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Glens Falls artist releases children's book

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GLENS FALLS — A Glens Falls artist, recently named best in the region by Post-Star readers, has released his first book — a children’s book titled “Colorworld” he both wrote and illustrated.

Anthony Richichi, who the paper featured last summer, said the book is about a fifth-grade kid named Henry who loves to draw, in part to escape the bullies.

The early pages of the book start off with minimal color, but as Henry draws more and more scenes for his imaginary “Captain Tony” character and then finds colored pencils and markers in the attic, the pages become more vivid and pop with color.

Asked if the book is autobiographical, Richichi said, “For sure. There’s a little of it.”

“I was always passionate about making art as a kid. I was never really bullied per se, but felt like a little bit of an outsider,” he said. “Being able to use art as a launching pad for a career and changing my world, I definitely put those similarities into him. Harnessing imagination and using it to elevate yourself.”

Richichi also cleverly included several of his original paintings as artwork on Henry’s bedroom walls in the book, including his take on a Van Gogh, and he revisits the work at the end of the book on a page dubbed “Henry’s Bedroom Gallery.”

“The first instinct was, ‘Oh shoot, I have to design this kid’s bedroom.’ I did it in comic books years ago, putting my art on walls of office buildings. I was like, ‘I’m going for it.’ I thought it would make a cool conversation piece when I talk to kids and do book readings. I can bring the art that’s in the book.”

Well-known in area art circles, Richichi is also curating the annual “Tooning-In Gallery” as part of the Adirondack Film Festival that starts Thursday. From sneak preview screenings, he and five other artists have created paintings and drawings for each of the films being shown, based on movies scenes they watched.

Their work will be hung in the Charles R. Wood Theater and proceeds of sales — usually between $35 and $50 — go to the artists. Many of the works are gobbled up by the producers and actors, he said.

“It’s fun to be able to see them light up when they see what we did, or see the actors say, ‘Oh my God, someone drew me from the scene I was in,’” he said. “I’ve seen directors brought to tears.”

Richichi will also be a featured artist at the LARAC gallery on Nov. 5-6 where upward of 50 of his original paintings will be on display and for sale, along with copies of “Colorworld,” which his niece Olivia also stars in, by the way.

“It’ll be just my work through the whole gallery,” he said proudly. “It’s going to feel good.”

Phil Casabona, curator of the LARAC gallery for four years, spoke glowingly about Richichi’s work and marveled at how he is both self-taught and morphing and combining various genres these days. He also likes that he’s making a go of it as an artist, which isn’t easy.

He said Richichi was always good with “dreamworld surrealism like Salvador Dali,” but said he’s branching out into landscape work and in many cases combining the two.

“It’s been really fun to watch his work grow,” Casabona said. “His work is great and he’s really coming into his own.”

The opening reception for the LARAC show, dubbed “Lost in the Skies,” will be Friday, Nov. 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. and continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Signed copies of “Colorworld,” which is a hardcover book, are available through Richichi at colorworld.adventures@gmail.com for $18.99 but will soon be available in the LARAC gift store and other area outlets, he said.

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