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February 14, 2013

Painting his way from Haverhill to Key West

City native's island buildings popular with art lovers

(Continued)

At Haverhill High, art teacher Susan Paradis, whom LaPierre considered his mentor, emphasized “stick-to-it-iveness” — not just talking about art, but doing it. LaPierre learned that lesson well and spends most of his waking hours standing in front of a canvas with a paint brush in his hand.

”My motto is paint, paint, paint,” he said. “I got my work ethic from my dad, who worked hard all his life. My dad also taught me about giving back and how it’s all about community. Now that he’s retired, he’s still giving back by working every day at the food pantry at Sacred Hearts, making sure people in need don’t go hungry.”

Stephen LaPierre’s father, Bill LaPierre, manages the food pantry at Sacred Hearts Church. His mother, Karen LaPierre, was also a devoted volunteer at the pantry and her church. She died on a Sunday morning in December 2011. She and her husband were loading doughnuts into a car parked on South Main Street to serve following Mass, when she was struck from behind and killed by a car police said was driven by a drunken driver.

Susan Wadia-Ells of Manchester by the Sea met Stephen LaPierre in Key West in the summer of 2010 and has been following his Key West experience and helping him informally with public relations.

”Stephen has captured the hearts of people who live in Key West and who visit there and love it,” Wadia-Ells said. “A lot of people call his work a cross between Edward Hopper, an ash can school of painting, and Mario Sanchez, who is well known to the Key West area and who was a wood cutter who did primitive wood cuts that captured, in his way, the culture of Key West. Stephen, in his own way, is capturing the architecture and culture of Key West.”

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