Greenport’s mural man, Terrence Joyce, likes to listen to Indian music in his home studio and use dance-like movements to achieve broad paint strokes.
This method, says the 68-year-old artist, is the best way to channel his inner spirit out onto a towering canvas.
Unveiled at Greenport’s St. Agnes R.C. Church last Sunday, his latest 42-by-78-inch mural, “My Kingdom Is Not of This World,” depicts three phases of Jesus Christ’s life.
The main focal point and centerpiece of the triptych shows Christ at his trial, standing before the Roman judge Pontius Pilate. In addition to angels and Jesus’ mother, Mary, Mr. Joyce has included the disciples and Mary Magdalene.
“I’ve never seen a picture with Christ before Pilate with Mary Magdalene and the mother,” said Mr. Joyce as he touched up the mural last week. “Mary Magdalene has a bad rap in Western culture, but she was with Christ throughout his whole mission and was the only one noted that was under the cross the whole time … The mother was staying only a couple of miles from Jerusalem, so she would be there. That’s my feeling.”
Over the course of eight months, Mr. Joyce has painted studies, or smaller versions, of the mural, to help him move the project along, and he has also drawn from live models.
Mr. Joyce went to a seminary high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, run by a monastery and later studied at the monastery’s novitiate in Verona, Italy. His most recent project is close to his heart because of his religious background, he said, noting that he enjoys painting spiritual imagery, such as angels.
“I believe there are many planes of existence that we all live on simultaneously,” he said.
The New York City-born artist first rented a summer home on the North Fork about 28 years ago in exchange for two paintings. In September 2012, he closed his downtown Greenport gallery after five seasons and has since helped organize the Greenport Maritime Festival’s first “Little Merfolk” contest this past September.
Mr. Joyce has freelanced as a muralist for nearly three decades. Some of his most notable works are displayed at Lincoln Center and in Central Park’s Wollman Rink. Locally, his murals are in Eastern Long Island Hospital’s chapel, Claudio’s restaurant in Greenport and Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport. In all, he says he has painted more than 200 murals.
He is also writing a book about his latest project to share tips on mural work.
Commenting on why he enjoys creating such large-scale paintings, Mr. Joyce said he believes the size of the artwork is uplifting — it forces your eyes to look up.
“My instinct is to paint big,” he said. “[Murals are] a way that people can surround themselves with something that’s of interest to them.”