblematic of the twentieth century U.S, which have begun to decline and even disappear.

This billboard for Eagle Electric Manufacturing Company, which was founded in 1920, no longer exists.

“What strikes me about difference between the billboard advertisements of Eagle era and those of today, is not only the loss of the ‘hand painted sign’ but the change in the products themselves and their target market. In neighborhoods where light industry once thrived, these well-crafted and exuberant signs reflected local pride in the manufacture of solid, useful products. Such products were often purchased by the same community that made them: the working middle class. The situation is very different today.”

She would take her painting supplies in a bike trailer to the Brooklyn Navy Yard for her “Working Waterfront” series. This 14×20 painting is entitled The Freddy K. Her most recent series, Rust Never Sleeps: Corrosion and Renewal in Maritime/Industrial New York, also focuses on the Navy Yard.

“What makes the plein-air approach of painting more dynamic to me is not only the changes of weather and light, but also encounters with various tenants at the Yard and conversations that help to inform my understanding.”