Joseph Fiedler
May 2008
New Sketchbook Images too!

Awhile back I bought my first Moleskine Sketchbook, you know, the one that Hemingway used.  Now I've become addicted to making pictures in them.  I draw mostly from 2 dimensional images, images that have already been translated from 3D to 2D.  Images like old Dick and Jane readers, my Golden Guides, a 1960 Matchbox Cars catalog, etc.  I also try to draw from real objects as well [much harder to do].

I read that as a superstitious Spaniard, Pablo Picasso thought that making pictures would help stave off death.  Here I can check it out @ Scandal, the Narrative Sketchbook and  Regular Sketchbook.  You can also look at the Sketchbook page on my website.

Marin Studio Visit: John Hersey

Bayside ArtBeat Berkeley had the opportunity to check out the studio of Bay Area illustrator John Hersey this sunny Saturday during the San Anselmo Open Studios tour.  Hersey, originally from Vancouver, BC, has been on the San Francisco scene for quite awhile and is considered to be one of the founding “fathers” of computer illustration.  Besides juggling illustration jobs for practically every major client in the universe, he also teaches “ digital tools” at The California College of Art [CCA] in addition to being a husband and father of four.  San Anselmo is a sleepy leftover hippy town nestled in the lush greenery of Marin County, just across the Golden Gate Bridge.  
Hersey's studio is part of the old Lansdale Station complex.
Hersey greeting a customer.
The artist pontificating.
Some small watercolors and a painted fan.
Some stuff...I think that's a check from a big client...
John's new limited edition mini-book THUMBWAR printed at the San Francisco Center for the Book.
A few of the many logos designed by Hersey.
The well behaved, happy kids.
Found the main offices of BURNING MAN nearby.

Quote:  " When you hear the term Small Business, well, illustrators are the smallest!"...J. Hersey

High Desert Piggybackin’

As I mentioned in my previous post, in 1996, I made a serious quality of life choice: I moved across the country to rural, northern New Mexico, where I didn’t know a single soul.  I was living in Pittsburgh, PA and had just divorced [18 years], had a lethal break-up and felt as if I needed to simplify and reorganize my life course. I chose to live amid the stark tranquility of western America’s vast High Desert, the very same desert that, as a child, had appealed to me in my Golden Books and coincidentally, the same desert used as a location for the filming of Denis Hopper’s epic film Easy Rider.  I could actually walk to the Hippy Commune site known as New Buffalo [Dennis stills maintains a house and studio in Taos] from my front door! I found a home at 7,000 feet above sea level with coyotes, jackrabbits and horny toads right in my yard. I was only a few miles from the Carson National Forest on the Western Range of the Sangre de Christo Mountains, halfway between US Hill and Outlaw Hill off NM Rt. 518.  A heartbeat away from a wilderness so vast as to be almost incredible. The population of the state of New Mexico is LESS than that of the county where I’m originally from...and New Mexico is the 5th largest state. I was so rural, that my house didn’t have a numerical address [I had to use a PO Box]. Since Fedex doesn’t do PO Boxes, I had my packages delivered to Herb’s Lounge and Mini-Mart out on the highway! Herb’s family had lived in the region for nearly 400 years and believe it or not, they still spoke Spanish! It was a rough spot.  The locals who drank there hated white people.  They are still mad about losing the war with Mexico.  Once, they broke the arms of 2 sheriff’s deputies in the parking lot.  Well, it IS the Wild West for sure!

But, New Mexico, as anyone who’s been there will tell you, is a magic place. Here is Mabel Dodge Lujan writing in 1917 about her first night in new Mexico;  “I had a sense of renewal and a new awareness...I lost all track of time and place.  I was an unidentified atom pressing forward in space, a wide perfumed space that was dotted with white stars, liquid and bright as dew.  I felt humble from a kind of unfamiliar richness and savor the universe possessed and as my body grew numb, my heart grew clear.”  Believe me, that isn’t bullshit!  Taos is the southern most point of the San Louis Valley.  The San Louis Valley is also known as “the mysterious valley” because there are more para-normal incidents reported there than anywhere else in the world!  UFO’s, Unidentified Animal Mutilations, Black Helicopters, Aliens [remember Roswell is in New Mexico-and so are Los Alamos, Alamogordo and White Sands]! Factoids: Buddy Holly and the Crickets, originally from Lubbock, TX, recorded their biggest hits in a room across the border in Clovis, New Mexico! Oh, yeah, and Scaryjoey was invented at ICON 2 which was held in Santa Fe [Bradlt Bralds gave the welcome speech.  I was the sergeant at arms].  It was the dawning of a new age.

From my desk I could hear roosters, donkeys, chapel bells and sometimes Native American drummers along with the aceqias of the Rio Chiquito in summer  [incidentally, there were a lot of gunshots as well].  I could see the Milky Way as I listened to the plaintive call of Coyotes on vivid, moonlit nights.  Halle Bopp was my friend. It was as nearly perfect a place to output as you could ever hope to find.  Besides a raft of editorial and corporate work, I did 3 children’s books [One of them was actually about New Mexico and it’s history and folklore] and filled a 7X10 foot storage space with paintings during my stay in the mountains.

Here are a few photos [converted from non-digital sources].
This was shot from my yard.
Also in my yard.
Nuestra Senora Dolores church in Arroyo Hondo, NM.
Photo by Sleep.
Near Acoma Pueblo.
Near Los Alamos in The Bandalier National Monument.
My house [it was 150 years old, the former studio of a Viennese painter].
Vanity [after Picasso], a 4X4 foot painting from the period.
Braldt Sighting!

I just got this in:  Braldt Bralds @ Meyer East Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

When I moved to New Mexico in the mid-nineties, there was one guy who was a touchstone to the industry for me and that was Braldt. [Dutch].  He and I had done a similar "escape" to the desert. He lives just outside Santa Fe with his wife Margaret and man, he knows everybody [he's Mr. Santa Fe]!  Braldt is a great guy and has more industry stories and of such high caliber that it makes your head spin.  Not as active in the industry as he used to be, Braldt continues painting away and showing here and there. Talk about "tight"!  Christ! This guy makes Hans Memling look loose! It must be the weather?!

Note: The Carol of "Carol's Apples" is fellow Santa Fean Carol Anthony-her painting of an apple is on the wall behind the bowl of fruit.

 I thought some of you might enjoy...
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Fiedler is teaching at TutorMill, an online mentoring site for students of illustration!