High Society

I too went on the Marywood University Art Department bus trip to New York City last week. I would never pass up on a chance to go to the Society of Illustrators. I saw SO MANY awesome things there this time! It always seems like each trip is better than the last.

This trip was all about comics, comics, and more comics! The first two floors were filled with alt-weekly comic art. Big names from today and yesterday were presented. Matt Groenig, the creator of the Simpsons and Futurama, had work featured in the exhibit. An original cover from an underground newspaper called The East Village Other was drawn up by Robert Crumb, known for his illustrations in Mad Magazine.

All of the artists that participated in this exhibit have a very different outlook on life. I loved the dark humor that many of the strips contained. Among the famous names I was familiar with, there were quite a few I did not know. Mark Beyer and Karl Stevens were just two of the new names that really stuck out to me. Beyer illustrates a strip called Amy and Jordan and it is incredibly dark in spite of it’s naive and abstracted whimsical look. I immediately fell in love with the decorative style and morose content of each strip. On the other hand, Stevens’ art is the exact opposite and not what you would expect from comic artwork. His work is very well studied and hyper-real, influenced by his work as a painter.

In the dining hall there were works from Craig Yoe’s private collection. Yoe was actually here at Marywood for the 2012 Stretch conference. He and his wife were working on a book about the secret life and artwork of Joe Shuster, the creator of Superman. He’s quite the comic book aficionado. He had an original drawing of Superman by Shuster, a comic page by Jack Kirby, and a few pieces by Wally Wood. Yoe was also fortunate enough to get his hands on an original Peanuts comic drawn by Schultz himself.

The third exhibit, which snaked around the second floor, featured the art of Hugo Pratt. Pratt is a famous Italian comic book creator know for the nautical adventure titled Corto Maltese. The art consisted of beautiful pen and ink work. Some had watercolor washes over them and stood alone as excellent pieces. I definitely want to find a copy of this book and give it a read. You can just see the action of it all in his line work.

And of course, the rotating works in the permanent collection never cease to amaze me. Pruett Carter, Mead Schaeffer, Dean Cornwell, N.C. Wyeth, and Joseph Christian Leyendecker (all these names you should know!) all had a work featured. But what really took me off guard was the big piece done by Drew Struzan. I had been looking into him recently and was not expecting to see his work in person any time soon. But there it was! And it was glorious!

Overall, this trip to the Society was more than amazing. Definitely one of my all time favorite museums. If you haven’t, you should totally check it out whenever you can.

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