Parsons Illustration Alum and current Adjunct Faculty member Veronica Lawlor took part in the Urban Sketchers’ Conference this past May. The conference took place in Portland, OR and was comprised of lectures, sessions, and practical sessions that put drawing into action. Ronnie was an instructor/presenter at the symposium and is on the board of directors for Urban Sketchers. She was interviewed about her background and inspirations on the symposium blog. Here’s a snippet:
When I search for “reportage drawings”, your name appears everywhere on the results. What is reportage drawing and why do you think reportage drawing as an art genre is important?
The word reportage comes from the French, meaning ‘the act or process of reporting’. Reportage drawing can be journalistic or descriptive of place and can carry the artist’s opinion. Since it is painted or drawn and not photographed, reportage illustration can take liberties with ‘reality’ in order to be clearer in meaning. It is important to the art genre because it is a direct artistic response to a place or situation, right there on the spot, and it becomes very instinctive. In that it is different from the majority of artistic experience that involves the artist alone in a studio working.
Since there is a direct connection between the artist’s hand, eye and mind, it can be very emotional as well. Reportage is so rewarding for me because I love it as a way to interact with the world and contribute.
You are the author for several books and your works are exhibited in galleries and museums. Can you tell us more and what these achievements mean to you in your role as artist, illustrator and educator?
The gratifying thing about having my work published and in gallery or museum settings is that I am able to reach the public with it. To me, art is always about communication with people. When my drawings of September 11th were exhibited at the Fire Museum in New York City, I had firemen coming up to me with tears in their eyes telling me how emotionally affected they were by seeing them. That kind of emotional connection is such a big part of the reason why I started drawing in the first place. I can be a bit shy at times, but I’m really an extrovert at heart, and drawing allows me to reach out to people who I might otherwise never come in contact with.