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Confessions of an ink-stained wretch

NOVEMBER 9, 2013

My friend and fellow illustrator Kurt Hollomon invited me to participate in a show he was curating with Mack McFarland, called Tear-Sheet: The daily grind of illustration, at the Feldman Gallery in Portland OR. He further honored me with the request to illustrate the announcement for the show.
Here's the mission statement:

The image and word have never had a more successful marriage then in the newspapers and magazines. They are both expected to do what the other cannot on its own. These expectations are high and the timelines short.  Even before the onslaught of the 24-hour news cycle, artists slinging the ink of the brush have had to contend with claustrophobic deadlines and enigmatic editors. The resulting practice developed by these artists have become as ritualistic as one's interactions with print media. Tear-Sheet brings to light the extensive process of contemporary newspaper and magazine illustrators.  On display will be sketches with art director notes and coffee stains, next to finished and printed works.  Artist include: Catherine Lazure, Joe Ciardiello, Marcellus Hall, Philippe Lardy, Vivienne Flesher, and many others.

Given the show's focus on sketches, I chose to exhibit 32 doodles – some new, some old – from the vast trove of killed sketches that I've accumulated over the years. Now for the hard part - what to do for the announcement? While pawing through the dusty sheaves, deep in my killed sketches vault, little doodles from the past kept jumping out at me, crying for completion. Tired from my exertions, the clouds of dust turning the tracks of my tears into dry grey smudges, I curled up on a soft heap of crumpled ideas, and was soon lost in fitful sleep and dreaming. In my dream, the old sketches swirled around my head like cartoon stars and birds, chirping and beaming until finally coming to rest on the page, repurposed into a new comic – part autobiography, part cri de couer. When I awoke, there it was, tacked to the drawing board. Make of it what you will, pilgrim, and take heed of whatever measures and warnings you may find there.

Thanks Kurt, for helping to give these old cracked gems new life, and for including me among such great company in the show.

© 2024 Ross MacDonald