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Joseph Konopka Papers, 1965-2003

Biographical Note

Joseph Konopka (b. 1932) is a photo-realist and landscape painter who also works as a scenic artist for NBC-TV in New York City. He lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.
A native of Philadelphia, Konopka was raised in Jersey City, New Jersey. In 1954, he graduated from Cooper Union School of Art and the following year completed a set design course at Columbia University. He began working NBC-TV in 1952 as a paint boy, mixing paints and washing brushes for the scenic artists, a position he held for nine months. Konopka later joined the United Scenic Artists Local USA 829 and rose from apprentice (1953) to his current position as a scenic artist at NBC-TV. He has worked for many NBC-TV shows including "Late Night with David Letterman" (1982-1993) and "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" (1993-present).
Konopka often paints in ongoing series. His work process involves taking slides of his subjects from various angles and distances to determine a suitable composition or composite view. Subject matter for Konopka's series includes images of his wife Casimera (Casey) at the Jersey shore, in everyday poses, or putting on makeup; views from the top of the World Trade Center; and lighthouses. For the Art People Cutout Series (circa 1971-1979), Konopka painted portraits of prominent figures in the New Jersey art world such as museum directors (including Sam Miller, Newark Museum) and curators.
Konopka has been represented by Razor Gallery, New York City (circa 1971-1979), Capricorn Galleries, Bethesda, Maryland (circa 1980-1996), and Nathans Art Gallery, West Paterson, New Jersey (circa 1986-1997). From 1976-1985, he served as vice president of the Associated Artists of New Jersey.
Konopka lives in Glen Ridge, New Jersey.