you'll find a variety of samples of my artwork, from illustrations
and posters to set designs and production designs over the years.
You'll also find information on some writing projects, as well
as miscellaneous interviews and any other nonsensical tidbits
busy these past few months, I've hardly had time to update my
site. Rest assured, I'm looking to have a lot of updates in
the new year, including some new art commissions and info on
new book releases.
wishes to you all this holiday season. To help mark the occasion,
I found a clip from a MUPPETS Christmas special that I remember
seeing when it first aired 30 years ago... Boy, this brings
back memories, and makes me a bit misty-eyed.
I finally got to meet Werner Herzog...
I completely forgot to tell him that he was one of the subjects
of my film thesis at Vassar -- "Cinema and the Obsessed".
(Or something like that.)
all I can write about this experience right now, which was a
bit surreal. One of my all-time favorite, life-changing filmmakers,
and a leading inspiration for my wanting to work in the film
no, I didn't have to haul a boat over a mountain to get this
much, too little.
been wrestling with bronchitis for nearly a month, and now that
I'm finally feeling in the neighborhood of well, I've realized
just how much of my life outside of work
has either been ignored or put on hold. Being sick, the raging
debate over healthcare reform makes my experience that much
more painful. Though I have health coverage, it costs me in
excess of $70 a week (a rather steep price on my budget), and
my insurance company's
customer "service" is so awful it's insulting.
seems that those only too happy to spend untold billions for
a war in Iraq in the name of "protecting" the people
nevertheless do not wish to risk a dime by protecting people's
health back home. It's estimated that in America, someone dies
every 12 seconds because they don't have health insurance.
Don't these gun-toting, right-wing wackos see anything wrong
topic aside, this has been a weird time for me, as I find myself
constantly busy with day-to-day routines, but falling grossly
behind in many of my personal projects.
ECHOES THROUGH THE DARK is still delayed, largely for
reasons beyond my control. Explaining it all would require a
book unto itself, but that backstory might come out when the
thing is finally released. God knows when that will be.
for all intents & purposes, the musical adaptation of HOW
TO SUCCEED IN HEAVEN WITHOUT REALLY DYING is...dead.
Well, not dead dead, but it's buried under a pile of
entanglements involving another musical the producer
is working on. Until that musical is finished -- and it's already
been years in the making -- mine will be going nowhere fast.
have had some new art commissions come in, but because I was
so ill I had to put them on hold for several weeks. But I can
delay no longer; it's time to jump back into the creative fires,
which is my hoity-toity way of saying I need to GET OFF MY ASS.
many of the giants from my childhood have passed recently...John
Hughes, Michael Jackson, Farah Fawcett, and now Patrick Swayze...
It saddens me, partly because I am increasingly aware that middle
age will soon be knocking on my door. While I'm proud of my
accomplishments thus far, I always imagined that, by this point
in my life, I would have accomplished much more.
September 18, 2009
Bernie Fuchs (1932-2009)
Adam Bernstein, Washington Post Staff Writer
Bernie Fuchs, 76, an illustrator whose influential work for
magazines ranging from Cosmopolitan to Sports Illustrated seamlessly
blended qualities of traditional narrative with hints of abstract
composition, died of esophageal cancer Sept. 17 at a care facility
in Fairfield, Conn. He lived in nearby Westport.
Fuchs was adept at balancing art and commerce. He met the needs
of mass-circulation magazines accustomed to Norman Rockwell-style
realism, but he injected a fresh vitality and impressionism
that became hugely popular and transformed the illustration
field. He even experimented with bold designs based on the abstract
expressionism movement popularized by painters Jackson Pollock
and Willem de Kooning.
vivid example, commissioned by McCall's magazine in the late
1950s, was a portrait
of two young couples relaxing in a small room after dinner.
One man is lying on the ground, his head nestled on a woman's
lap and smoking a cigarette as she strokes his hair. While the
image has the control and realism of Rockwell, it also has several
more dynamic features taken from avant-garde techniques: the
vigorous brush strokes; the tilted horizon that heightens a
sense of drama; a lampshade in the foreground that appears slightly
distorted; and, most strikingly, the placement of the couples
in the distance instead of being the center of the picture.
combined the best of both worlds," said illustrator Murray Tinkelman,
who directs the University of Hartford's master of fine arts
program and chairs the New York-based Society of Illustrators'
hall of fame committee. "He became the most emulated and imitated
illustrator in the field through the 1980s . . . when the vogue
turned to more decorative, whimsical, punkier illustrations
that were influenced by underground cartoons like those of Robert
Fuchs entered the hall of fame in 1975. He was among the youngest
inductees on a roster that includes Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, Winslow
Homer and John James Audubon.
Leo Fuchs was born Oct. 19, 1932, in the coal mining town of
O'Fallon, Ill., and his father soon abandoned the family. As
a young man, Mr. Fuchs enjoyed drawing characters from Walt
Disney movies and "The Wizard of Oz," but his main interest
became jazz trumpet.
worked in a machine shop after high school, and the loss of
three fingers from his right hand ended his musical ambitions.
He enrolled in art school out of desperation, figuring it was
his only career prospect.
money he received from the accident paid for his art training
at Washington University in St. Louis, where he graduated in
1954. About this time, he married his high school sweetheart,
Anna Lee Hesse. She survives, living in Westport, along with
their three children, Cynthia Fuchs of Washington, Derek Fuchs
of Casselberry, Fla., and Ellise Fuchs of Torino, Italy; and
college, Mr. Fuchs went to work for a commercial art studio
in Detroit and found immediate success drawing the latest car
models for magazines, brochures and billboards. He captured
the chrome-dappled allure of the auto industry: happy Americans
enjoying themselves at picnics and on golf courses and accompanied
by their elegant cars.
might portray a married couple dressed formally in suits dazzled
by a car on the street, or a woman in a fancy ball gown swooning
over a car in a showroom, but Bernie's innovation was to put
the cars in real life situations with people in all kinds of
informal poses, having fun and even in some cases standing in
front of the car (heresy!)," illustration authority David Apatoff
wrote in an e-mail.
top corporations in America took note of Mr. Fuchs's skill.
He relocated to suburban Connecticut in the late 1950s and became
one of the busiest commercial artists of the next 20 years,
working for businesses such as Coca-Cola and Seagram's, as well
as magazines including TV Guide and Look.
the publications, he created a range of illustrations, with
scenes from romance fiction and images that conveyed the grit
of athletes and the determination of presidents and civil rights
leaders. Mr. Fuchs often photographed his subjects and returned
to his studio to turn the images into illustrations. He said
his most challenging deadline story came in 1969, when Sports
Illustrated assigned him to cover the Rose Bowl in Pasadena,
Calif., and the Orange Bowl in Miami. He saw the Rose Bowl live,
lurking on the sidelines with his camera, and watched the game
in Miami on television. He finished six paintings in 36 consecutive
hours of work.
the course of a prolific career, he met many historic figures
of his era, including President John F. Kennedy, baseball player
Jackie Robinson, entertainers Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope, and
cellist Pablo Casals, who, ailing at 93, nevertheless played
a Bach cantata for Mr. Fuchs at the musician's villa in Puerto
in the mid-1970s, Mr. Fuchs had contracts to illustrate postage
stamps and children's books. His paintings, whose subjects ranged
from images of the Old West to the Longchamps horse races in
France, were exhibited in galleries worldwide. Jill Bossert,
editor of Society of Illustrators books, once described Mr.
Fuchs's skill: "His colors shine with the brilliance of stained
glass as if lit from within. His equine pictures rival Degas."
OPEN YOUR EYES!
spoof of the finale of RAIDERS, courtesy of ROBOT CHICKEN.
"NIMH" screening in L.A.
those living in Los Angeles, the NEW
BEVERLY CINEMA will be showing a double-feature of Don Bluth's
AN AMERICAN TAIL and THE SECRET OF NIMH on September 6th and
7th. This is one of the rare opportunities to see these films
again on the big screen.
I enjoyed AN AMERICAN TAIL, it's "NIMH" that always
held a special place in my heart. I never could put my finger
on it -- the film isn't your traditional crowd pleaser -- but
I think I was attracted to how unique Bluth's film seemed, especially
when compared to other animated films of its time. It's darker
yet more sentimental, and the animation is truly breathtaking.
The music and voice talent also help immeasurably.
when I had some spare income, I splurged and bought a number
of original animation cells from the film, including some of
the main characters featured in prominent scenes. These purchases
were not intended as financial investments so much as the acquisition
of personal treasures -- the wonderful ability to own a piece
of the magic and craftsmanship of something you love.
of "NIMH", I recently found this courtesy of CartoonBrew.com:
A YouTube clip of Ralph Bakshi and Don Bluth back in 1982, discussing
the (then) future of animation on Nightcap, a literary
roundtable hosted by journalists Studs Terkel and Calvin Trillin.
It's also interesting (and bittersweet) that the use of developing
computer graphics' technologies, as featured in Disney's TRON,
has since trampled over traditional, hand-drawn animation.
listen, and react.
"Dingo" Grosz was a classmate of mine at Vassar --
we even made a film together
my senior year.
his recent YouTube post about the debate over health care reform
makes me really, really proud to know him.
year older, another year wizur.
UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter credits me. :)
"NIMH" article, detailed in my July
28th entry, has, happily, now credited me for the artwork!
Though I'd rather have my name in an article involving a multi-million
dollar script sale or development deal, this still excites me
on the image below for a screengrab of the full article.
REPORTER article on NIMH remake features my work...but
not my name!
surprizes came to me today. First, the news that Paramount was
developing a live-action/CGI version of Mrs. Frisby and
the Rats of NIMH -- which was the basis, of course,
for Don Bluth's animated THE
SECRET OF NIMH. Second, that the online edition
of THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER,in
covering the story, included an image not from the 1982
film, but of my
I'm excited to see my work out there, I'm a bit dismayed that
this was done without my knowledge or consent. I just emailed
the editors at THR, stating that I don't mind their using my
artwork, provided that I am credited for it.
friend told me that this was likely just a case of the magazine
mistaking the illustration for a still of the film. If that's
the case, I consider it a compliment.
follow-up interview with Ed Dolista for the
INDYCAST is now online! In it, I discuss more about
the Richard Amselart exhibit, as well
as the late artist's life, work, and career.
issues addressed include the current decline of movie poster
art, David Edward Byrd's lecture, the search for a long-lost
"RAIDERS" comp, Amsel's love of (and ambitions toward)
animation, and an unspoken rivarly with fellow poster artist
to listen to my new interview on the INDYCAST! (The previous
interview from last April can be found here.)
contribution to the next Presidential race:
Working at Warner Brothers...
few weeks after my gig at Disney last year, I began working
with Warner Bros. Digital Distribution. The division handles
everything from the online sales of digital movies, to movies
on demand, mobile, cable, Apple/iTunes, and hotel venues. Their
recent launch of the Warner
Bros. Archive Collection has also garnered considerable
one of the hardest working teams I've ever been a part of, and
I've had the privilege of working as their art coordinator of
sorts -- handling all movie posters and artwork. So if you should
see a poster on iTunes that looks a bit shoddy, well... It's
film requires a variety of art assets, including not just the
standard poster image, but a textless version without titles
or billing. Sometimes
these assets are available, or can be made easily from layered
Photoshop files. Often, however, they have to be created by
digitally "painting out" the text. This can be a big
challenge when the background is particularly complex, or if
the best-quality image is in a foreign language. These are some
to the enormous volume of work and "can't miss" deadlines
on a near daily basis, you can only spend so much time on a
given title -- usually just a few minutes. It's a constant struggle
between being meticulous with the work and timely in the process.
Even when layered PSDs might be available in another department,
I'm usually in such a rush that I just go ahead and rework the
posters myself. The
results may not be as thorough as I would have liked, but it
has provided me with invaluable experience in working creatively
while under pressure.
UPDATE: The Art of BOB PEAK opening reception!
just got back from the exhibit's opening and posted some photos
truly was extraordinary, and featured originals of some
the artist's most famous illustrations -- including work for
STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, EXCALIBUR, EQUUS, PENNIES FROM
HEAVEN, THE SPY WHO LOVED ME, THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY,
and APOCALYPSE NOW.
these originals really is an eye-opening experience. Most of
Peak's paintings are huge, and demonstrate a unique sense of
both fluidity and control. His illustrations often strike me
as having a dreamlike quality -- or even nightmarish, as in
the case of APOCALYPSE NOW and EXCALIBUR -- that is both haunting
was particularly happy to see my friends Dorian
Hannaway and David Edward
Byrd again, all of us reunited for the first time since
the Amsel exhibit last April. It was also a pleasure to finally
meet Matthew Joseph Peak, a
distinguished artist whose work, as with his late father's,
I've long admired.
exhibit runs for just a little over two weeks, so if you're
in the Los Angeles area be sure to give it a look!
of the most imaginative and prolific illustrators of the
20th century, Bob Peak revolutionized advertising in the
film industry and is considered the "father of the modern
movie poster." His work for such films as CAMELOT,
MY FAIR LADY, SUPERMAN, EXCALIBUR, STAR TREK I-V, and APOCALYPSE
NOW possessed a signature style -- and a painting technique
that was very, very much his own.
addition to work in the film industry, Peak illustrated
45 covers of Time Magazine - including the well-known portrait
of Mother Teresa, now featured in the National Portrait
Gallery Smithsonian Institution along with his paintings
of Anwar Sadat and Marlon Brando.
Nucleus will feature a collection of Peak's original artwork,
in addition to a rare selection of iconic movie posters
and advertising work. This will indeed be a rare and exciting
opportunity to view in person, a massive retrospective into
the range and versatility of a 20th Century Master.
Art of Bob Peak
June 6, 2009 - June 23, 2009 Gallery
210 East Main St.
Alhambra, CA 91801
past few months I've been trying to "psych" myself
with a little more creative energy, and fortunately I've found
some good sources of inspiration.
ENIGMAS, a wonderful book on the work of the late Edward
Gorey, whose macabre, sinister, yet delightful and understated
drawings have always tickled my rather odd sense of humor. I
was fortunate to have seen a recent exhibition of his work;
I've posted a few pictures here.
is William Stout's PREHISTORIC
LIFE MURALS, a chronicle of the famous dinosaur and
fantasy illustrator's mural work for various museums. I saw
several of them in San Diego last year,
and, by coincidence, was lucky enough to have run into the artist
during my visit.
taken photos of some of the murals myself that (despite the
use of an expensive digital camera) turned out rather miserably,
was especially impressed with the color and detail of the reproductions
inside the book. Stout's commentary is also very inspiring.
I wanted to mention a book that has been out for quite some
time, but deserves to be rediscovered by those who've yet to
get their hands on it. Bernie
Wrightson's FRANKENSTEIN is, for my money, unquestionably
the definitive edition of Mary Shelley's classic gothic horror
novel. Wrightson's stark pen and ink images are staggering to
behold, both in the complexity of their detail and the power
of their dramatic composition. Shelley's story is now legend,
but Wrightson's interpretation gives it a new life (pardon the
pun) that also feels wholly faithful to the writing itself.
Those who insist that pictures have little or no importance
when compared to the words within a book would be hard pressed
to dismiss Wrightson's achievement.
recently met Wrightson during a lecture he gave about his life
and career, much of it devoted to his work on Frankenstein.
It was truly a labor of love for the artist, a personal project
he worked on for years -- and without any pay!
new hardcover edition by Dark Horse
reproduces Wrightson's images in a larger format (measuring
9" x 12"), and it's a must for both fans of the novel
and fine illustration.
So much to say, so little to write.
been back in Los Angeles for over a week now, have been swamped
with work, and am still adjusting. As the headline reads, so
much has happened in my life -- all of it good! -- that it's
now hard for me to know how and where to begin writing here.
guess I'll start with the biggest news, at least on a personal
front: my sister Heather gave birth to her second child on January
22nd, and this Easter I was able to see my little nephew, Theodore
Harrington V, for the very first time. I was also able to see
my niece, Johanna Rose, and the rest of my family for the first
time in over a year. Needless to say, Adam is one very, very
with my sister, brother-in-law,
niece and nephew.
who has even more
personality than shown here.
dad, demonstrating a calmness to his
grandchildren that his son seldom witnessed.
on the baby front, one of my oldest and dearest friends recently had a beautiful little
girl. While visiting them, and after having already
spent a bit of time with my sister's own children, I thought
I heard a small voice inside me, trying to nudge my life down
the path of possible fatherhood...
This flyer promoting
the exhibit features Amsel's final comp in preparation
for the Raiders of the Lost Ark re-release poster.
not now... Nor soon... But maybe... A possible, who-knows-what,
"for your consideration" maybe... It's the stuff of
wonderful domestic daydreams, both fanciful and mundane, that
put a big grin on my face. In
the meantime, though, I have two cats, two plants, and a small
group of friends to keep as company. And that's good enough
to tide me over for a long while.
think my involvement, small as it was, with the RICHARD
AMSEL ART RETROSPECTIVE will remain an experience I'll
treasure for the rest of my life. If any of you are in the Philadelphia
area through May 14th, do yourself a favor and give the exhibit
could go on and on about Amsel's work, or David
Edward Byrd's beautiful tribute and speech, or Dorian Hannaway's
commitment and dedication to preserving her late friend's legacy...but
to avoid repeating myself over and over again, allow me to simply
refer you to www.RichardAmsel.info.
in Pennsylvania, I also managed to pay a long overdue visit
to the Brandywine
River Museum, home to an exquisite collection of N.C.
Wyeth and Andrew
Wyeth paintings (including N.C.'s legendary works for Treasure
Island, Kidnapped and The Last of the Mohicans).
Sadly, I was unaware of the younger Wyeth's passing just last
January...which made seeing his work in person for the first
time a bittersweet experience.
on hand was a collection of work from the late Edward
Gorey, one of my favorite modern illustrators. I was only
able to snap a few pictures before a security guard politely
gave me a cease and desist, but here are three highlights:
On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia...
I'm heading there tomorrow morning, to see my family for the
first time in ages, and for the opening of the Richard
Amsel exhibit. David Edward Byrd just sent me this flyer
regarding his upcoming lecture, which will prominently feature
both his own work as well as Amsel's:
last week I was interviewed by Ed Dolista for the
INDYCAST to discuss Amsel's life and career. The web
podcast, a discussion of all things Indiana Jones, is expected
to air tomorrow night (April 11). It was a lot of fun to do
-- Ed and I spoke on the phone for nearly an hour, and unfortunately
I was on the verge of a sneezing fit for a large part of that
Did Ed edit my sneeze out as promised? You'll just have
to listen to the show to find out...
past few months I've been so swamped with work,
and so involved with the Amsel website,
that everything else has fallen by the wayside. I'll need to
get everything back on track upon my return.
I'm literally halfway out the door to leave for the airport
when I checked my computer one last time, and found the podcast
HERE to listen to my interview on the INDYCAST!
Ten years gone...
lost Stanley Kubrick ten years ago today. To all those who dismissed
his work as cold and detached, may I present the final scene
of PATHS OF GLORY to prove you wrong.
What a week!
spent Valentine's/President's Day weekend in San Francisco,
where it poured hard, cold rain -- but I loved every minute
of it. I'll post some interesting pics shortly.
are some quick images I took at the Drew
Struzan opening at Gallery
Nucleus in Alhambra. It's amazing to see the
artist's original movie poster illustrations firsthand (only
in person can one notice the glitter paint Struzan used for
painting Julia Roberts for his beautiful HOOK poster). But it's
also amazing to see Struzan's more personal works, where he
branches out into other painting techniques that stand apart
from his more widely known, signature "look".
Richard Amsel and Drew Struzan exhibits!
in the planning stages, the Richard Amsel exhibit -- the first
dedicated exclusively to the artist/illustrator -- is happening
at last. Oddly enough, it was exactly a year ago that I wrote
my online article on Amsel, and now I have the pleasure of not
only knowing several of Amsel's friends and family, but owning
one of his original pieces.
Richard Amsel Retrospective
Presented by The University
of the Arts
April 15 - May 14, 2009
The University of the Arts
333 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
speaking of illustrators, select famous works from Drew
Struzan's career, as well as contemporary personal works,
and high quality reproductions, will be featured in an exhibition
at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, CA. The artist himself will
be in attendance during the opening reception on Friday, February
is a rare opportunity to view these culturally iconic works
firsthand. If you like looking at Struzan's posters, just wait
until you see the originals with your own eyes.
Struzan: An Artist's Vision
Presented by Gallery
February 13 - March 2, 2009
210 East Main St.
Alhambra, CA 91801
Creative happenings. With
all the craziness of the holidays (I hosted four parties:
Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's),
a new job, and some kinda/sorta/possible/hopeful movement
on a few long-gestating creative projects, I've let a few
interesting things fall by the wayside, and wanted to give
them their due at last.
my friend Jolino
Beserra helped with an extensive, beautiful redesign of
the Alhambra Public Library by creating colorful mosaics for
the children's wing. He and his partner, illustrator David
Edward Byrd, invited me to the opening ceremonies last fall;
above are some pics of the event.
also wanted to mention a new book of sonnets by Faith Schultze,
titled Simple Things Bring Joy. Though I've never
been an avid fan of poetry, this collection has a special place
in my heart...right next to its author. Faith Schultze was one
of my early loves, and the book's cover and title recall a lazy
afternoon we shared together laying amid a field of daffodils
on the Vassar College campus. I've been told, too, that four
of the sonnets were directly inspired by me.
now you're all probably on the verge of gagging, expecting me
to describe a sentimental story of young love...but the reality
of our relationship all those years ago was a far more bittersweet
experience. Using the word "tumultuous" to describe
it would be a gross understatement.
through the years, wisdom, distance, and age helped Faith and
me put our bad memories behind us. She was, in fact, one of
the first people from Vassar to reach out to me when my mother
some others -- the old adage that tragedy helps you discover
who your real friends are is painfully accurate), and a sonnet
she wrote to help console me, For a Boy Who Lost His Mother,
is included in the collection. It's one of the most thoughtful
gifts I think I've ever received, and still provides comfort
in light of my grief.
new year got off to a good start yesterday when a friend and
I visited a small comic book store in Montrose, CA. (We figured
any such place that could be open on January 1st was deserving
of our business.) On a shelf I found a new, beautifully designed
book on illustrator J.C.
Leyendecker, and wanted to rave about it here.
you're not familiar with the name, you've almost certainly seen
his work. Leyendecker's covers for THE SATURDAY EVENING POST,
as well as countless fashion magazines, made him the most successful
American commercial artist of his day. He was also a huge influence
and mentor to Norman Rockwelll,
and while the latter artist remained a longstanding American
icon and public figure, Leyendecker was an intensely private
man, though every bit as talented.
is the first major publication in over thirty years dedicated
exclusively to Leyendecker's work, and it's filled with a vast
collection of pieces rarely seen nowadays. That in itself makes
the book noteworthy, but authors Laurence S. Cutler and Judy
Goffman Cutler have also unearthed an extraordinary amount of
information on Leyendecker's personal life, heretofore unknown
or rarely discussed by the public at large.
$50.00 pricetag may seem a bit steep to the casual buyer, but
considering the book's quality and size, it's easily justified
-- and makes an ideal gift for any artist or art-lover in your