Tim Burton at MoMA
Sesame Street at 40
Upon graduating Pratt, I was introduced to the legendary artist rep, Ted Riley, by my mentor, James Grashow. Riley had an impressive stable of talent with the likes of Robert Andrew Parker, Pierre Le-Tan, Sempé, etc. He also had developed a working relationship with Children's TV Workshop, the creators of Sesame Street. He asked a simple question: "do you like the muppets?". When I replied that it is impossible not to like the charming puppets, he asked me if I could stand drawing them repeatedly, and so I became his fledgling in a group of giants with the understanding that I would become a muppet factory and he would also present my editorial work to publishers. I was sent to Muppets HQ where they pulled Bert & Ernie from their morgue like drawers for me to sketch. I was given my first test to do a spread of Oscar the Grouch in a junkyard. It was received so well that I quickly became busy illustrating toys and books and clothing. There were few items that I did not put a muppet on. My favorite projects were the 3D ones, such as music boxes, shoelaces, busy box and life vests. The 3D projects I sculpted in clay and were sent to Taiwan for mass reproduction. It was a prosperous way to begin a career, but ultimately left me feeling bereft of any real creativity. After Ted Riley passed, I ended my relationship with the muppets and instantly took a financial nosedive. In a year or two afterwards, I had enough magazines and newspapers supplying me with regular work that I declared career recovery. At the time, I remember always plotting my escape from muppetland. But now I look back fondly and with no apologies. My skills for drawing the muppets remain, but only come into play when a tantrum throwing child needs to be soothed on the subway.
Dragons are forever
Americans have been paranoid concerning China, well...just about forever. And that's good for me, because there are few things more fun to draw than dragons. The projections are that China's economy will emerge as the next global super power. More dragons! This, for today's WSJ editorial page.
Down on the Farm
19th century women write about their abusive marriages to overworked, desensitized farmers. Accounts of rape, physical abuse and incest weave through these stories. For the Hartford Courant.
Newt Gingrich, Zombie politician, groping for media attention with the same old dead ideas. This one for the LA Times.
Not expecting any miracles, but here's hoping the Dems can make the necessary changes to our health care system. With a little modification, I found the caduceus to be very accommodating as a pogo stick.
GOP ("O" for obsolete)
In the age of Obama, the GOP seems in danger of self imposed extinction, as they appear to inhabit an increasingly narrow niche on the far right. This cover image for the LA Times accompanies articles on 3 ways in which the party can pull itself back from the brink. Using the tired old metaphor of the tightrope, the emphasis became the bloated fear of the elephant.