FAIRVIEW, N.J. -- He painted abstracts, figurative pieces and city landscapes, but Kevin Dougherty was just as much a fixture in Fairview and Cliffside Park as his subjects. That's what made his death of a brain aneurism late last month so shocking.
"We would run into each other at age 19 or 20, and he would see us playing stick ball and wanted to join us," recalled Fairview teacher Sam Juliano, who like Dougherty, has lived in the borough much of his life.
"He was friends with policemen, politicians, custodians," Juliano said.
After spending some time in Florida, Dougherty moved back in with his terminally ill mother.
He took odd jobs at Valente's delicatessen in Fairview and Scotty's Taxi in Cliffside Park, less than a mile apart on Anderson Avenue, and as a school bus aide. Occasionally, he played bass guitar.
But Dougherty's passion was painting.
"He came up to me and said, 'Yo, man, look what I got for you!,' " said fellow artist and band promoter Tarek Shaw. "He captured the view of a pier in Hoboken. I'm fortunate to have one of his pieces. I miss him."
Shaw introduced Dougherty to Godfrey Pereira, the cultural director of the Monroe Art Center in the mile-square city, where Dougherty participated in a few annual fall studio tours.
"I immediate fell in love with his cityscapes. They reminded me of [Jackson] Pollock, " said Kathi Nubile, co-owner of F&D Frame Co. in Cliffside Park, where some of Dougherty's work hangs. "We have received many positive comments on his work and even sold one."
Dougherty bought and sold art himself. Sometimes he gave it away.
"He was very particular about his art. He wanted to hang it very carefully and in certain ways in the studio," Pereira said.
"He was always shy about his work," Tarek noted. "He was worried if people would like it, but I encouraged him to display it."
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