Those people who regularly watch council and other public meetings broadcasted from City Hall are already familiar with the mural which the city commissioned from Maiorano - a 20-by-7-foot mural of the New York skyline, including the World Trade Center as seen from Bayonne.
Yet Maiorano, who has lived in Bayonne since 1991, has done many other works over the years and has become a local favorite for painting scenes in and around Bayonne. Many of these scenes are now part of a collection of prints she has on display in Chez Marie.
Once a staff concept illustrator and package designer for Revlon Inc., she has been a regular exhibitor around Bayonne and Hudson County, and has been a freelance illustrator and artist on her own since 2001. From 1996 to 2006, she was the owner of the Studio Window, a storefront gallery on West 22nd Street, where she also offered instruction in drawing and watercolor painting. She also served as volunteer and art teacher for the Baber Simpson Foundation, planning drawing activities as well as working with autistic children and their parents.
"I've been an artist all my life," Maiorano said during a recent interview. "I'm always doing it."
Inspired by her surroundings
A board member of the Hudson Artists of New Jersey and the Ocean County Artists Guild, Maiorano said many local scenes - as well as the seaside - have inspired her. She said she began to think of art as a serious profession while still in high school. She later attended the Philadelphia College of Art, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from Parson's School of Design in New York City.
She said she is often inspired by themes of nature, community and expressions of faith.
"I am excited to paint images that reflect nature's creativity and inspiration, which are so wonderfully evident along New Jersey's Atlantic shoreline," she said. "I grew up in Ocean County. I continue to spend as much time as possible at its beaches and bays."
Some of the prints she sells at Chez Marie, however, are clearly influenced by local scenes, especially Bayonne Bridge and the remarkable landscape at Stephen Gregg County Park.
Like most children, Maiorano grew up with crayons and coloring books, but as a teenager she found herself admiring the illustrations she found in literature, especially covers of science-fiction books and old engravings like those of the original Winnie the Pooh. Music also inspired her.
She started illustrating before college, although in high school she loved biology and thought she would take up a career somehow connected to it.
"But then I realized the reason I liked biology is because I had to draw things for many of the labs," she said.
Where she lives tends to inspire her, Maiorano said.
"It helps shape what I create. I live in Bayonne now, before that I lived at the shore," she said.
Many of Maiorano's works depict scenes that are passing away in Bayonne. So in this regard, she is capturing a moment in time. This is also true of commissioned works, in which people hire her to draw a particular scene which they want preserved. Sometimes people keep them, but often these are gifts to sons or daughters who no longer live in Bayonne.
"It's an honor for me to be invited into someone's personal life," she said. "I like doing personal things for that reason."
But many of the prints Maiorano sells around town are images of the community and her explorations. Sometimes, she draws things that have special meaning to her, such as an old sycamore tree that represented a neighborhood, growth and history. Many of Maiorano's works have such symbols in them, representing something else in her mind.
"When I was designing packages, there was no symbolic content," she said. "I just drew them. I liked to draw. But when you draw a willow as if it were a living being, you pretty much fall into that place."
These personal landscapes can include anything, from interiors to exteriors.
"Some people want me to paint their backyards," she said. "Sometimes people want me to paint a view from a particular window."
Maiorano said she is very fond of local history, which explains why she has drawn the lighthouse at Robbin's Reef. Other works include, naturally, images of Bayonne Bridge.
Previously, her work has appeared in the Atlantic Gallery in its "Small Miracles" exhibition in New York, and in a two-person show at the Rotunda Gallery in Jersey City.
She works in a variety of mediums, including oils and watercolors.
Commissioned portraits start at about $200, but prints of works on sale at Chez Marie start at about $25.
Chez Marie Café is located at 10 E. 22nd St.