It was just five years and some months ago that I graduated from the School of Visual Arts MFA program, Illustration as Visual Essay, a two-year experience that, to be blunt changed my life. On view now in the school’s Chelsea galleries is “We Tell Stories,” an exhibition showcasing the vast array of work produced by three decades worth of graduates. Organized over two years by founding Chair Marshall Arisman and Director of Operations Kim Ablondi, it covers the breadth of the illustration world with editorial work, children’s books, graphic novels, and more on display.
Very near and dear to my heart is the room dedicated to children’s books, designed with extraordinary florescent flare by alumni Aya Kakeda and Sara Varon—I mean, just wait until you see their rugs! About a month ago, the two hosted a bunch of us children’s book artists to paint an assortment of furniture for the room. (I had the pleasure of painting a lamp—grumpy on one side, happy on the other). But it’s the impressive display of picture books that takes center stage, from the likes of Brian Floca, Lauren Castillo, Paul Hoppe, You Byun, Stephen Savage, Andy Rash, Dasha Tolstikova, Sybille Schenker, John Hendrix…I could go on, and on. I am so proud to have some of my work included—some of my birds even made the cut.