Yup, I'm procrastinating on something or other and YOU are the beneficiaries of my idle mind and time! If you too have time to waste, consider entering a new Drawger Show: "YOU MAKE MAKU". It's a poster design using the text from an email I received this this morning for a "hot stock tip". Here is the Call for Entries statement: "Inside every illustrator is a designer yearning to be free. Inside every designer is an illustrator who loves type. Here's a chance to let these two sides of your personality integrate, ingratiate, romp and play in the fabulous Drawger art playground!"
The commercial/marketing environment usually demands and requires "short term" results in its employment of the skills of design, advertising and illustration. In most instances these conditions create ephemeral results. It is therefore the rare exception of work which demonstrates timelessness and integrity. Jerome Snyder's art exhibits these qualities of "staying power."
Snyder was a man of of superior intellect which he mixed in equal amounts with wit, wisdom, craft and skill. Central to his process was the "idea of an idea." Good ideas enjoy a long life, and represented on these pages are examples of Snyder's thinking coupled with his extraordinary craft. Some pieces shown here were produced about forty years ago and the most recent about fifteen years ago, and yet it all holds up!
Not shown here is the product of Jerome Snyder as Art Director of Scientific American and Sports Illustrated, two distinguished U.S. publications. His literary accomplishments are absent as well, although his literacy is evident in many of his illustrations.
His artistry mirrored his personality as art invariably mirrors the artist. The multi-faceted skills and intelligence of Jerome Snyder are amply reflected in his whimsical, painstakingly careful paintings and drawings.
One sees in an earlier period of his work, drawings of rather abstract shapes and forms where the influence of Miro and Gustav Klimt is visible. Invariably, they delineated humorous and decorative objects, figures or both. Upon closer look one notes larger forms are composed of a myriad mosaic of countless multi-colored smaller forms that are further made up of gemlike, multi-colored forms within multi-colored forms. A Snyder pointillism of sorts.
A delightfully squat shape is revealed as a figure with a face somewhat flesh-colored. But upon closer observation the skin tones turn out to be composed of triangular or square or rectangular shapes made up of bits of pink, yellow, red, probably green, purple and blue.
Another side of Snyder is his delicate and extremely meticulous line drawings. The absence of color provided him with the opportunity to, demonstrate his control of line, his studied craftsmanship, and his thoughtfulness of interpretation as well as a surprising ability for caricature.
The third aspect of Snyder's art is a later development. A new mood evolves. Refreshing naturalistic paintings of nature's bounty: fruit, fish, flowers, crustaceans --a sudden beautiful realism executed with a sure lightness of touch, in color and rendition. A demonstration of enormous technical facility combined with a poetic reality.
In short, Jerome Snyder has left a legacy of the picture and the word in vibrant unity…of the seminal artist, writer, teacher, whose perceptions were at once intellectual and aesthetic. His art in line and language, exuding clarity and wit. He moved his art from visually brilliant fantasies to neo-classical nature studies --without dropping his 4H pencil. He accepted his talents, he mined his resources, and he used them both for lasting performance.
Rocket Park This project won't be public for a year or so but I can share a few draft images now. These are illustrations that will appear on information panels at a new exhibit at The New York Hall of Science in Queens near the World's Fair site. The staff is cooking up a mini-golf park that teaches physics-related concepts of space flight. I've worked with this architecture firm (Skolnick) on museums in Miami and Bridgehampton, Long Island.
LEFT: "Breaking the bonds of gravity: This one went through many revisions during the sketch phase. The client was searching. It's amazing, and difficult to convey to clients, that often the job comes into focus only when the artist is given license to render the final. They loved it.
In addition to the illustration type above, each panel will have a "diagram" that shows the basic concept of each hole. We settled on this Scottish astronaut golfer as a "mascot".
RIGHT: The ball has to be hit with the right amount of force (but not too much) to land in the hidden trench. This will trigger the rocket to move up the gantry platform on the right.
BELOW: This illustration exists in that slippery ground between the top-down intellectual committee approach to hashing things out and the solitary artistic fishing trip turned desperate "give me the wheel" moment. We were all on the same page about the feeling we wanted the illustration to convey but it only came together when it had to. That's my job: I make the ideal, real!
The gravitational field of Mars gives the speeding ship a slingshot, jai-alai boost sending it on its way to Jupiter.
I deliberately use as few gradients as possible in my work these days. Much of my museum work is output on vinyl or other odd substrates and the colors are all spot PMS colors. The gradients and blends just get strange. Ditto for lense effects and transparency; they seem to causes unpredictable problems when we go to production. So to achieve "shading, I've been using blends between lines with different stroke widths and dashes. I like the effect.
BELOW: Space junk. Yeah, this was fun; just a bunch of junk. Some of these bits were created with Dimensions and pasted into Freehand MX. I love Freehand, I hate that it is going down the tubes and appears to be unsupported by Adobe. Gee, why is that?
At the end of the Space Junk hole is a rotating disk with obstacles attached to it. You have to time and steer your ball through them.
BELOW: This hole was difficult to visualize. I started out with a written description. Then I had access to plan and elevation drawings provided by the architect. That was better. I think I finally figured out how the paths criss-cross. Looks fun to play at least.
I never get tired of reading books illustrated by Lois Ehlert. Her use of colors and shapes is bold, unexpected and well-designed. No dead spots at all. Light falls on the printed page, extraneous messages are filtered out by her careful and audacious color choices and a resounding, affirming note is emitted to my eyes and mind.
In interviews, Ehlert talks about how to help children experience and make art their own. One of the most important things you can do is provide them with their own special spot where they can make art (or whatever) and leave the materials out. A little studio. In her case, it was a small card table. That's all. It can be that simple.
“… That's the thing right there - to keep the materials out. And it's not only for art but for writing and music. It's the same reason I have my sewing machine out. When you have an idea and you have to take time to gather your forces, you lose some of that creative energy. I haven't found any other way to liberate myself.”
It sure seems weird wishing "Happy Birthday" to a Larger-than-Life dead artist of Robert Mapplethorpe's caliber and notoriety. The guy was only human and he has an amazing story to tell. So here's a birthday salute to a man who "drank from the well", absorbed the lessons, and threw it back into America's face beautifully.
Did I mention that he studied at Parsons?
OOPS, he studied painting at Pratt, not Parsons. Sorry for the confusion.
Detail from "Still-Life with Pipe an Jug" c. 1737
Oil on canvas, 32,5 x 40 cm Musée du Louvre, Paris
Yesterday, Nov. 2, was the birthday of the great French painter Jean Baptiste Siméon Chardin (1699). Please look at his work. It will slow you way down. Slow enough to get a longer, albeit dim view, of the remaining span of your days and what your eyes and heart are truly for: Seeing and Feeling. As artists, I believe, we have an obligation to help people see and feel (and sell stuff, alas!).
"The Canary" 1750-51
Oil on canvas, 50 x 43 cm Musée du Louvre, Paris
Diamonds are a girl's best friend. Team up with Hello Kitty and you'll never be lonely!
All Hail the Queen of Cute, The Empress of Desire… Hello Kitty! Hello Kitty was born this day in 1974. Some dispute her actual progenitors (was it Dick Bruna?) but that won't stop the Japanese licensing company Sanrio and legions of fans across the galaxy from hoisting a toast in honor of the Queen of character licensing today.
Here's my little birthday essay: "Today we celebrate the official birthday of Hello Kitty. In some ways, Hello Kitty is the offspring of a previous generation of cartoon characters that began life as entertainers on the tiny or silver screen. Hello Kitty came into existence solely to be Herself and to be desirable to a certain researched global economic demographic. She epitomized the commercial allure of the branding idea. Like a malevolent bacterium, reproduce yourself enough, and you rule — for a while at least (that's when the real fun begins).
With the popularity of the Internet, any art student or graphically-precocious teenager dreams of the big time riding effortlessly on the back of their cute or goggle-eyed doodle. More power to them! Today, there are thousands of characters in search of "merch".
But today is Hello Kitty's day. Let's not be cynical and depressed about how capitalism stole everything and sold it back to us. Let's enjoy the simple pleasures of life as we shell out a few more dollars for the temporary peace and joy of a young child's imagination."