Daniel Pelavin
For one and all
Looking Forward to 2020

Sometimes a deadline just sneaks up on you. This one was for last Thursday but, by Tuesday I was still waiting for some direction from the client. The demographics and composition of the shopping center of the future just doesn't scream for an obvious solution, Then, in the gym locker room, between a session of Spinning and another of Aerobics, it hit me: The shape of a shopping center in 2020? A shopping center in the shape of 2020!
I dashed off a really quick sketch that evening, received a "the boys don't like that fon't" the next morning, made a slight adjustment and then started off to set a land speed record for doing an illustration from scratch in one day. By evening, I had amazed myself getting it done in grayscale.  I surprised myself again Thursday morning by finishing the color in plenty of time for another brutal Spinning session. The "we love it!!!!" from the client gave me all the strength I needed to get through that one.
From quick sketch to font change to experimenting with tricky filters to a tight comp in one day.

Letter as Image/Image as Letter
The book "C" By Tom McCarthy, reviewed by Alexander Theroux, brought to mind an illustration I had done for a book reviewed by his brother Paul a scant 31 years ago, posing a curiosity as to whether I may ever get to illustrate an article by their brother Peter.

A while back, I was surprised and honored to be part of an exhibition called Letter as Image/Image as Letter, which was held both in Los Angeles and New York and included artists who have long been heroes to me. The premise was the blurring of the line between typography and illustration and how the two are combined to enrich and deepen the experience of content and communication. I have to admit, I never really make a conscious effort to integrate the two as much as they seem to evolve naturally from the assignements I get. As case in in point is this recent ilustration for a review in the Wall Street Journal of a book with a title consisting of the single letter "C."
That title, along with the themes of invention and technology in Victorian times, presented an ideal opportunity to incorporate my love of letterforms with my delight and obsession with strange electrical and mechanical devices.
Having been given the job on a Wednesday evening withg a due date of Thursday afternoon, I was relieved of the problem of too much time for procrastination. I managed to get the art finished within about 3 minutes of the drop-dead deadline and benefitted from too little time to overthink and overwork a simple concept.
Given a short deadline, I wavered over whether to work on one very tight sketch which, would be essentially completed upon approval but, decided to do more exploration in hopes of offering more choices to the editors.

Coffee, Tea or Chablis?

Ah, the perils of First Class air travel these days. If it isn't enough of a trial to have to watch the grim faces of the coach passengers as they waddle their way back to steerage, now one must make the tiresome decision between Dom Pérignon and Bouchard Le Corton. For the Wall Street Journal Weekend section: a first class appropriation of AM Cassandre.
Found the perfect scrap in Bob Staake's extensive reference collection, spent considerable time on a detailed exploratory sketch and knocked out a tight sketch with catchy headline to accompany an article on wines offered in First Class.

Alternate text treatments, rendered in afterthought but rejected by the illustrator after copious deliberation.

My first tattoo!
I always feel a little naked when I go to Williamsburg (or almost anywhere else these days) since tattoos have become a symbol of fashion awareness rather than mystical cult status or memories of a drunken evening. So, I felt a warm sense of belonging as I set out to create a fearsome and indelible icon for an article about "La Familia," the dreaded Mexican mafia.
The big question was, however, could I turn my skill at creating fluffy little rounded shapes and bright colors into something that appeared sinister and evil? Surprisingly, I actually went a little too far and was asked to tone down my first round of sketches so as not to alarm or frighten the gentle Italian people.
I now feel authorized, if still a bit hesitant, to join the celebration. Does anyone know where I can find a clip-on Septum ring?
I've been asked about designing tattoos many times but, always declined as I felt unqualified due to the lack of personal body decoration.

Surprisingly, the finished line art bears a passing resemblance to my rough scribbles.

For a first round, exploring the imagery of "Santa Muerte" as suggested by the client, I proposed a variety of options with requisite skulls, weaponry and mystical stuff.

Asked to refrain from imagery that would disturb the superstitous, I skirted the boundaries of ethnic profiling to engender a kinder yet, cogent representation of our gentle friends from South of the border.

It's not easy being green
I celebrated Earth Day number 40 with a magazine cover assignment featuring a story on economics and the environment. The article Building a New Economy, written in an erudite, yet accessible manner by economist Paul Krugman, appeared in the NY Times several weeks ago and was published this week in the Italian newsmagazine Internazionale. Professor Krugman's  thorough assessment concludes that if we feel any responsibility to future generations, we need to take action now, and that economic incentives rather than legal sanctions may be the most effective course.
I came into this assignment through the good graces of Mark Porter, who recently redesigned Internazionale and recommended me to editor-in-chief Giovanni De Mauro. I set my trusty widget clock to Central European Summer Time, named all my Illustrator layers in Italian and used at least venti shades of verde. Like they say, "When in Rome..."
From a factory spewing vines instead of smoke to the delicate balance between the environment and the economy.
Nothing is more appealing to me than working at 1200% magnification on zillions of tiny little hairline strokes.
My lucky number
Being allowed to draw pictures all day and not get into trouble is something I wouldn't have even dared to imagine as a lad who spent his entire school career drawing doodles in the margins of his notebooks. Nowadays I still have to pinch myself to realize it's not a dream. So I never really take for granted my good fortune, but sometimes Fortune smiles upon us in unexpected ways. In this case an assignment that any lettering artist would do larceny for.
When creative director John Korpics inquired about a possible cover, I just listened carefully, used all my strength to avoid making wisecracks and didn't start jumping up and down and screaming till I was off the phone. I might have revealed some of my glee by getting rough sketches in the very next day, but I spoke of this job to know one, fearing I might jinx it away.
In the next week and a half, together we crafted something that became a reality and has special significance for me. My father collected copies of all my magazine covers and made certain that each and every visitor to our house got a tour. He never approved of my behavior in school as evidenced by an eighth grade report card which was crumpled up into a ball before it was signed, but I know this Fortune cover would have ended up on top of the pile and in the gleam in my dad's eye.
John suggested doing something with a banknote feeling (which is something I try at least one version of with every job).
In the next round, realizing there would be nothing else on the cover, we did our best to really fill the space.
A fun game called "how to make a '5' not look like an 'S'
Giving designers better illustration skills
Just found this brief email exchange from Last July while I was teaching in the Hartford Art School's MFA Illustration Program. I thought they were lost because I sent them while out of town or I would have shared them sooner:

Jul 21 2009

Hi Daniel,

I'm contacting you because I'm on the planning  committee for the 2010 HOW  Design Conference (which will be in Denver next June). I though you would make an interesting speaker and I'd like to recommend you to the rest of the committee. Is this something you'd be interested in? What kinds of things do you typically speak about? Or what would you love to speak about to a bunch of designers?


Megan Lane Patrick
Senior Editor, HOW magazine and books

Jul 22 2009

Hi Megan,

I'm flattered by your proposition. I believe a group of designers might be most interested if I gave a presentation about fonts and font design, however, I feel equally comfortable talking about, typographic design, illustration or getting along with two teenage daughters.

Please give my regards to the rest of the committee and let me know what happens.


Jul 22 2009

Hmm, I'm wondering if you could do something about typographic illustration? From your website, it seems like you're qualified to cover a variety of topics. It would be great if you could help me narrow it down so I can make a good argument for why you rock to the planning committee : )

(Our audience is less interested in designing type than in designing well with type.)

Another idea might about how designers can develop better illustration skills.

What do you think?

Jul 23 2009


Typographic illustration is what I love best. I'll put together a presentation that will have your attendees in tears.

BTW, that joke about giving designers better illustration skills had me laughing till my stomach hurt.



...still awaiting reply
The Lite shines again
After moving to New York hoping to get a job as a graphic designer, no one was more surprised than I to discover I was an illustrator. I had studied design in school, didn't have a "style" to fall into and did all my work with templates and technical pens. I quickly kludged together a technique where I screen printed line art onto Arches paper and colored it with Dr. Martin's dies. While this provided a way for me to create full color art, the resulting color separations sucked, and eventually I fell back into doing mechanical art which provided much more control over color. When computers started gaining acceptance in publishing, I seemed a perfect candidate for digital tools, however, as powerful as the computer is for doing good, it can quickly lure you off in the wrong direction.

I spent a few years trying every imaginable trick and filter, but was never quite satisfied because the finished pieces always lacked the spontaneity of my sketches. This concern grew until one day I took a sketch, traced it line for line with Illustrator paths and shifted the fills out of register intentionally. On that day, Pelavo Lite was born. It served me well for hundreds of jobs until I started getting more involved in higher paying assignments like book jackets and magazine covers, and let it gradually fall by the wayside.

I always enjoyed the freedom and creativity "lite" allowed, looked at it again recently and realized, 1) I still love doing it, 2) it's the perfect solution for shrinking budgets & quick turnaround, 3) it's a natural for animation, and 4) allows me to concentrate on concept and let the form follow intuitively. So I've gathered up my kindergarten-level Flash programming skills, put together the new Pelavo Lite web page, and I'm not looking back.
"Help Desk" was the inaugural illustration of Pelavo Lite. Rough sketch is on right.
Because I really liked  the connectiion between sketch and finish, I promoted my work with a series of postcards with art on the front and sketches (flopped) on the back. You could hold the card in the light and see how they related to each other.
This card featured subjects including, funny money, Super Mario in analysis, computer "chirps" and the taboo against facial tattoos (since overturned).
Speedy modems, science projects & software migration.
Inflated product claims, canned support & undersea oil.
Digital lighting, certified spam & a hockey puck made of ice.
Internet scams, outraged consumers & flexible retirement plans.
Frozen silence, targeted marketing & nest eggs.
Drawgers take the stage
Three of Drawger's finest held a standing-room-only audience in rapt attention as they presented their work, their wisdom and a smidgen of joviality last evening as a part of NYIT's Design Watch Series. Along with illustrator/educator/fine artist Lynn Foster, our own beloved Zina Saunders, Nancy Stahl and Chris Spollen guided delighted attendees through their individual journeys in the exhilarating, though frequently frustrating transition from old to new media.
Among the themes of the evening, in addtion to empowerment and struggle, was a discussion regarding the blurring of the line between "fine" and "applied" art and the emphatic agreement among the panel that drawing is more essential today than ever in light of the awesome capabilities of digital tools.
Judging from the enthusiastic titter at the reception following, sponsored jointly by NYIT and the New York chapter of Siggraph, many departed from the event sans stockings.
NYIT in the heart of Lincoln Center
Panelists Foster, Saunders and Stahl enjoying a serious moment from Professor Spollen
Event organizer Patty Wongpakdee wondering what she's gotten herself into along co-organizer Rozina Vavetsi
The ever-elegant Nancy Stahl
Chris Spollen showing details of his early etching studio.
A head of our times
It feels good to be among those who always give freely of their time and energies when help is needed. I can't wait to see the 100 heads for Haiti poster assembled from a roster of people both talented and generous. This is my contribution.
Just in case
Talk around town is, the "adjustments" to our business fed by changes in technology and multiplied by the contraction in the economy, might not be just a temporary "blip" in our otherwise satisfying and rewarding careers. Students and professionals are asking where illustration is headed. Educators who teach illustration are questioning the validity of rubrics based upon outmoded business models and, lately, I hear from some savvy art directors and designers that they too are beginning to see the "writing on the screen."
In times like these, I think it is very useful to look at the big picture, realize that change is incumbent upon all of us and vigorously pursue a bountiful future, using the creative thinking which we have always applied to our assignements.
While the venues for applied art are changing, I believe the need will never diminish as long as vision and imagery is used as a means of communication. Nearly everything that exists can be imbued with meaning and value by the eloquent application of imagery. In fact, no small number of things are valued based upon the cogency of their formal appearance alone.
So, look around you and see the ubiquity of things in ever-increasing quantities which can beneift from your skills, once reserved for the rapidly declining printed page. But, don't just sit around, hoping for an invitation. "All things come to him who waits" is propaganda to mollify the competition from folks who are out there hustling right now.
Herewith, some recent examples of my efforts to remain viable:
Just make it look pretty
I, as much as anyone, love to put on my thinking cap and solve an arcane, ethereal problem that can barely be described in words, however, often as not, my assigment is to take a piece of everyday business and do something to make it interesting.
I am ever-grateful that we manage to obsess over milestones, anniversaries and accumulations of things that must be represented with numbers and are not that well served by photographs of tender starlets, juicy hunks or tricked out automobiles. Then comes my opportunity to make the image itself a thing of interest and beauty rather than merely a depiction of some beautiful thing.
It has been my good forthune to do several annual covers for Pensions & Investments "the International Newspaper of Money Management" and I treat each one as something cherished and precious, use as many cues as possible to stimulate interest including visual, tactile and, perhaps most important of all, stored memory to create an inviting, sensual experience, not just another piece of business.
Leatherette from the cover of a 1930s plumbing supply catalog, "gold leaf" from a mystical combination of Illustrator filters and a badge that might have graced the hood of a 1949 Bulgemobile.
Let's see, how many different ways can we show the number "1000?"
Just to make this one a little more interesting, they asked for a couple of tighter sketches. This poses the problem for me of selling something in schematic form that's not going to even begin to be what it's headed for until after 12 or 20 hours of obsessive noodling.
Wake up and smell the coffee
Much of my inspiration comes from imagery and style that technology has rendered obsolete. I treasure anachronistic artifacts of packaging and design which have somehow evaded obliteration by focus groups, and manage to still be a part of our visual landscape.
Before I was old enough to go into a supermarket alone, I was already a keen admirer and critical observer of products which found their way into our home. When my mother was finished at the checkout counter and wondered what had happened to her curious child, I would be lost among the aisles, intoxicated by the shapes and colors of post-war packaging; in particular, with products that had mercifully escape being redesigned and still had the feeling of a kinder, gentler time.

I was particularly taken with the packaging for A&P coffee brands Eight O'Clock, Red Circle and Bokar whose eccentric yet elegant typography harkened back to an earlier, less complicated era. The font Bokar is my nod of appreciation to those robust and full-bodied blends spared from the bland, tasteless scourge of corporate branding.

From our houses to yours
This has been the slowest year for business I can remember but, the support and kindness of friends & family, my two daughters of whom I am so proud, the incredible good fortune of living in the city I love and making art for a living, having a president who doesn't totally gag me and watching the greedy and selfish clowns of the evil empire shoot themselves in the collective foot, has made me the happiest and most grateful I have ever been. So, to all my colleagues at Drawger, I wish you the merriest of Christmases, and a happy, truly New Year where we use our creativity, commitment and collective good deeds to make things better for everyone.
Robots, robots and (finally) robots
If it's not enough that I already love drawing pictures, add to that drawing pictures of one of my favorite subjects and getting paid to do it! Along comes this assignment that talks about the internet gaining intelligence (I can't wait to see that happen), and the AD thinks a portrayal of a robot will do justice to the story. So in the honored tradition of Gort, Robby, B-9, R2D2, C3PO, Andrew Martin, T-800 and the gentle and sensitive ED 209, I proceed to construct my concept of web-based intelligent life.
CFO of the (near) future giving the "hi" sign the the web software agent that seamlessly coordinated her airline tickets, rental car and hotel reservations for that important out-of town-meeting.
As if by kismet, I happen to also be working on my holiday greeting at the same time. Knowing I like to get involved in projects that are way too complicated and unpredictable, girlfriend Setsuko says, "why don't you bake gingerbread cookies for everyone?" I toss this idea around for a while, realizing that the task of baking, decorating, packaging and sending dozens of fragile, perishable items may even be too crazy for me. Enter my daughter Anna, a CO2 laser cutter and the opportunity to have anything I make in Illustrator cut out of plastic. Ohmygod! I can make a mold of a gingerbread character in any shape I wish!

The rest is now history. Well, history after five hours of meticulously glueing together miniscule fragments of nearly invisible plastic, 25 pounds of flour, gallons of molasses, boxes and boxes of brown sugar, tubs of shortening and a myriad of festive spices that is.
left: the postcard quickly printed in case plan "B" was required, middle: acrylic die laser cut from Illustrator outline file, right: the goods (baked, that is).
Finally, all this robot talk has reminded me to invite any of you Drawgeraters who haven't already, to put one of your robot illustrations on the internet's oldest living robot archives. Lots of hits. Email and web links included. RGB jpegs in the realm of 600 x 600 pixels cheerfully accepted.
Gingerbread Time.
Every year about now, I begin to prepare for my gig as a helper at the Church Street School Gingerbread Workshop. For three weekends in December, the music room is filled with happy families creating masterpieces of confectionary architecture to the sounds of holiday tunes on the Steinway. The art room becomes a staging area for the helper "elves" who keep participants supplied with a plethora of sweets and tubs of frosting to decorate their candy-covered cottages. The designs range from classic to abstract expressionist but, all are worthy of a second look by Hansel and Gretel.

When my daughters came of age to be helpers, the job of making the frosting (two cups ater, one cup powdered meringue & two pounds of confectioners sugar, whipped to a froth in the reliable, old KitchenAid mixer) fell to me.

It's always a treat (no pun intended) to contribute to this community-based fund-raiser. This year is the second time I've had the opportunity to draw upon other than my culinary skills to assist in the event.
I tried to stay faithful to the image which sparked the idea but, was requested to "dummy it up" for the already stressed-out young professionals of Tribeca.
I chose a painting from the 1930s upon which to base my art. I wanted to be sure it read clearly as gingerbread but, in the end, decided the tight cropping had more punch. Such a charming painting, it's a wonder nobody has every parodied it before.
An illustration for the same event a few years ago. I noticed the girl on the right bore a faint resemblance to my daughter Molly. One quick click on the caricature filter in Illustrator CS2 and, Bingo: a family Christmas card! (The Penguin is a distant relation).
I've enjoyed several pleasant sojourns recently courtesy of the Nutmeg state. It began when I journeyed with my college-bound daughter Molly to New Haven to visit the school made famous by Rory Gilmore of the eponymous television comedy-drama.

Next, was a week-long stay in the pleasant New England town of Hartford. This, for a teaching stint in Murray and Carol Tinkelman's incredible MFA program at the Hartford Art School. Here I had the privilege of working alongside the elegant Professor Stahl and my illegitimate twin brother Professor Spollen, not to mention the well prepared Professor Tuttle. While there, we visited the Martk Twain House and Museum, admired a Lego model of the famous house and learned that "pressing a suit" isn't always a reference to tailoring.

In early September, on the cusp of Summer and Autumn, my sweetheart and I spent some leisurely afternoons on the pristine beaches of Fairfield admiring the magnificence of Long Island Sound and searching for the ever-elusive blue beach glass.

The denouement to this chain of events came when I was invited to create illustrations for Connecticut Magazine, depicting the pastoral yet, genteel civility of its historic towns and villages.

I got the job because they liked an ill-fated book cover I'd done. (motto: save those rejected pieces)! Though I've had trouble trying to imitate a previous work, these are not the times to turn down a job and there would be an additional fee if one of the illustrations was used for the cover.

The epilogue to this long-winded rambling: with the help and extreme patience of art director Joan Barrow, we pulled off the hat trick!

Details of the previous job, sent so they wouldn't panic when they saw my sketches. See a resemblance?
1.5 GHz of brute processing power, a little inspiration and plenty of room at the top for type.
It's like the difference between night and day.
3D or not 3D, is that the question?
So you like sketches, do ya? Like many a Drawger, I have sketchbooks stuffed into every nook (a corner or recess, esp. offering seclusion or security) and cranny (a small, narrow space or opening). Face it, drawing is more than half the fun of being an artist. The other half, for me is envisioning how my drawings would translate into 3-dimensional space, thus my obsession with computer modeling.

After having a degree of success with Adobe Dimensions, I was waylayed (stopped, interrupted or troubled in some way) when it was discontinued and found little solace in the half-hearted attempt to incorporate some of its features into Illustrator. I then struggled mightily against the behmoth (something enormous, eps. big and powerful) that is Maya, only to crash and burn amongst windows, dialog boxes and commands too numerous to mention. I had slightly better luck with Blender but, in the end, decided blenders were more useful for making protein shakes than art.

Then, 3 weeks ago I stumbled upon Cheetah3D and, am back on the road to endless fiddling with splines, polygons and node-based shaders in the quest of bringing my doodles (absent-minded scribbles) to life once again.

On a good night, you can receive signals from Venus that are (relatively) static-free.
To give a bit of history: a few years back, the Type Directors Club decided to celebrate the 25th year of its annual by featuring the numerals 1 through 25 as envisioned by 25 famous designers. Famous designer #14 apparently bailed at the last minute and the honor of creating that number fell to me; a perfect opportunity to test my nascent 3D chops.
An amalgam (mixture or blend) of my affinity for both cast iron and shiny red plastic.
Then came the end of the year 2004 and the notion of doing a (365 days of promotion!) calendar.
From sketchbook to "reality" in 2005 easy steps.
A sketch I did on the beach about 5 years ago and a design I thought would make a nice clock face combined to inspire this recent creation.
Sketch, clockface and you've heard of Steampunk? Next Steamrollerpunk.
Trust and Confidence
It is with great pleasure and no small amount of trepidation that one receives an assignment from an art director with the confidence in himself to trust an illustrator. Let the job come during a regularly scheduled my-career-is-over episode. Finally, make it a cover of the New York Times Weekend section; a chance to redeem oneself or, go down in flames. Fortunately, AD Richard Aloisio helps turn a rather complicated problem (just screaming for a crowd scene) into a fun and interesting game, literally.
I admire an art director who has the nerve to show the incomprehensible scribbles I try and pass off as sketches.
Upon attempting a finish, I am faced with a task not unlike the princess' turning a room full of straw into gold but, without the assistance of Rumplestiltskin. Somehow, I manage to pull it out of the dumpster moments before the deadline and am rewarded by thumbs up on Facebook from friends, relatives and former high school classmates.
A last chance to enjoy summer events, including, but not limited to, Art, Cinema, Reggae, Classical & Electronic music, Opera, Theater and, perhaps, even a visit to the Statue of the Liberty.
Among my favorite past jobs from Richard, a recipe series from a few years ago BC (before color).
A case for design (or design for a case?)
Here are some product designs I had the privilege of producing for Adrian Olabuenaga at Acme Studios I haven't seen anything in production yet but, at least they've got me on the "New Releases" page under my secret alias "Dan Palevin" (for security purposes I'm sure). BTW the hopefully-soon-to-be winning design was "Manhattan."
Shoes for Industry!
Reflections of my Past
A spin on the 30s
You may already be a wiener
In the words of Stanley Hainsworth at ICON 5
Homage or decoupage?
"It's nice to see your illustrations have a life of their own..." (or something similar). I found these on imagekind and could swear they have a passing resemblance to some of the covers I did for Hoover's some years ago. Should I be flattered, honored, grossed-out? Does this guy have a way with pastels or what?
Will the real Chrysler Building please stand up?
One more. Check more of this lovely stuff at imagekind. I think this guy might be on to something.
Don't read this, go design something!
Journalistic excellence or out and out puffery? You decide.
So back in March, I get an email from a writer in Switzerland, who says he'd like to interview me for a website that I still don't quite understand but, it has something to do with pigments, chemicals and the international world of design. He's been profiling artists from all over the world including the most excellent Ms. Jean Tuttle. I tell him what I usually tell people, just make something up, it'll be more interesting than what I have to say and save you the trouble of being accurate. He insists on being thorough, gathers every tidbit of propaganda he can find, does a phone interview and comes through with an awesome box of Swiss chocolate. The result: "Don't Read This, Go Design Something!" - An Interview with Daniel Pelavin. Oh yeah, you have to click on the above link to see the interview and, don't even try to find Ziggy Nixon, he had to join the witless protection program.
Reflections on ICON 5
Pelavin running out of time in his session on Self-promotion
Attended: V.I.P. party, mingled with "celebrity illustrators," saw incredible art done in Maya by Ray Ceasar at The Jonathon LeVine Gallery Steven Guarnaccia was the perfect gentleman and introduced me to many of my oldest and best friends. Got to chat with a lot of friends who assist me in plying my trade including Adobe, Adbase, Wacom, Workbook, The Graphic Artist Guild and the Society of Illustrators (they still haven't found a way to keep Terry from sneaking back into the building and trying to sit at his old desk). Learned that it wasn't Juliette Lewis-Robin (her native American name) who determined that my work wasn't "edgy" enough for Alt Pick Opening keynote, Stanley Hainsworth is pleased when his art takes on a life of its own. Still wonder how he could have relatives in executive positions at Lego, Nike and Starbucks. Opening night reception, The Halftones were excellent as always. Don Kilpatrick assembled the most awesome library of art and illustration books, bags, games and sundries that I've ever seen in one place. Come Together: Networkinbg Pioneers, Zimm was frank and hilarious. Gave my presentation: Self-promotion in a Saturated Market, accidentally shut of my lapel mic, Lauren D. quickly provided a hand mic with a built in lisp, knocked over a glass of water on the stage, all in all not a total disaster. Making Fire: Inspirational Teaching, Rudy Gutierrez was spectacular and inspiring. Closing Keynote, Did anyone tell O'Callaghan it was a conference about Illustration? Carnival Carioca, The lovely Setsuko and I danced until they kicked us out. Fernanda Cohen knows how to throw a party. Epilogue: Tangible energy and spirit among our craft focused on sharing ideas, exploring new frontiers and keeping illustration alive.
Oh, now I get it.
New York Times City Section April 6, 2008
Well, it only took me 30 years but, I finally realize where I stand in (or at least, in the vicinity of) the hierarchy of art and artists. While it's not the most glamorous of situations, still, it is a relief to know where I fit in.
Working as an art studio apprentice after graduating from college, my status was made pretty clear to me: "So, college boy, 'think you can get all our lunch orders straight today?"
In grad school, I understood that my major, graphic design, fell far from the top of the pecking order of painting, sculpture & printmaking, not even in the realm of fiber, ceramics or metalsmithing, somewhere, more or less, among the gritty applied arts (gasp) of photography and architecture.
But only recently, after doing everything from the New York Times to the coffee cup on the container of Coffee Rich in your grocer's freezer, did I learn what my craft means in the broader scheme of things.
I am a (shudder) Vector-bender!
There. It's out of the bag. I will no longer hide shamefully in the shadows. Where an elevated few create Art for the ages, I form line into shape that merely serves the mundane and pedestrian requirements of (ew!) commerce. Well, if that's the case, so be it. In fact, I even wrote a little (modestly heroic) poem:
The Line
Neither static, inert, nor motionless but, a river pulsing and alive.
Meandering seaward, it weaves stories of the ages,
of just yesterday or tomorrows yet to come.
A bridge between mind and soul,
firm, steady, unwavering,
so that nothing is lost in the journey.
Line is my metier.
Daniel Pelavin
still out of register but, in stock since 1979
Drawing Art and Politics
Are the birds on the wing or are the wings on the bird?
Earlier this evening at the Museum of the City of New York we were enlightened and roundly entertained by Jules Feiffer, David Levine, Stan Mack and Edward Sorel. They were invited to talk about the work of illustrator John Sloan, currently on exhibition but, ended up sharing incredible insights on their own stellar and enduring careers. I'm not certain the museum even realized what an awesome event they had assembled. The blurb read simply: Graphic artists Jules Feiffer, David Levine, Stan Mack, and Edward Sorel examine how social and political issues are depicted by artists.
...and to all a good night
Wishing the happiest New Year to all the good people on Drawger
Daughter Anna and I whipped up this Gingerbread House for the holidays
Wishing the happiest New Year to all the good people on Drawger
A cool summer breeze
plane and simple
A little experiment with abandoned software from Adobe. It seems, with moderate effort, that you can get Adobe Dimensions (discontinued, November 2004) to do some pretty snappy things that weren't mentioned in the user manual and then conveniently taylor your animation frames with Adobe LiveMotion (discontinued, November 2003). Thank you Adobe. For more Fun with Adobe Dimensions, visit the Dimensions Gallery at Imagekind.
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