Changing of the old guard?

“To say that ‘literate’ and ‘intelligent’ is elitist - that’s insane, the way people sling around ‘arugula’ to be synonymous with highfalutin,’’ says [Laura] Shapiro. “This is another nail in the coffin of literate journalism.’’ from The Mourning After (
How sad. I thought with Ruth Reichl at the helm of Gourmet Magazine, there was a chance that this old school magazine could pull through the crash and burn that is going on in print media today. Reichl, an author and realistic food person is an inspiration in her energy and approach to her writing and passion for food, I thought would bring a spirit and splash to this tried and true publication. Granted, I thought that Gourmet was for "grown ups" until I had 6 weeks of being at home with my new baby daughter--sleepless and living in the moment. I found that I loved Gourmet and the New Yorker for their little mental vacations they took me on...and the recipes that I began to cook out of Gourmet were easy, delicious and inspiring me to go further, to crack open more books, to try the untried. It got me through the early days of mom hood and frankly was part of my evolution as a cook for a new little group of eaters.

Since then, Gourmet has been a monthly occasion in my life. Now, it won't be.

Interestingly, in looking around a bit about the demise of Gourmet, I ran into some interesting articles

Gourmet Editor Ruth Reichl: Print Magazines Are Toast
by Henry Blodget on the Business Insider page
Ruthie in Wonderland: Ruth Reichl Reflects on Conde Nast by John Koblin from the New York Observer
Clearing the Table by Deborah Solomon, New York Times

From the Koblin article

“That kind of luxury that we all had [at Conde Nast] is probably a thing of the past. The new business realities have changed the life at Condé Nast. I think print magazines as we know them will cease to exist...

“I do think that there is going to be something that will be very exciting and that will incorporate video, instant shopping,” she said. “I think that the rich experience that is in magazines will likely move to another platform. It won’t be online. It will be what magazines are now, tools for living and inspirational and intellectually rich. I think magazines in that sense won’t be going away.”

As an illustrator, the great publishing industry changes. The magazines and newspapers that were solid clients for articles, book reviews, Sunday supplements and all else are dying. So, where does that leave us, the great great grandchildren of Rockwell and Howard Pyle-- the great illustrators of their time? Where will the painters go? I guess, children's book and advertising, portraiture and gallery work. Holiday cards? A santa or a teddy bear as a client told me..."thats what their Chairman loves" (OY!).

Now, if we look at Will Bradley, he illustrated for publications and then some...Bradley might have made the jump to web design and imagery or even flash animation. There is work there. I mean, if you have the wits and imagination that illustration training should hone, this new media beyond paint, beyond ink on paper has room.

I had the opportunity to work with a client and a consulting company of the development of an e-card for the Holidays. These guys gave us story boards which we didnt approve and immediately launched into a direction we had never even seen...fully developing it in flash with this easy listening "fashion show music box music"--so middle of the road and tacky. I had to pull it back and talk about Tiffany and Company, the "little black dress with pearls" positioning (which in the old days might be associated with class..and today, no one gets the whole "its like this and this and this" gets you there in a less abbreviated way). These guys are computer jocks--not problem solvers.For really good designers or illustrators thinking about the problems, thinking about transitions and messages, about the story and the impresssion is part of their training, their make up , their MO. It was illuminating to work with these functionaries that we essentially had to "move their hands with our own" to get the changes to move it towards good...not even great. But back to the premise...There is just might not be the tradtional "old school" venues that many of us hoped would bloom and blossom for us, but new trees, new orchards where the fruit has yet to be discovered. And picked.