Today we had all of our SU meetings at the Clubhouse, The Society of Illustrators. I love it there...and in the daytime it is especially happy ( and remarkably cleaner than I remembered). There is the Children's book illustration show with some inspiring (but attainable) imagery. It doesnt blow my mind as much...and I can see work at some point getting into this show. But, I just need to do a book or ten.
We had Irene Gallo, the Art Director from Tor/Dial books. She was wonderful, straight-up, no kidding about working with illustrators, the expectations, deadlines etc. She is responsible for well over 400 book jackets over in 12 mos. It was far more the voice of reality than the illustrators who have spoken about book work, childrens books etc. She was followed by our critique by Greg Manchess. There was a huge range of work--some people really leaning into the work, others falling back on excuses and the need for them to get more illustration (at Illustration Academy). Greg's critiques were generous and yet pointed--and I think I gained a lot from each image critiqued. Lunch was at the Society (they offer a buffet daily) that was very convivial and fun. We then had Barry Blitt (!!) speak or really perform. He is very funny and self depricating--with his illustrations following his patter. He is best known for his work the the New Yorker (this week's with George Bush illustrating the " You Break it You Buy it" thinking. More than once he said "I have fear before I draw...its a New Yorker cover...it's god damned terrifying". A little comforting. We all laughed and laughed over his dry remarks and wonderfully funny images "The greatedst bad hair day of Larry King", The Presidential Allergies, and no end to wildly funny Michael Jackson stuff. George Bush is upfront and center in the pantheon of people he loves to hate. And we are right with him.
We had a little time, so Richard, Chris and another clasmate and I went to the Marlbough Gallery to see the 100 images Botero has painted from the New Yorker articles Seymore Hirsch wrote on Abu Gharib. They were amazing, disturbing and beautifully designed. They were shocking. Google it. You might see a few. It is worth the trip.
Yesterday, We saw Sharad Devarajah, the CED of Virgin Comix. Brilliant guy who graduated with a degree in advertising design from SU with a MBA from Columbia. Brilliant, articulate and a dealmaker. While in undergraduate school, he acquired the distribution rights to many of the comic companies for the South Asian Market. Since then, he has parlayed that into a partnership with Shakhar Kapur, Richard Branson and Deepak Chopra to create (in India) comics specifically designed by and for the Indian market. They hire creatives (painters, graffiti artists, etc.) and train them as a team to create these pubs. It all seems pretty cool and pretty nascent--def something to watch. He is also partnering with film makers etc. and the Branson team to play out movies/comics/graphic novels etc. I will go into this further later.
We had Steve Stroud, an Art Center trained illustrator whose work has evolved to his being a landscape painter. Nice work. He positively glows with pride and happiness in the work he has migrated to. He shows on the east coast in Nantucket, Vermont, Boston's Newbury Fine Art Gallery.
Brian Ajhar spoke and showed his work. He is known for these wonderful cariatures--for me the most recognizable are the donkey/elephant work he has done. He is a kind person who has done some children's books, editorial work etc. More later.
I met with John on my thesis. He likes my work but was positively blown out of his chair with my burka illustration. He thinks its SOI show material etc. He wants me to start entering it into shows etc... So its all good but unexpected. He rejected the birds in place of my taking the burka further--as he said that my rendering and imagery have developed to the point that now we need to take it to another level. Not too paralyzing but 10 new images. One step at a time.