Archives for the month of: March, 2012

I am a Yankee fan and it isn’t just because I was born in The Bronx.  I give thanks to my dear friend Allen Gimbel for this.  Neither my parents, nor my brother had any interest whatsoever in sports so when I suddenly took to reading the sports section and watching the games, they didn’t quite know what to make of that.

My mother grew up in The Bronx with three athletic brothers who would listen avidly to the games on the radio.  You can imagine how she felt having her daughter suddenly listening to “that drone”, which was how she referred to baseball broadcasts.  Phil Rizzuto?  A drone?

My dad grew up in The Bronx too but he was a NY Giants fan mainly because his older brother was.  As he got older, he lost all interest in the game.

But Baseball just took hold of my heart.

I began to read baseball books.  I was reading “Eight Men Out” by Eliot Asinof when I met my husband who was reading “Ball Four” by Jim Bouton at the time.   It was destiny.

For a while, I became obsessed with the story of the 1919 Black Sox scandal and read every book I could find, fact or fiction, about Shoeless Joe Jackson, including the wonderful novel called “Shoeless Joe” by W.P. Kinsella which the movie “Field of Dreams” was based on.

This image, which was done a number of years ago, was in honor of poor old Joe.

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Since the mid 1980’s I worked making a living more or less as an illustrator.

Many of my classmates from Parsons School of Design were doing paste up and mechanicals to make ends meet.  We were all required to learn how to do them in the likely event that we would need to make money doing something other than illustration.

I’m sure some of you know what paste up and mechanicals were but like the non repro blue pencil, stats and rubylith,  they’ve gone the way of the dinosaur.

I went to art school before computers you see, and I never could have imagined how the world would change.  Computers and digital art were just barely peeking over the horizon line in 1980.

I continued working on paper, doing my own color separations using register marks and white out when needed.  I began my career working mostly in black and white line but the most interesting work was in my sketchbooks.

That work, a sort of stream of consciousness hybrid of Aubrey Beardsley, Peter Max and Yellow Submarine wasn’t ever going to be “commercial” which I was told repeatedly but I persisted.  I eventually developed a style that was mostly line with spots of color.  It brought lots of nice compliments but not a tremendous amount of work.

Here is an example:

I worked for a few years as an assistant to Vicki Morgan, artist agent extraordinaire.

She and her partner, Gail Gaynin were always very generous with their advice and being there gave me invaluable access to the business side of illustration.  Soon I began to develop a more colorful style using collage and eventually the mixed media style that I use today.

Years went by and since work still came in I only barely felt the need to learn the software that was coming out but I was beginning to notice the changes in the field.  Scanning and email, pdf’s and jpgs…. Then a really bad economy and suddenly  it looked like my illustration career was over.  I felt digitally derailed.

So here I am…down but not out…not yet!

Image

Back in January of this year, I was involved in a multimedia presentation at a now defunct bookstore called The Raconteur.  Alex, the owner of the store wrote a creepy story that was inspired by one of my collages.  He then asked me to illustrate the story and asked my husband to write and perform some music to go with it..  Alex read the story, while Bruce played his music and I projected my artwork on a screen.

After the performance, Alex introduced me to his friend Chris Gash, another local illustrator.  Chris asked to see my original drawings for the story and he and I immediately started talking shop.  I realized it had been a very, very long time since I talked art directors and technique with another illustrator and it felt great.

About a month later, Chris and I went to see the Editorial/Book show at the Society of Illustrators, that venerable club with the red door on 63rd St. that my favorite teacher at Parsons, Jim Spanfeller called “an old men’s club”.   True to his word, there were more men than women in the show but more interesting to me was that probably 90% of the work had some digital aspect to it.

I’ve always been a traditional illustrator who worked on paper, liked to touch her materials and get her hands dirty.  The digital world to me was like the tortoise in the race.  Slow and steady and eventually overcoming the hare who rested on the grass, rapidograph in hand, never imagining the tortoise would win.  Maybe it was more like the mouse and  the ostrich….

I told Chris about my lack of digital experience and my desire to find a way to stay in my lifelong chosen career.  He offered to be my mentor of sorts.

First up was setting up a blog.

So here we go….new work, works in progress, hopefully a fresh start.  Thanks, Chris.