If You Gotta Steal...

APRIL 29, 2009
...steal from the greats.  Ingres is one of those greats. His painting of Zeus has been a source for a number of takeoffs in my career.  It's a deep well to draw water from.   And his monumental painting once again provided me with an excuse to indulge in a spoof image.  This is my illustration forTHE NEW YORK OBSERVERs latest edition.  It's a good guess I've drawn Anna Wintour almost as many times as I have spoofed the Ingres. This time it involved a feature on the annual Costume Institute Gala.  The article is ostensibly about Alexandra Kotur, the style director for VOGUE.  The ideas for the image, on the other hand,kept circling back to Wintour.  Peter Kaplan oriiginally had an idea that sounded more interesting than it looked once the scribbles started appearing on paper.  The sketches were going nowhere, and we were fast running against deadline.  In the course of our back and forths, a comment of Peter's about Wintour still being the force to reckon with triggered a quantum jump to the image of Zeus.  I threw it out to Peter who jumped on it immediately.  This was a situation where we were so behind the clock that I went straight to finish with no prelims involved.  A couple of false starts and finally a drawing that was starting to feel like it captured the spirit of the idea.  Another brutal afternoon spilling into early morning and the image was completed on time and ready for its close-up.  The nature of the gestures with the pen nibs and inks kept driving the image to get larger with each restart.  In a stark contrast to working with pencil where I can control the size of the drawing  and discipline myself to keep the dimensions contained, pen and ink eludes that good fortune to keep a drawing small.  Fluidity and gesture are veyr important and take on a life of their own, with the results often being a drawing much bigger than wished for within the time/deadline constraints.  But that's what makes life interesting, right?  Racing against time and still swinging for the bleechers.