Phil Cusumano, a marine artist and sea captain, has lived the life of his subject matter, commercial fishing. He is currently an artist member of the American Society of Marine Artists (A.S.M.A.), a Professional Artist member of the International Society of Marine Painters (I.S.M.P.) and seARTS (Society for the Encouragement of the Arts). His work documents the fishing industry from the era of the tall ships to the present day. His images range from life aboard a fishing dragger to the Gloucester skyline in 1905. A whale’s tail breaking the water jumps out of another image, while a more serene image depicts a fishing vessel out of the water awaiting repair at the Gloucester Marine Railways. Phil is also a skilled still life artist. His still life paintings have the same level of detail you have come to expect from him. They are as realistic and detailed as his marine art.
Born and raised in Gloucester, MA Phil has had a long love affair with the ocean. His father owned and operated commercial fishing vessels in Gloucester for fifty years. At the early age of thirteen, Phil started fishing during summer vacations on his father’s commercial draggers. He graduated from Gloucester High School in 1969 and fished full time on his father’s boats. “But I was always drawing, even out at sea”.
As a boy he loved to create drawings of automobiles, which he would send to General Motors in Detroit. He states “they even sent a letter back stating they liked my designs and that I had a mastery of pencil sketching. They even wanted to send me to school in California”.
He honed his artistic skills when he studied at the Vesper George School of Art in Boston in 1965. As part of commercial and design programs he learned more about how to incorporate design composition and illustration in his work. He also worked with Rockport artist, John Terelak.
He soon felt the call of the sea and returned to commercial fishing and became the captain of his father’s second boat. His experiences in commercial fishing span nineteen years and took him from Portland, ME to Martha’s Vineyard, MA to 200 miles offshore.
As the commercial fishing industry became more and more challenged with government regulations and fishing stocks dwindled, Phil decided to put his creative art background to work and opened up a small business as a graphic designer.
The fine art in which Cusumano is now enmeshed is a result of hard work, both from the realities of making a living from the sea and now recreating those scenes with a paintbrush.
Having lived the life of his paintings and etchings, he invites the viewer on board to witness the many intricacies of fishermen’s daily lives. His attention to detail, historical accuracy and personal knowledge are embodied in the specific nature of his works. There is a realistic quality to his work which is best described as photo realism.
Cusumano has won many awards and acclaim for his paintings and mirror etchings. His works are part of the permanent collections of the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, MA as well as other private collections.
The Phil signs all of his paintings with signature “Filippo”, which is his name as it appears on his birth certificate. “I use that name for all my art work,” he said. “ I was born with it and I was born with a love of drawing.”
Due to his continuing love and passion for ocean , he pursued his Captain’s license and then became cofounder of North Star Yacht Deliveries, Inc., and On the Water Training, “a state of the art” delivery and teaching service.
The delivery service specializes in the transport of large and small yachts, power and sail. The teaching is specifically designed to individual training of the boat owner on board his or her own boat to assist in making boating a safe and pleasurable boating operation and experience.
Although you can still catch Captain Phil on the water either delivering a boat on the East Coast from Maine to Florida or being captain of a 60’ yacht in Boston Harbor you will most likely find him in his art studio devoted to his painting. He is intent on capturing the beauty of Cape Ann as well as documenting the fishing industry past and present. ~_/) ~
He is currently a Professional Artist member of the International Society of Marine Painters (I.S.M.P.),
an artist member of the American Society of Marine Artists (A.S.M.A.) and
artist member or the Marblehead Art Association as well as a
artist plus member of the Newburyport Art Association.
He is currently a member of seARTS (Society for the Encouragement of the Arts).
You can contact Capt. Phil by phone at 978-281-3023 or snail mail at
Capt. Phil Cusumano 20 Grapevine Road, Gloucester, MA 01930.
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