Mac Titmus, a local artist who also used art to raise money for local causes, died suddenly on Wednesday, June 12. He was 72.
Titmus was an artist who used his computer skills to make fantastical works of art that created an abstract reality for the viewer.
He described his own work as interpretive photography.
“In general, my work falls under the broad category of digital art while encompassing several techniques within it; Digital Painting, Digital Composite, Digital Illustration and Digital Photography. I have always been an innovator, constantly seeking to expand my medium,” his artist’s statement reads.
He cited abstract artists and impressionists like Jackson Pollock and Claude Monet as inspirations for his artwork.
A post on Titmus’ Facebook page from his family announced the news on Wednesday.
“It is with deepest sadness the family of Mac Titmus must inform his Facebook friends that Mac passed away this morning.”
The picture one gets of Titmus is never as abstract as his artwork.
People talk of mutual respect and friendships that grew from his charity, his philosophy, and his love of art. He was a force in the North Shore art community and was expanding his reach nationally.
He was involved in many local art organizations including multiple leadership positions at the North Shore Art Guild (NSAG). He served as president and at the time of his death he was vice president.
Chris Alexander, current president of the NSAG, was someone who had become friends with Titmus when they both first joined the guild and bonded with him over their artistic endeavors. His passing came as a shock.
“When his wife called me yesterday. I was literally speechless,” he told GreaterPortJeff.com. “Everybody feels the same way.”
Titmus, who lived in Coram, is survived by his wife, Mary, three children and three grandchildren.
He was described by many as an unassuming man who was humble about his accomplishments.
“He does stuff that just amazes people,” Alexander said. “People ask him, ‘How do you do this?’ They all marveled at the things he did.”
Alexander found a kindred spirit in Titmus when they met eight years ago at one of the monthly NSAG meetings. Both were self-taught artists whose work was abstract.
“We were very close artistically and personally,” he said.
Titmus produced his unique work by combining layers of photographs in a computer. According to Alexander, Titmus would subtract from the photographs and continually add more layers on top until he came up with his final piece, which was then printed on metal. It was a time-consuming and costly process, but the final results would put people who saw his work in awe of the result.
“I don’t know anyone who does anything remotely like it,” Alexander said.
story continues below
In the last few years, Titmus’ career had taken off — with multiple gallery showings on Long Island, New York City, California and Florida.
He has five works currently on exhibit in Cutchogue’s Alex Ferrone Gallery where owner Alex Ferrone said Mac was a person whose art and personality were almost at odds.
“I found Mac Titmus to be a very gentle person, which was sometimes in contrast with his vibrant and energetic works,” she said. “He was excited about his art, and as a gallery owner, I admired him for his focus to evolve as an artist by constantly experimenting and producing new works.”
As was evident in his work with NSAG, promoting other artists and helping them to improve their work arranging monthly critiques and demonstrations, he was an artist who cared about the community.
“He was always genuinely pleased to be exhibiting with us and supportively interacted with other artists he showed along with here,” Ferrone said. “It was a true pleasure to work with Mac and he will be missed greatly within the art community.”
Titmus’ art had a permanent place in Sidewalk Alley Gallery in Mount Sinai.
Owner Jane Fuhrer said that their relationship grew over the years.
“He brought a whole different perspective to me,” she said. “We would bounce ideas off each other.”
Titmus would come to Fuhrer with artistic ideas and, in turn, Fuhrer would pick his brain about her gallery. Even after 20 years in business, she says Titmus helped her gallery evolve into one that featured 100 percent local artists.
“Mac was a very positive force in molding my new business into one I wanted it to be. He was a mentor and advisor and a good friend.” she said. “We both grew from having met each other.
Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant called Titmus a “friend of the village.”
“Another artist soldier and angel lost,” she said.
Garant relayed a story about how he gifted her one of his pieces depicting a sunset when she commented on how much she admired it. Garant now has the artwork hanging in her office.
“Mac was brilliant in color and in life — one of the most generous, kind and talented humans I will ever have the pleasure of knowing and working with — his works and his contributions to our Village will be treasured forever,” she said.
NSAG posted about Titmus calling him “a phenomenal artist and a dear friend who has helped lead our group with many creative endeavors.”
“He will be missed.”
With NSAG, he was involved in multiple fundraisers for Stony Brook and Mather Hospitals.
“His big thing is charity and running all kinds of fundraisers for people,” Alexander said.
He served as director of “Artist United in the Fight against Breast Cancer,” a benefit for the Fortunato Breast Care Center at Mather Hospital and staged an exhibit called “Victors of Survival” at the Port Jefferson Village Center to benefit the center.
His work with breast cancer is personal, as both his mother and his wife were treated at Mather Hospital’s Fortunato Breast Care Center.
He also organized an art benefit called “Through the Eyes of a Child.” The show raised more than $20,000 for art therapy at Stony Brook Cancer Center.
“He put so much time and energy into it,” Alexander said. “It was so unbelievable”
This year, he oversaw the donation and installation of 50 pieces of art from 36 artists for the Stony Brook University Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.
“The installation has brightened the walls of several visitor lounges and 16 patient treatment rooms,” his website says.
Titmus graduated from Adelphi University with a Bachelor’s degree in English and and a masters degree in Education/Psychology. After retiring, he decided to pursue his love of art full time.
“Throughout the years art was always a stabilizing force, a nonjudgmental oasis to escape the rigors of daily life,” he wrote on his website.
His art has received numerous awards over the years. In 2019 he had already received 2nd Place from Fusion Arts Gallery in Palm Springs, CA in their Digital Arts & Photography Black & White 4th Annual Show. In January, he had also received an honorable mention in The Art Guild of Long Island’s 59th Long Island Artists Exhibition.
In addition to NSAG, Titmus was associated with many other arts organizations including the East End Photographers Group, Patchogue Arts Council, Port Jefferson – Northern Brookhaven Arts Council, Art League of Long Island, LIMarts, National Association of Photoshop Professionals and the National Education Association.
Sidewalk Alley owner Fuhrer said that Titmus’ work could be diverse yet a common theme was that each piece told a story, something that she thinks came from his love of words. The story in each piece of work appealed to collectors as well.
“People who like abstract work, for them it wasn’t just surface abstraction, it was almost like little stories in the abstract,” Fuhrer said. “His work has a lot of depth.”
After Titmus passed, a collector who came into her gallery wanted to buy another piece by the artist. One that was very different from another by him that the collector had previously purchased.
“She just couldn’t leave without the piece,” said Fuhrer. “The work was very vibrant and very alive. His work went from one spectrum to the other.”
Alexander said they bonded over their shared philosophy in artwork and their executive roles in NSAG but he there are many who never met Titmus who have been touched by his work both in art and charity.
“He is going to be missed by people who didn’t even know him,” he said.
Top: Courtesy photo of Mac Titmus