What a Weekend!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

This was an amazing week, beginning on Thursday when Peter De Seve spoke at the Portfolio Center. Mike Lowery and I took our grad classes there, and while there were a few delays and unexpected presentations before Peter finally spoke, it was a worthwhile trip. What a talent Peter is; his delivery is as witty and clever as his artwork, and he's a really nice guy, to boot.
Also got to see some old friends Theo Rudnak, Gary Overacre, Gary Weiss, Lindy Burnett and several other folks who stopped by.

Out to Launch
Later on Thursday it was the first phase of the Out to Launch event, which is spearheaded by Judy Salzinger in the ADVE Department. She and her minions coordinate the annual event in which Art Directors, Designers, Ad Agency execs and other art buyers converge on SCAD to look at student portfolios. It's a great way to get feedback from the local pros, and maybe even get hired. It's also a terrific place to see the wonderful work being done by every department in Comm Arts at SCAD.
Here's Ben Rodrigue, er, Rod Ben with his budget-busting print, bowls of goodies, and even a plate of his famous Killamari Squid.

Professor Mike Lowery and his friend Alex Dale of Cistern Media, visiting with Rod. Alex was very impressed with the work and the students from the Illustration department!

Katrin Wiehle printed portraits of the characters from her MA Final Project book, and "framed" them for her board. It was very impressive, and she gained some new fans including SCAD-Atlanta Vice President P. J. Johnson, seen below looking over Katrin's amazing portfolio.

Renee Rivas put together a fabulous board and table, complete with roses and a business card gloriously framed in hot pink.

Noodee Aisiri had all three of her wonderful Toy Theaters on hand, as well as a collection of other works on her board. Everyone was blown away by her work, and the theaters are just too cute.

Ethan Mongin also had an amazing display; 20 printed pieces on his board, a set of hand-made business cards, a hand-made journal, a great portfolio, and dozens of hand-cut stand-up figures as give-aways. My hands hurt just thinking about all the cutting.

Brenda Lyons had a gorgeous display with her thesis paintings on Birds of Prey, as well as a selection of Children's Book illustration and collage.

More than one visitor said that Illustration stole the show, and I have to admit, we did look awfully good. Congratulations on a great showing!

Friday: New York, New York

I was up at 5am on Friday to catch an early flight to New York for the opening of the Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship Competition.
My first stop in NY was a quick visit and light lunch with the delightful Yuko Shimizu.
Everyone who knows Yuko knows her official mascot is the Panda. Here's proof on her studio shelf:

I then made my way a few blocks over to Illustration House, a gallery of classic illustration owned and cherished by Walt and Roger Reed, who together literally wrote the book on American Illustration, and who are truly the keepers of the flame.
There is a doorbell beside the locked door, so I peeked in to see if anyone was inside. A shadowy figure was moving in the back of the gallery so I pushed the button. After a minute or two, an aging Walt Reed himself opened the door. It was a privilege and an honor to listen to him describe in careful detail the works on display. An amazing array of illustration from the late 19th century to about 1990 was on the walls or lined up on the floor ready to be hung. It's a new space and is still being moved into, so the display was incomplete, but still staggering.

A few blocks from my hotel I saw this enormous Hello Kitty sculpture installation at a corporate headquarters building.
There were about eight white, welded steel sculptures of Hello Kitty characters scattered around the grounds. This struck me as very odd for some reason. They were created by an entirely different Yuko Shimizu, by the way.

SI Student Show

I met Goñi Montes and his traveling companion, Lara Young from the Illustration department at Ringling for an early sushi dinner, then we headed to the Society of Illustrators for the student show opening. It started at 6pm and by the time we got there at about 7 it was absolutely packed with students, teachers, professional illustrators, parents, you name it.

I was expecting a good crowd, but this was sardine-like.

Thankfully, the lower gallery was a bit less crowded so we hung out down there until the speeches were over. There was plenty of great student work down there to ogle over as well.

Lara Young and Goñi taking a load off after the long walk to 63rd street.

The girl in the piece above Goñi is giving him the eye.

If you look carefully at the far end of the room you can just make out Kat Cimino's Faust poster, which won her a $1000 scholarship. More than one pro I spoke with singled her piece out as their favorite in the show!

Several folks admiring Kat's entry.
Once the crowds thinned out we could see the work up close, and it was an amazing show. The quality was outstanding from top to bottom. Murray Tinkleman has seen dozens of these student shows and he told me that this was the strongest one ever. I don't doubt it one bit.

There were a couple of pleasant surprises in the show; this altered book was very cool; it was a comics page that had been painted over with gesso and acrylics, with a wonderful result.

And this cut paper 3-D piece was exquisite.

The finishing touch to the weekend was a terrific dinner at Agra, a great little Indian restaurant around the corner from the Society.
Left to Right- Yours Truly, Lara Young, Goni Montes, Mark Girgis, Dan Dos Santos, and our good friend from this years forum, Sam Weber.
And the guy behind the camera was Donato Giancola, and beside him at the next table was Irene Gallo of Tor Books. Pretty lofty company, and an amazing night. I must say that I am continually humbled by the kindness and generosity of illustrators, especially the truly great illustrators. I was a fan of Dan Dos Santos' work and have shown his painting process that he's posted on his website in my techniques classes. I had the good fortune of meeting him this weekend and was even more impressed with the man. What a great guy. He's definitely on my list of great illustrators to bring to SCAD.
Whew. Deep breath... man, I LOVE this!

1 comment:

Jay said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing Rick. Illustration is alive and well!