Friday, January 16, 2009
I was delighted to be asked to create a piece for the House of Illustration, a picture book art museum being developed in London by Quentin Blake and other friends in the UK. For the project, entitled - What Are You Like? - I was asked to list eight of my favorite things and in this way create a kind of self-portrait. The piece has been printed as a limited edition signed giclee lithograph which can be purchased by visiting the House of Illustration web site shop at http://www.houseofillustration.org.uk/shop.php#prints.
While it hasn’t been my custom to plug books or products, I want to do my best to support this worthy cause. All proceeds from the sale of this print support the development of the House of Illustration.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
It has been a great pleasure and privilege to work with my Japanese publisher Kaisei-sha over the years. Our relationship began in the late 1960's, when my editor Ann Beneduce brought with her on a trip to Japan, a copy of my yet to be published book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Because of its special features, the die-cut holes in the fruits and foods and the graduated, shortened pages - Ann had been unable to find a printer in the U.S. It was Mr. Hiroshi Imamura, then president of Kaisei-sha, who found a way to print The Very Hungry Caterpillar in Japan and who embraced the challenge it took to make this book a reality.
Now The Very Hungry Caterpillar is turning forty and while there is a great deal to celebrate this anniversary year, I especially want to honor and remember Mr. Hiroshi Imamura, who passed away in November, 2008. For his kind and generous effort, I am deeply grateful. We will always remember him with great fondness and admiration.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Since turning 75 when I made the decision to retire from the daily office and studio work, I have been fortunate to live in two places of great beauty, spending the winter in one of the Florida keys and the summer in the mountains of North Carolina. My wife Bobbie is from North Carolina and still has friends and family nearby so we both feel right at home and taken in by the warmth of the community there. We have a view of the hills that are sometimes so covered in fog it is like an ocean of mist outside our windows. But the climate in the summer is very comfortable. For many years, we lived in the hills of western Massachusetts, also a beautiful area, (and we moved there from New York City! You see I have been moving around a lot!). We had a very nice flower garden there and I enjoyed watching out for visitors from the nearby forest including bears, deer, porcupines, foxes, skunks and many birds. Once I opened the door from the inside of the house and stood nose to nose with a bear, separated by the screen door only. I don't know who was more surprised! Then the bear ran away. Actually they are very shy.
In Florida, our home is very close to the water and we are constantly marveling at the view of the ocean, Ospreys and Pelicans flying past and Iguanas strutting among the palm trees and mangroves. This is very far from the kinds of views I had as a child in Germany, and yet the closeness to nature is not that different from what I enjoyed as a child when my father took me out for walks and showed me all that could be found on a trail in the woods.
I will turn 80 years old in June and it is wonderful to have these days by the sea and in the hills, with Bobbie and all of our close friends and family nearby or able to visit. And to have a studio to work in both places. I have no complaints.