- My friend Ed attended the opening of the Advertising show at this year's 51st New York Society of Illustrators Show in New York, in which I had two pieces for the first time ever. Ed had a vested interest in seeing the show, as he wrote the words for 'Sky High', one of the chosen illustrations, he also wrote the story inside this years Christmas cards.
Here is his report:
It was bright and hot in there at 6. As the two floors filled up and we milled around it became obvious that all the entries were extremely good. The soundtrack for the first hour went between dub and Bob Marley via some rowdy tunes skipped soon after they started by whoever was controlling the player, possibly so no-one started bouncing. The food, in a word, was Jesus. The bar, in a word, was free. Relaxed happy folk murmured and mingled until 7 when the gallery director introduced John Cuneo to the podium. John had appeared at the events for the other 2 categories earlier in the year and started with the line "I'm gonna say the same stuff I said last time only faster." He then babbled and blurted and stumbled and stuttered until everybody's ice was broken. We learned he was asked to do the Call For Entires posters only after R.Crumb refused. We learned his mother hasn't liked his stuff since he stopped drawing people with big feet. His people with big heads are just not enough for her. He told us how extraordinary a thing it is to be selected for the show, especially as the Advertising and Uncomissioned category was the largest this year. The jurors had stayed up until midnight deadline day deciding what made the selection and what didn't. It was, apparently, "a gruelling process".
The medals were then accepted by the artists with charming degrees of happiness, nerves and bemusement. Some didn't realise they had to speak. Some expressed relief at finally being able to crawl from their caves and meet their fellow illustrators. Sometimes the desk is a lonely place. Takahisa Hashimoto got the biggest laugh of the night by starting his speech with "Hello New York!".
After all the awards had been received and everyone had applauded everyone else, the mingle-chatter was louder and technical talk floated around on clouds of mutual respect. Eyeballs went up close to pictures. More drinks went down. The bar staff were great. And just before it was time to leave we were served trays of creamy apple crepes. Next year there should be a medal for the food. And maybe a medal for Best Entry featuring a Fictional Creature, which this year was certainly Michael Wandelmaier's "Harpooning The Wooly Whale". I'm not an illustrator but I'll be back there next year. I hope.
- Me too Ed. Thanks for going!