Husbands and Wives
• Most artists paint professional models, but Claude Monet used his wife, daughters, and friends as models. Why? His second wife, Alice, was jealous. When he announced that he wanted to paint a model, she told him, “The moment a model sets foot in this house, I leave.”
Illnesses and Injuries
• In Japan, a popular folk art is paper-folding, aka origami, which originated in China. The crane is a popular origami figure, in part because it chooses its mate for life. A popular folk belief is that if you fold 1,000 cranes, you will receive your greatest wish. In 1943, a Japanese girl named Sadako Sasaki was born. When she was two years old, the United States dropped an atomic bomb at Hiroshima near her home. In 1955, she became ill with the atom bomb disease, aka leukemia. She folded over 1,000 cranes, but died on 25 October 1955. In 1955, a statue of Sadako holding a golden crane was erected at the Peace Park in Hiroshima. Japanese schoolchildren raised money for the statue, on the base of which this inscription appears: “This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace on Earth.” Japan values its artists, including its folk artists. The most revered folk artists in Japan are awarded the title “Living National Treasure” and given financial support each year.
• While attending his junior year of high school, artist Wayne Thiebaud broke his back. While recuperating, he practiced his drawing, and he says, “The more I drew, the more I improved.” One thing he practiced was drawing the cartoon character Popeye, and for years afterward, he was able to draw two Popeyes at the same time by using both hands.
• Following the Russian Revolution, Marc Chagall started the Free Academy for artists. Students at the school frequently stated this slogan: “God grant that everyone may chagallelike Marc Chagall.” The Russian word chagalleis translated as “march forward.”)
• One of the black characters in Morrie Turner’s Wee Palscomic strip is Randy, who strongly believes in NAACP — Never Abandon an Adolescent Caucasian Pal.
• Children write entertaining letters to authors and illustrators. For example, Maurice Sendak has received positive letters (“Dear Mr. Sendak, I love your book. Marry me. Yours truly”) and negative letters (“Dear Mr. Sendak, I hate your book. Die soon. Cordially”). He says, “How could you not love those responses?” He also says, “Children are the best living audience in the world because they are so thoroughly honest.” Fellow author/illustrator for children Charlotte Zolotow also receives letters from kids. Some are funny, such as this one: “We had to write to an author, and I got you.” Others are touching and give honest responses to books such as her The Hating Book, about which a little girl wrote to Ms. Zolotow, “How did you know about me and my friend?” Ms. Zolotow says, “Those are the letters that have touched me the most — the ones that say, ‘How did you know about me?’ — because that means I’ve really connected my experience with theirs.”
• Authors and illustrators of children’s books often receive funny letters from children. For example, Gail Gibbons, author/illustrator of such nonfiction books as Check It Out!: The Book About Libraries, once received a letter that read, “Dear Gail, I love your books. Right now I am — oh, there’s a spider crawling across the page! SQUASH.” Right in the middle of the letter was a dead squashed spider. Ms. Gibbons laughed, and she kept the letter — and the dead spider.
• An artist can send original thank-you notes. Cartoonist/author Posey Simmonds once had a Sunday lunch with British journalist Valerie Grove and her family. Ms. Simmonds sent a thank-you note on which she had drawn a cartoon of the Grove family’s Dalmatian. It was wearing a striped apron and a chef’s hat, and it was stirring a pot on a stove.
• MAD Magazine readers are very intelligent. Don Martin’s very first cartoon for MAD contained instructions on how to tie a hangsman’s knot — his answer to the question, What ought I to do? MAD readers wrote in to correct his instructions for making a noose.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
THE COOLEST PEOPLE IN ART
Buy the Paperback
Buy in Other Formats, Including PDF