On the Cover: January 2022

Well, Motif readers, it’s a new year. Many of us will embark on the week-long journey of deciding to become better people in 2022, realize that it doesn’t make a ton of sense to use a symbolic flip of the calendar to reset our lives, and be back to our good ol’ selves before the snow from last week’s storm melts. 

January means the Health Issue for Motif, and that’s exactly what Umberto Crenca, this month’s cover artist, wanted to portray in his still-life: all of the healthy things we seek in the opening days of a new year. 

“It’s the idea of exercise and eating well. It’s not complicated,” the founder of AS220 said when asked about his piece. “I start my day with fruit and yogurt every day. I lift weights too, which is pretty good for 71.” 

While Crenca doesn’t usually do still-life paintings, we were honored when he agreed to do our cover. The well-known Providence native recently transitioned out from a 35-year career leading the multi-million dollar PVD arts organization AS220 and has been enjoying a blissful retired life as a full-time artist, painting a series of tightly-cropped pedestrian views of the Creative Capital in a series titled “Divine Providence.” 

“I think for any level of meaning or profoundness, you have to know what you’re talking about,” Crenca said. “I’ve lived in every neighborhood in this city. I love this city. I love the nooks and crannies and alleys and bodegas. When I do these, I’m speaking from the heart.” 

How long will he keep going? “Until I lose interest or until I drop dead.”