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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Wine, cheese and political paintings

The event featured election art in the style of Giuseppe Arcimboldo and a safe place to experience the election. MATEJ NOVAK/FLICKR VIA CC BY NC ND 2.0

Although Election Day had everyone on their feet, the Political Portraits Wine and Cheese Reception at Toast Coffeehouse in Port Jefferson on Nov. 8 gave people a new way of looking at politicians. 

On Election Day, people were out voting and worrying what the results were going to be. The reception gave people a chance to take a step back from the stress of the election and view it in an artistic way.

“We wanted to create a safe place and the art embraces both sides and as a coffeehouse setting we always felt that it would be an opportune time that people would come and discuss it,” Terry Scarlatos, owner and manager of Toast Coffeehouse, said.

Art was displayed all around the restaurant featuring Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and other politicians. The artwork curated by Studio E in Miller Place was in the style of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, a painter well known for using objects, such as fruit and vegetables, in his portraits. 

“There’s a way to always celebrate the artist in this particular group show and it’s our goal to allow artists to come together, to discuss their work, meet each other and collaborate,” Scarlatos said.

Ben Owens, an artist featured at the event, shared his “Pie Hole” painting at the eatery, which included both Clinton and Trump made out of food. The piece had Trump’s hair painted as pasta and his suit painted as blueberries.

Each piece of artwork had prices listed next to where they were displayed. Owen’s “Pie Hole” painting was the only one sold at the event.

Several of the artists that created the paintings came to the reception to enjoy the festivities and to meet other fellow artists. Some of these creators were Michelle Stylianou, Stony Brook alum fine arts major, Katherine Kaiser, Stony Brook graduate fine arts student and Stelios Stylianou, Stony Brook alum studio art major. 

“My art has been in here before and some of them have been showing here since 2009,” Michelle Stylianou said. “I’m still practicing my art and I try to make paintings whenever I have down time. My husband and I own Studio E Art Classes in Miller Place together.”

Not every artist in the coffee house was aware that the event was going to be held on Election Day, however it did make the night interesting for them.  

“I didn’t expect it to happen on actual Election Day but this is exciting and I feel like this is very fitting for today,” Kaiser said.

One display of art that caught people’s attention was the recently named sculpture, “Election Night” by Stelios Stylianou. It consisted of both Clinton and Trump drawn on a black background which was meant to look like both candidates on television. The sculpture also featured two large three-dimensional hands that reached out from the top of the piece. One hand was used to represent each candidate and had the names of some of their sponsors hanging from the hands’ fingers with string.

Stelios Stylianou placed his computer in the center of the sculpture in order to watch the results live on NBC News.

“It’s a way to display the candidates,” Stelios Stylianou said.

While everyone was glancing over the artwork and watching the results from the “Election Night” sculpture, guests were able to enjoy a glass of wine that was served along with a few choices of cheese and crackers and enjoy each others company. 

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