• Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of such children’s classic picture books as Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, absolutely loved Mickey Mouse cartoons when he was a child, and he says that seeing one would throw him in a frenzy. His sister, Natalie, and brother, Jackie, agree. His sister remembers, “We knew it was coming, and Jackie would grab you by one arm and I would grab you by the other arm, and you would have a seizure.” Mr. Sendak says about Mickey, “I adored him, and I still do.”
• When she was a little girl, Maud Petersham loved her “Auntie” (her mother’s half-sister), with whom she and her three sisters stayed during the summers. At the end of one summer, rather than board the train that would take her home again, she hid until the train left. The result was that she was allowed to stay with Auntie for four years. Later, Maud and her husband, Miska Petersham, created many illustrated books for children, including The Christ Child(1931).
• Bob Weber is the creator of the syndicated comic strip Slylock Fox, in which the main character solves mysteries by using his knowledge of science. Among the products associated with this comic strip is a set of Slylock Fox Brain Bogglers mystery cards that can be purchased at stores. When Mr. Weber’s daughter was a little girl, she memorized all the answers. He said, “When I go out to libraries or stores to promote the set and the strip, she shouts out the answers. I have to ‘shhh’ her every time!”
• When Margaret Bourke-White was still in high school, her family took a vacation to Canada, where her father wanted to photograph some boys. Unfortunately, when the boys saw the camera, they stood still and ceased to act naturally. Thinking quickly, Margaret threw a coin onto the ground near their feet, the boys dove for the coin, and Margaret’s father got his photograph. Later, Margaret became a world-famous photographer.
• Children’s book illustrator Lisa Desimini used to do her friends’ art homework for them when she was small. One of her friends’ mothers liked a sunflower that she had painted so much that she hung the painting up in the living room — of course, the mother thought that her own daughter had created it.
• Even as a child, Spanish artist Salvador Dalí was sensitive to color. Once, his father sent him to buy two tortillas, but young Salvador returned with two rolls instead. His father asked why he had not gotten the tortillas, and Salvador replied, “I got rid of them — I didn’t like the yellow.”
• A friend of TV’s Mister Rogers used to paint trees when he was a little boy. Once, he painted a tree blue, and someone criticized his choice of colors. For years, he stopped painting trees — until a teacher told him that artists can paint things any color they want.
• Andy Warhol was an interesting character. He was interested in money, and on 10 February 1966, he took out an ad in the Village Voicethat stated this: “I’ll endorse with my name any of the following: clothing AC-DC, cigarettes small, tapes, sound equipment, ROCK N’ ROLL RECORDS, anything, film, and film equipment, Food, Helium, Whips, MONEY!! love and kisses ANDY WARHOL EL 5-9941.” His body was in bad shape; for one thing, he was shot twice by Valerie Solanas, the sole member of SCUM: Society for Cutting Up Men. He also had a hernia, for which he wore an abdominal belt. His friend Brigid Berlin dyed the belts in various pretty colors. When he finally got a gall bladder operation — the aftermath of which killed him — he wore his trademark silver wig during the operation. Throughout his life, he used glue to make the wig stay put. And yet he was normal in many ways. His mother stayed with him until her declining health and senility made it too difficult for him, who spent much time away from their home, to take care of her. He sent her back to family members in Pittsburgh, and she soon died there. His diary contains an entry saying “at Christmas time I really think about my mother and if I did the right thing sending her back to Pittsburgh. I still feel so guilty.”
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
THE COOLEST PEOPLE IN ART
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