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Stephen Kroninger
April 2012
Drew Friedman Exhibit & Book
posted:

 Drew Friedman easily ranks among the greatest of contemporary illustrators. His caricatures and portraits have always been a welcome treat to my eyes since I first began seeing his work back in the mid-eighties. The most difficult part of putting together this post was trying to edit the image downs to the essentials. I'm not sure I succeeded in that.  Even with the great amount of images I've included in this post it's still only scratching the surface of the myriad of brilliant drawings Drew has done over the years. Maybe his entire body of work is essential. So as well as alerting you to his upcoming exhibit at the Scott Eder Gallery and Fantagaphics republishing his classic LIVING OR DEAD it's just my way of finding an excuse to honor his immense talent.
photo credit: Trent Thompson


















 I have a paticular affection for these two drawings of Groucho Marx. One because I have a great affection for Groucho Marx and two because Drew has captured him so beautifully. Although there have been many wonderful caricatures of Groucho over the years, artists often choose to depict the Groucho of his movie hey-day and more often still they let the eyebrows, moustache and cigar carry their drawings thereby missing the man underneath the greasepaint and smoke. Here Drew depicts him as he appeared on his quiz show and in old age. I remember being stunned when I first saw the top drawing. I could hear his voice and feel the movement of his lips which may sound odd to the uninitiated but I trust true Grouchphiles will understand exactly what I mean. I guess what I'm saying is that Drew moved past the obvious and revealed the essence of the man in both drawings. Actually, as you scroll through these drawings you'll find that's true for all of them.

What follows are images from the recently reissued "Any Similarity To Persons Living Or Dead Is Purely Coincedental. First published in 1986 it has gone on to become a classic. If you don't already have this in your personal library now's your chance to rectify that situation. You may order your copy here.




Frank Zappa was a fan of the book's original edition as seen in this video beginning at 2:05






Even More André François
posted:
1974

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR 1962

1965

1974

1966

1969


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More André François
posted:

 Selections from THE TATTOOED SAILOR (Knopf, 1953)

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Barbara Carroll Trio
posted:


 My wife, Aviva, and I have seen Barbara Carroll perform many times over the years. Often at the Oak Room in the Algonquin with Jay Leonhart and other times at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center with the trio.
 This was a private commision. Over the past decade I've been working on a New York City series. I consider this piece as part of that series.


 I filled a sketchbook with quick character drawings. These are a few. Some are more detailed than others. Some depict attitude.







Aviva captured close to 150 images on her iPhone for me to use as general reference.
 What follows is a series of iPhone photos documenting various stages of the piece.













 I realized after I'd  begun work that the board I cut was too short to comfortably accomodate all four musicians. Rather than try and cram the drummer into the composition I decided to  cut a new board for him.
As you can see above I also toyed with the idea of sticks or brushes. I went with brushes. Not only are they more interesting graphically but the sound of brushes in my head felt more right with the mood of the other three musicians depicted.





Music I worked to for this piece.




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CLICK TO SIGN THIS PETITION: Algonquin Hotel: Don't close the Oak Room.
As a supper club, the Oak Room is vital to the Algonquin Hotel, New York City, and the American popular song. It is an iconic New York destination, crucial to the singular and beloved character of the Algonquin, and cannot be replaced by a breakfast nook or a VIP lounge. Closing it will deprive New York of one of only three premier venues -- and its most historic and intimate room -- for the American popular song. The history of the Oak Room at the Algonquin began in 1939, when it opened as a nightclub. It went dark during World War II, but reopened in 1980. For over three decades, the Oak Room has been home to many of the world's finest musical artists. It launched the careers of Diana Krall, Harry Connick Jr., Jamie Cullum, and Michael Feinstein, and, just last season, Emily Bergl. It continued to present legends such as Jack Jones, Britain's first lady of jazz Claire Martin, jazz pianist Barbara Carroll, Julie Wilson, Jimmy Webb, and Academy Award-nominated composer Sir Richard Rodney Bennett. The greatest musicians and interpreters of song, such as jazz's Bill Charlap, Tierney Sutton, Paula West, and Kurt Elling, and cabaret's Andrea Marcovicci, Karen Akers, Steve Ross, KT Sullivan, Wesla Whitfield and Maude Maggart, among many others, have performed there. As a result, the Oak Room attracted patrons like Liza Minnelli, Tony Bennett, Clive Davis, Angela Lansbury, Stephen Sondheim, Paul McCartney, Mike Nichols, Diane Sawyer, and Elvis Costello, and all other lovers of good music. Reserving the Oak Room as a VIP lounge for breakfast and tea -- as the hotel intends -- is fine, but doesn't need to preclude its use as a cabaret and jazz room in the evening. This decision is not only breaking the hearts of those legions of New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world who have loved the Algonquin and the Oak Room beyond all other hotels and clubs, it ignores the basic principle of branding—unique selling proposition. The Oak Room and its performers generate publicity, prestige, and good will for the hotel. The Round Table is gone. Matilda, the Algonquin Cat, no longer freely roams the lobby. The Oak Room is the last still-breathing vestige of the Algonquin's century-long storied history.

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