Constance Del Nero

Junk Mail Fish 1
18″x24″; collage and acrylic on masonite panel; 2015

Constance Del Nero
Easton, Maryland, USA


I am a quirky artist who is always interested in looking at the world around me and noticing unusual details. I work in many mediums, including graphite, coloured pencil, printmaking, clay, collage and assemblage. Many of my works are hybrids that combine multiple techniques.

Lately, I have grown very concerned about the environment and the profligacy with which we treat our planet. The amount of waste triggered by materials designed to engage us for just a few seconds–or minutes at the most–is staggering. I create art out of these cast-off materials that functions on multiple levels–first as visually engaging works and second as commentary on contemporary society. I am currently at work on multiple series that focus on the environment. One of these is called “Junk Mail Fish”.

The Junk Mail Fish project grew out of a program that I designed for local schools at the request of an environmental organization, the Midshore Riverkeepers. I teach children how to draw a fish, then cut it out and collage it with unwanted materials, usually mail, ads and catalogs. Over the years, I have watched students create all kinds of fantastic fish from cookie fish to sports fish.

Two years ago, I decided to create my own junk mail fish. I tend to favor fish made from various kinds of food, clothing, and body parts, although my fish are full of many surprise details. I begin by painting Masonite panels with acrylics to form the backgrounds. Then I piece together cut paper and collage the fish on top. Completed panels are arranged on larger panels to create an “ocean.”

Have you ever noticed how much French fries resemble anemones?


I was born and raised in New York City and the richness of imagery, cultural experiences, and level of excitement I encountered on a daily basis have definitely shaped me. Working with my hands has always held special meaning for me. From age 3 on (when I made a drawing that I called Elevator Filled with Cough Drops and Buttons, of which my father was enormously proud), I have felt a deep sense of satisfaction when working with art materials. There is always a feeling of magic in transforming “ingredients” into a finished product.

Over the years, I have attended many schools (New York Univserity, The Art Students League, L’Accademia delle Arti Applicate (in Milan, Italy) and Lesley University). I have visited more than a dozen countries, taught English abroad, owned a restaurant, written non-fiction, taught drawing, illustrated books and created art in many different styles. I currently work as Director of ArtReach and Community Programs at the Academy Art Museum in Easton, Maryland.

My work has been in over a dozen shows in the U.S. and Italy. I am represented by the Green Phoenix Gallery in Easton, Maryland. One of my illustrated books, Risotto: A Taste of Milan (Harper and Row, 1988) was chosen as a “star” by The New York Times. The other, The Essential Kitchen Gardener (Henry Holt, 1990) was selected as a Best Bet by New York magazine. More recently (2012), my drawing, Chance Encounters with La Fornarina, won a prize for best drawing at the Academy Art Museum’s annual members’ exhibition.


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Junk Mail Fish 2
18″x24″; collage and acrylic on Masonite panel; 2015

Junk Mail Fish 3
18″x24″; collage and acrylic on Masonite panel; 2015

Junk Mail Fish 4
18″x24″; collage and acrylic on Masonite panel; 2015

Junk Mail Fish (detail)
4″x6″; collage and acrylic on masonite panel; 2015