By Cathleen Leitch
A Rider alumnus has taken his art to new heights — billboard heights, to be exact. After receiving an e-mail from a friend who works for the New Jersey Arts Council, Mark Oberndorf, class of ’83, decided to enter an art competition. The winning piece would be erected as a billboard in Palisades Park on Route 46.
Hosted by Palisades Insurance Company, the contest was held for artists and photographers living in New Jersey who specialized in state subject matter, Oberndorf said.
After finding out his painting was one of 13 winning pieces, Oberndorf was “thrilled and excited.”
“It would be a great way to promote my art on a large scale,” he said.
However, according to his blog, when the day came for the billboard’s unveiling, the workers put up the wrong painting. Oberndorf asked a friend to drive the right painting up to Palisades Park, and from then on, everything went smoothly.
The piece was displayed from mid-August to mid-September on Route 46 East. He says the poster is now “down and sitting in my garage.”
Although he was a marketing student at Rider, Oberndorf has been painting and drawing non-stop since age 10.
Oberndorf considers himself a photorealist who works impressionistic brushwork into his designs, creating a realistic look. His art concentrates on areas and places in or around Bergen County, N.J., that show the history and culture of the neighborhood.
“I specialize in small businesses that have been around for decades and that may one day be closed and forgotten,” he said.
This inventive style may have helped him to win. Most of the winning entries were landscape photos, in contrast to Oberndorf’s urban-set painting. The Bendix Diner, located in Hasbrouck Heights, was the inspiration for his photorealistic piece. Photorealism can be considered a style of painting that depicts scenes using details and flat images to create the illusion of an actual photograph.
Oberndorf’s art can be found at the Kerygma Gallery in Ridgewood, N.J.
For more information on Mark Oberndorf or to see more of his artwork, visit www.bendixdiner.blogspot.com.