Diane Mayo and Rex Lau

Diane Mao, Rex Lau

Diane Mao, Rex Lau

Meet The Locals by Jamie Bufalino - some of the original characters who make Montauk unique..

At the risk of making your reasons for venturing out to Montauk seem a tad mundane, here’s what brought husband-and-wife artists Rex Lau and Diane Mayo to the tip of Long Island: “We came out here to look after Irish Wolfhounds for the playwright Edward Albee,” says Lau–a painter whose work has been exhibited at esteemed institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim. Lau first met the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright through artists’ circles in New York City. “Edward traveled a great deal in those days. Diane and I were living in New York–it was 1979–and we wanted to get out. So we made a trade with him–we’d look after his dogs in exchange for a studio. We only intended to stay a year, but at the end of the year we looked at each other and said, ‘Well, I don’t want to go back to New York.’” 

These days, the couple spend most of their days in that same studio. Mayo focuses on creating ceramic sculptures–which have been featured in solo gallery shows in New York and abroad–on one side of the space, while Lau takes to his canvases on the other. “I get up in the morning, I take the dogs for a 3-mile walk on the beach, and then I come here and work,” says Mayo. The duo’s creative focus makes them the perfect caretakers for The Barn, the Edward F. Albee Foundation’s Montauk-based residency program, which is intended to “serve writers and visual artists from all walks of life, by providing time and space in which to work without disturbance.” Although neither Lau nor Mayo had ever even visited Montauk before deciding to call it home, they’ve been thrilled with that decision for the past 36 years. “As soon as I arrived, I saw that it was wonderful, I loved it,” says Mayo. Adds Lau, “You know what it is, the first day I came here, I got off the train, looked around and I just felt right at home. And that still happens whenever I leave and come back.”