June, 2017, Philomena Marano

Please welcome the fabulous Philomena Marano. I don’t think anyone has contributed more to Coney Island signage, design, and murals over the years. And her cut paper paintings are nothing short of amazing. As she puts it “It’s like drawing with an x-acto knife.” I’ve been a great admirer of hers for years. I love the way her work distills the settings in my book, freezes them in time, like a vivid memory or dream. She even has a Wikipedia entry.

Please visit her website to see more of her work and to purchase gorgeous prints.



Jones Walk
Hand cut color aid paper on board,31 X 32 inches Coney Island/American-Dream-Land series
Private collection

Hand cut paper & paint on board, 16 x 20 inches
American-Dream-Land series

Bill-Board-Walk Burning,Coney Island
Hand cut paper on board, 1988, 50 x 37 inches, American-Dream-Land series
Collection: Chase Bank

Lionel’s Chair
Hand cut color aid paper on board, 37 x 50 inches, Coney Island/American-Dream-Land series, Private collection

“Pop” Corn
Hand cut paper on board, 30 x 18 inches
Coney Island/American-Dream-Land series

I Wonder as I Wander
Hand cut color aid paper & painted canvas on archival board. 17.5 X 19.5 inches.
Coney Island / American-Dream-Land series

Ma Est Ide
A portrait of SPOOKARAMA, “World’s Longest Spook Ride”
Constructed collage: cut paper & paint on board: H 32″ X W 40″ X D 3″ inches, Coney Island/American-Dream-Land series

Miracles Only
Hand cut color-aid paper on board, 32 X 40 inches
Coney Island / American-Dream- Land series

Hand cut color-aid paper and painted canvas paper. 17″ X 17″
Coney Island American-Dream-Land series
Private collection

Wonder Wheel World Swing Low
Hand cut color aid paper on archival board, 32 x 40 inches,
Coney Island/American-Dream-Land series
Private Collection

Collaboration: Richard Eagan & Philomena Marano, Wood, paint, dimensional serigraph
H 52″ x W 39″ x D 8″

Nathan’s Alley
Hand cut color aid paper on board,
50 x 37 inches, Coney Island/American-Dream-Land series
Collection: Chase bank

Swingin’, Stationary
Hand cut color aid paper on board, 32 x 38 inches, 2009
Coney Island/American-Dream-Land series

Your Choice
Hand cut color aid paper on board, 37 x 50 inches, 1997
Coney Island/American-Dream-Land series

Off Season Predictions
Hand cut paper on board, 1990, 12 x 16″
Coney Island/American Dream-Land series,
Private collection

Hand cut paper on board, 9 x 12 inches, 1989
Coney island/American-Dream-Land series
Private collection

This Way Out
Cut paper on board, 41 x 54 inches,1985
Coney Island/American-Dream-Land series
Ltd edition serigraph 1987 available ( see “Editions” in menu)

Yellow Ride
Constructed collage: cut paper, paint & graphite on archival board, H 28 x W 25 x D 2.5 inches


GIANT LOLLY, homage to Philp’s
Installation: Hand cut paper & wood stick, foam board: H 78″ x W 26″ X D 12″, 2007
A salute to “Philip’s Candy,” Coney Island’s oldest candy shop which left its home in the Stillwell Avenue terminal due to a renovation. It was on view inside the renewed terminal, a tribute to vanished history, 2007-2008 (sponsored by the Coney Island History Project)

Steeplechase Come Back, 1983
Philomena Painting the mural pictured below.

Coney Island Hysterical Society mural, 2200 sq. feet, 1983
THE CONEY ISLAND HYSTERICAL SOCIETY was founded by Richard Eagan & Philomena Marano in 1982 as an artist/ activist group dedicated to Coney Island revitalization through the arts input.
The mural was the Society’s first major on site project, painted to act as a firewall to halt the decline enveloping the West end of the amusement area.
Many thanks to those who helped us realize this project: Nathan’s Famous, The Department of Cultural Affairs/ Materials for the Arts and special thanks to the memory of artist, JB Connors.
“Steeplechase Come Back’ appeared in Ric Burns 1991 PBS documentary, CONEY ISLAND
Brightwaters Press, 1989.


“Coney Island is a land of signs and wonders -where existential messages surface in the most unexpected places.”


Philomena has five pieces: portraits of SIGNS in cut paper & painted canvas, included in the Summer Show at ACA Galleries, 529 West 20th Street, New York, NY, 10011, date TBD. The frames were crafted by Huckster Fabrications and are authentic pieces from the Coney Island Riegelmann Boardwalk.

Below are 2 of them:

Safe-level-ride, 21 x 13 inches

Ride, 12 x 24 inches



SPOOKHOUSE was the Coney Island Hysterical Society’s most ambitious project, transforming the original Dragon’s Cave dark ride into a  “Ride thru Gallery in the Dark.”
“We had 10 different artist paint 10 cars at the SPOOKHOUSE (former Dragon ‘s Cave). Here’s mine: it connected to my installation inside the ride, of Spooky fish which I titled: ‘Spooquarium’”—Philomena


Below is Philomena’s whimsical animation, “Take Me There” currently on view at the Coney Island Museum at its exhibit “5 cents to Dreamland.” Just click on the arrow in the center to view it.

My friends and I were there in May, 2017 and the exhibition was wonderful.





Artist Philomena Marano is a daughter of Brooklyn. She holds a BFA from Pratt Institute, is an intimate of the visual poetry of Coney Island, and is a master of papier collé, the elegant cut paper technique she learned as a studio assistant to preeminent artist Robert Indiana

Her acclaimed series, “American- Dream-Land,” a decades-spanning project of papier collé originals and limited edition prints, penetrates the soul of Coney Island to reveal its twin promises of candy-colored paradise and gritty raw excitement. Her ornate compositions are cut out of “color-aid” paper – a type of paper coated with vibrant screen printers ink, then glued

to a board piece by piece.

  Marano’s work on Coney Island themes runs deep beginning in the late ’70s as it ranges from studio work to unprecedented on site projects with the 

Coney Island Hysterical Society.

Her work has been exhibited by Tabla Rasa GalleryACA GalleriesPrince Street Gallery, Smart Clothes Gallery, City Lore Gallery, the Municipal Art Society, the Museum of the City of New York, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and the Coney Island Museum among others in the New York area and at the George Krevsky Gallery in San Francisco and are also represented in private, corporate and museum collections including the Brooklyn Museum.

 “American Dream-Land” and Marano’s work as a co-founder (with artist Richard Eagan) of the Coney Island Hysterical Society were featured in Charles Denson’s award winning book “Coney Island Lost and Found” (Ten Speed Press, Berkeley/Toronto, 2002). Additional publications featuring Marano and “American Dream-Land” include Amusing the Zillion, 24/7 Magazine, the New York Times, the Daily News and others.

Her current work expands into the larger city, exposing elements of urban life: the underappreciated grace of an out-of-the-way tire shop; the disquieting lure of an exit sign at night. In addition to creating papier collé images for this examination of the city’s overlooked beauty, she is also working on a cut-paper animation, “Take Me There,” a fantasy inspired by both her early train rides to Coney Island and a proposal for the Franklin Avenue subway. The “Take Me There” trailer is posted for viewing on You Tube.



















Posted in: Changing Gallery


  1. Margrit Dencher says:

    I long to go on the Yellow Ride…. what an amazing picture!
    Bravo Philomena

  2. Willie Wood says:

    These are amazing. Bravo!!!

  3. marilyn says:

    These are terrific. I wish Steeplechase would come back. Thanks for posting this wonderful art.

    • Sheila says:

      Thanks so much. Steeplechase is gone, but there’s a whole new amusement center. See Jim Blythe’s exhibition.

  4. Paige says:

    Love all the signs arrows, eyes! THIS WAY OUT. EXIT, SHOOT. I especially like the burning UNGUENTINE lady diving into the KLARNET BATHS.

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