Designing Behind the Scenes for Almost a Half Century
Mary Prenon | January 20, 2021
Most readers of Real Estate In-Depth may not know Bart D’Andrea, but people have been seeing his work every month for the past 43 years. The graphic designer responsible for creating the look and feel of the association’s award-winning newspaper is also an accomplished artist, author, college professor, lecturer, Chi Gong instructor and former U.S. Marine sergeant.
D’Andrea’s artwork has been featured at showings throughout the tri-state area, and he has taught graphic design for more than 17 years at New York University in Manhattan, as well as other colleges and schools. He is also the founder of Meadow Art and Design Studio, based in New Jersey, and over the past 40 years, he has designed newspapers, brochures, books, catalogs, advertising, and even graphic panels for custom designed helicopters. He counts MasterCard as one of his many corporate clients.
D’Andrea began his association with the former Westchester County Board of Realtors in 1978, starting with the design of Westchester Realtor, the forerunner of Real Estate In-Depth. “Back then, the publication had no color photos and was more or less just about the Realtors, with no hard or breaking news,” he recalled. “When John Jordan came on as editor, all of that changed.”
The two worked together with former Association CEO Gil Mercurio, to redesign the newspaper and add breaking news stories not only about real estate, but on legislation affecting the industry, as well as regional and national trends. Real Estate in Depth was officially launched in 1996.
“John and I hit it off immediately,” said D’Andrea. “He was incredibly professional and his writing ability completely elevated the newspaper. I never had an editor like him. When an editor and art director can actually talk to each other, that’s a good thing!”
D’Andrea grew up in northern New Jersey and served as a sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps from 1964 to 1970. After graduating with an M.A. in Fine Art from Montclair State University in 1976, D’Andrea worked with several clients before starting his own business. One of his biggest was MasterCard, for which he designed all of their training and operations manuals. Another notable client was King’s Food Markets, which serves the tri-state area. The logos D’Andrea designed are still being used today.
His wife, Sylvia, is also his business partner. The two met years ago in Florida, while they were both on vacation. Forty-seven years later, they’re still together. “Not only are we married but we also work together every day, so I guess it worked out OK,” he laughed.
Over the years he has also shared his knowledge of art and graphic design as an adjunct professor with New York University in Manhattan, State University of New York/ Kingsborough College in Brooklyn, Bergen Community College in Paramus, and many others. “My biggest enjoyment is teaching,” he said. “I’m actually most comfortable being in front of a group of people.”
The author of “An Artist’s Opinion,” D’Andrea has judged art shows and given lectures at various organizations, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Guggenheim Museum, and MoMA. He has spoken to artists and business groups on more than 65 different artists and art movements. “I’ve talked about everything from ancient cave paintings to modern art,” he noted.
In fact, his “man cave” in his Princeton, NJ home’s basement serves as his personal art gallery, featuring his own works. A Picasso fan, D’Andrea’s art work consists of abstract and expressionism paintings, as well as some sculptures. His work has been on display at the Kotinsky Gallery in Pompton Lakes, NJ, the Westchester County Center in White Plains, the Bishop House in Saddle River, NJ, the Gotham Gallery in Manhattan, and many other locations.
D’Andrea credits the practice of Chi Gong, the precursor to Tai Chi, with keeping him so focused with his many endeavors. Now a Certified Advanced Level Four Chi Gong Instructor, he practices every morning to keep both body and mind in shape. “I first started doing Chi Cong after leaving the military as a way of working out every day,” he remembered. “It’s an energy flow throughout the body, and while it’s slow and methodical, it’s very beneficial”
Chi Gong, dating back more than 5,000 years ago in China, is known for rejuvenating the body and mind and is used by some five million people in the U.S. alone. “You do feel differently afterward, but it doesn’t happen overnight,” explained D’Andrea. “I think it’s been especially helpful during this pandemic. A lot of people often equate it to standing meditation.”
Chi Gong has also helped to make 43 years of newspaper design seem like something new every time. “It’s such a fun thing to do for me,” said D’Andrea. “I enjoy taking all of the elements of a page and putting it together.”
In his free time, he and his wife like to hike locally and travel, although those plans have been put on hold now due to COVID. They have been to France, England, Austria, Germany, Morocco and of course, his favorite destination—Italy. While he waits for the world to re-open, D’Andrea has set his sights on the Princeton Art Museum, where he will apply to be a docent. “After all this time, I still look for new and exciting things to do,” he said.