Present Memories

Cool/cold here. Low 70s with the wind blowing. Heavy,"Big River" clouds always threatening rain. It has rained everyday so the tomatoes are not ready. The grapes will be juicy but not filled with flavor so wine will be plentiful but not wildly noteworthy. We have a bread pudding in for a late breakfast. Haircuts at 11:30. A. is on the phone arranging time and golf games with his buddies. R is cutting the hedges as its a bit shaggy. He is quite a sculptor with the electric cutter. We have birthday presents to create, guests to feed, and straightening to happen. Maybe it will warm up enough swim. I really want August to be August.

Papers are done. Lots of interesting discoveries as I wrote them. I am intrigued by the passage illustrators go through to become decorative illustrators. Many of them come directly to it, but others through more commercial means such as fashion illustration, graphic design, photography, and advertising. They get the illustration bug, and tack it on to what they are doing...evolving to becoming real live illustrators. The aspect of style is key--perhaps that being the link--where style and stylishness factors heavily into the message. Fashion does that. Logos and type do that. Painting like NC Wyeth, Howard Pyle or Norman Rockwell are essentially classic expressions of an idea. However, paintings by Austin Briggs, Joe DeMar or the ever unbelievable Al Parker do communicate a style, a period, an emotion that swings in the context it was created. And, they swing today too. So, maybe that isn't just with decorative illustration alone. But the immediacy of decorative illustration in somehow takes it further. Hmm.

One more thing. I think it is important to say a little something In Memorium for the Syracuse ISDP Illlustration Program. If it hasn't finished this week, it will finish next....and it was something that meant something to me and many more. I cannot let this slip away.

The Syracuse ISDP program was singular in it's twenty eight years of developing and training many of the leaders in the illustration education world along with many practicing illustrators whose careers were enriched and deepened by the experience. It is thanks to the amazing personal effort, talent, muscle and reach that Murray and Carol Tinkelman brought to this program inspiring students, teachers and alumni to achieve and think beyond what they thought was possible. It was the magic that the Tinkelmans brought, building collegiality, professionalism and hope that changed lives, built careers, created lifelong friendships and memories amongst the hundreds that went through this program.

The ISDP MA in Illustration was a low impact program for Syracuse University. It was a cash cow that had a low burden on the University who did not promote it, respect it nor understand the impression this program had on the world of illustration and design or the impact and reputation it brought to it's undergraduate program. The University was unaware of how this ISDP program and it's graduates burnished the image of the school, it's graduates and the excellence provided by it's program. So, while the muscle, belief and will of Murray and Carol drove this rich program, the program flourished and grew.

However, as the world changed and a MA did not suffice for teaching--only a MFA would do. And this is where it got sticky. Syracuse would not go there as it would conflict with their existing MFA program in illustration. MA was fine. The F was not possible. This along with much much more (which Murray will need to detail for us)caused the program to falter. The classes did not fill up, the excellent teaching teams dwindled to teams of one. The Tinkelmans left to create a newer, fresher and more relevant program with the University of Hartford, providing a MFA in the same timeframe, just a bit more work and the same project driven thesis. The Tinkelmans have bridged over to establish this new amazing program at Hartford while we mourn the last class of four students closing out this former powerhouse of a program.

But the seedling at the University of Hartford grows strong in the brilliant sun of new students, excited faculty, beautiful facilities, and an administration that values and supports this new program. The flowering is in the two years of alumni...artists who have grown personally, professionally and passionately thanks to the efforts of their fellow students, faculty and mentors, Carol and Murray Tinkelman. And with the amazing support and care of the University of Hartford, this program, essentially a new phoenix, will rise and inspire more generations of illustrators, designers and teachers for years to come.