The master graphic designer Milton Glaser died June 26th on his 91st birthday. Though I never studied with him, he was one of the reasons I wanted to be at School of Visual Arts studying illustration. I devoured everything I could about illustration and design, and loved Glaser's work from the start.
I learned then about the idea that anything could be inspiration, and how to draw from an endless variety of visual influences to create your work. Reading his obituary reminded me of this. He taught at SVA and I learned from those who had studied or worked with him. His book ‘Art Is Work’ came out while I was a student and even its title confirmed I was where I needed to be, no matter what kind of artist I would become.
Even when I lost my way, not quite wired to be a designer or illustrator, and uncertain/unadvised about being 'just' a painter, I held on. It was something about the precision of line, color, and the incorporation of typography with shape, the way I would compose a painting and how I would consider its references and how it might connect to people. I didn’t exactly become an illustrator, that’s another story, but what I absorbed there became part of the foundation for whatever I make now.
People who knew him, call him 'a mensch, a hero, a social justice warrior, an environmental champion, a true original.' To live a deeply creative life like he did, to produce such a magnitude of stunning work and to be loved by so many, confers a kind of immortality.