And so it begins...this week of illustration and illustrators. I had coffee with my mentor and was introduced to a very interesting and smart folks (but of course!) who made me feel very welcome to the group. They all couldn't have been kinder. It's great to see team Tinkleman up front and in control. We had a nice intro from Carol and Murray, a lead in/reminder session from the thesis advisor, Doug Anderson. Thesis for this year's graduates is due June 1st--paper and work. The paper, according to the ladies I had lunch with, had to be 50 pps or so (including reference, all references etc.). The students hang their own show (unlike SU) so i should consider that as I go and keep my eyes open for the options (and take notes this summer). Some of the up and coming graduates (2008) have readjusted their thesis and/or may not even be clear now about what they are doing which is of great relief to me as this isn't the centerpiece of the program but more an outflow of the work completed. So, relative to what I need to worry about is doing the work, changing and evolving and the thesis work will come. So try it all...and keep it fluid for a while. No need to rush anything. Only thing to do is to get to work...any work...and try a lot of stuff.
Dorit Rabinovitch, Canadian born illustrator who spent at least 20 years in Israel and then moved to the US in 1989--Dallas specifically, was our first speaker. She is a self supporting illustrator who will do what she can to continue making her living as an illustrator from doing pencil portraits at resorts in Israel to storyboards, sketch concepts and full blown illustrations for advertising agencies. She found as Corel Painter came on--that she had an intuition with this program and took to it--dropping her work in traditional media to shifting her entire work to digital. She admitted (quite honestly) that her initial digital work was not so good (and she was blind to it)--losing her customers. But her skills and abilities have improved and she seemed to have a real ability to deliver a quality illustration electronically. She is currently teaching herself Flash and feels there are opportunities to grow her work through this program.
I had a lovely lunch with a crowd of women (imagine!--not SU) who were all interesting, outspoken and very steady. It was great hearing about the Hartford program from their lens...with their focus on many of the details that I would normally being concerned about which they are all over. I cannot say enough about how wonderful it is to have this program organized, really organized with a schedule, a place and a person who actively is concerned about the fluidity of the program. I have no complaints. From what my lunchmates have mentioned...it all sounds pretty divine. I am psyched.
Bart Forbes was our next speaker. Bart Forbes was trained in art at the University of North Carolina and proceeded post military service, at Art Center for illustration classes. He left Art Center--not finishing, and moved to Dallas (in place of NYC) to polish his work. And he stayed. Bart's work is extrordinary--media aside (using watercolor and morphing to oil paints/ and oil washes) His work is clear as a bell, beautifully designed and blocked using light, shape and shadow to do the heavy lifting. I was thrilled to hear that he did not lay down a midtone and work lighter and darker but instead, after his pencil work, he puts in the darkest darks and works his way up. His work is very graphic--allowing shapes to build the image.
When Forbes saw that the phone stopped ringing during a financial downturn (much like now), he took a long look at opportunities that might pay well and appreciate the work he does. Editorial just doesnt pay. He cited that editorial work today pays a percentage of what it paid during his prime. He focused on golf. He contacted the PGA and got a list of all the tournaments they had. He got to work and starting chipping at these tournaments to see if they wanted him to cover their annual events. And so, the golf niche became his niche.However, a golf painting could make him upwards to $10,000--but he would sell out the rights as well. And he has done a lot of it.
Sports Illustrated was a magazine he wanted to be seen in--not necessarily for covering the sports, but for the exposure he would get, and the work evolved from there. He has covered the Olympics for the Olympic committee. He has done sports in stamps. He has done baseball work for Sports Illustration, for Boys Life and even in the Atlanta Braves' Clubhouse (2-4 paintings annually for their Hall of Fame). So, Bart has made it work for him.
His colors glow. His work is dignified in it's simplicity and confidence. There is an american-ness of his style, his imagery, and after 40 years at it--fresh as the moment the paint has dried. He does not lament that the world of illustration has changed with the advent of the digital media and digital delivery.He doesn't shake his head and long for the good old days of lots of editorial work that many of his peers are like to do, waxing on about this publication and that publication (many that are defunct). Bart Forbes controlled his paint with skill and understanding in the same way he approached his career and business--with a calm, steady intelligence that surrounds him. If the world turned on it's end, I know that Bart Forbes would take his skill and business intuition and spin another opportunity to work, live and grow. He is a man that looks for opportunities and not bemoans what was.
So, he knows what he knows...and to me, that is just fine because his work and thinking are timeless--a true inspiration.
" I still love what I do....I look forward to the next painting".