John S. Dykes
About two and a half years ago, I started on a journey to see if a period of study, after being a freelance illustrator for more than 25 years, would have an overall positive effect on my life and my work as an artist. The adventure culminated a few weeks ago with an exhibition at the University of Hartford and my completion of the MFA in Illustration program at Hartford Art School. I cannot speak highly enough about what this has meant to me - on so many levels. And, as many commencement speeches drone on and on about - while graduations do mark the end of something, its almost more of a beginning of the next stage of growth - the building of a new foundation from which to continue and grow as an illustrator. It has been an inspiring trip!
The biggest challenge was trying to create as much new ‘school’ work as possible - within the time constraints of a usually full assignment schedule. This caused some pressure, especially in the last six months or so. But, somehow you carve extra time out of each day and keep movin’.
Here is a collection of some of the work I included in the recent exhibition. (A few you might have seen...).
I created an illustration promotion... disguised as series of greeting cards (thats why the titles on some). Just email your address if you want a boxed set (6 cards and envelopes). I’ll be mailing these to wonderful art directors in September.
Kudos and thanks to Murray and Carol Tinkelman for running such a great program, and for urging me to join them. (Murray, a recent Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame inductee, was my undergraduate illustration professor - and mentor - at Syracuse University a long time ago). The people they have surrounded themselves with that are teaching are outstanding. Good vibes through and through.
In fact, I was fortunate enough to have Robert Hunt sit in on my thesis defense. He was in Hartford for a week as an invited guest lecturer / teacher with the group. (And no, he didn’t let me off easy!).
I’ll miss the excitement of the program - the travel, the inspiration of working with other artists. However... I will return to the classroom in September. Not as a student, no no. But to teach! One illustration course at the New Hampshire Institute of Art - with a great illustration program headed up by art director / artist / instructor extraordinaire Jim Burke. Looking forward to Fridays in Manchester, NH this fall.