Friday, October 24, 2008

Ghouls, Gourds & Books

Halloween comes early this Sunday for kids and adults alike at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.  Time to show off those costumes, carouse with colossal puppets, create recycled junk instruments, carve pumpkins and, of course, chat with celebrated children's book authors and illustrators!  I will be there signing books and would love to see familiar friendly - and scary - faces.  This is a picture of my son, Isaiah as a Taxi Driver and his friend, Levi the lion from a few years ago.  It was around when My Taxi Ride came out, so I made his stroller into a taxi cab.  Fortunately, he was young enough, and not yet highly opinionated, to impose my artistic vision onto!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Original Art at The Society

Last Thursday I attended the The Original Art Show opening at the Society of Illustrators.  It's an annual show of art from about 150 selected picture books published within the past year (usually around 650 are submitted).  I must say that this year's show was stunning!  It stood out for me from past years partly because the Society has made some changes.  For one, they got rid of that awful carpeting on the walls and painted them gallery white.  The art really pops, and quite a fabulous, diverse selection of art at that!  My husband, Sean Qualls, got both of his books in the show: Phillis's Big Test and Before John Was a Jazz Giant.  His beautifully textured modern folk paintings hang along with Mo Willems' witty graphic, The Pigeon Wants a Puppy, Ana Juan's lovely trippy, The Elephant Wish and Kadir Nelson's hauntingly realistic, We are the Ship (which took him 7 years to complete!).  Another new addition to the show is the inclusion of video clips, showing interviews and artistic processes.  For example, there is a cool video next to William Steig's art; he was awarded the posthumous lifetime achievement honor.  At the reception (since we don't get a night out nearly often enough!), it was fabulous to shmooze with editors, art directors, our agent and colleagues... but I will definitely have to go again during the day to spend more time really looking at the art - and the BOOKS.  Yes the actual books.  All of the picture books will be on display and it's always a treat to see them next to their real live art counterparts on the walls!  FYI, the selected illustrator gets to chose which spread (or spot or single page) from their book will go in the show and is responsible for framing it his/herself.  It's always interesting to me to see which image the illustrator choses as THE image to frame and display.  I've been in the show twice and believe me, I know how hard it is to decide.  The show is up until mid November and is totally worth checking out!

Society of Illustrators
63rd and Lexington
New York City