Category Archives: Interviews

Caty Bartholomew interviewed by Groovy Careers

Little Red Riding Executive by Caty Bartholomew

Sophomore Concepts and Toy Design faculty member Caty Bartholomew was recently interviewed by the fine folks over at Groovy Careers. Caty talked about teaching, working as a freelance artist, and how awesome toys are.  Here’s a snippet:

You are an artist and a teacher. What’s the grooviest part of your work? What’s the most fun? It’s a great balance. Being an artist is a pretty solitary experience. Teaching is outward and group-oriented.

Illustrating is great. I love making pictures, creating characters and stories, communicating ideas. It’s rewarding to see my image in print, in The New York Times, or some other magazine or newspaper, knowing how many people will come across it.

How did you get into teaching?

I was feeling very fulfilled in my freelance illustration career, when a teaching job kind of fell in my lap. I agreed to do it because I have a knee-jerk response of “yes!” to almost any career opportunity that comes my way. I was truly surprised to discover how creative teaching can be. Art school is a rich and stimulating environment. The student work is inspiring and I often invite guest artists to come in and talk about their work. I also enjoy creating a curriculum and crafting the exercises and assignments to support my teaching goals.

Last year we made people-size marionettes of some of the characters in Pinocchio and dangled them out of the eighth floor window to the street. We had a great time and bystanders seemed to enjoy the show.

Here’s the link to our class blog:

Make sure you read the rest of her interview here.  Stay groovy, Caty!

Steven Guarnaccia interviewed!

Parsons Illustration Chair Steven Guarnaccia was recently interviewed by for a write-up about his most recent book Three Little Pigs.  Here’s a snippet:

Clearly a design aficionado, Guarnaccia sets out to pay homage to some of his heroes. “My goal was to introduce children to everyday, albeit extraordinary, design. They’re taught the names of authors and fine artists from an early age, but the applied arts are often overlooked.”

The book is a retelling of the original story except the pigs are famous architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip Johnson and Frank Gehry. It’s chock-full of design references and iconic work by the pigs and others like Noguchi, Saarinen, Starck, Sottsass, and many more.

You can read the whole article and see more images here.

Alumni Update Week: Veronica Lawlor at Urban Sketchers Conference this past May

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.

You can read the rest of the interview here.  You can also see more of Ronnie’s work at her website.

Alumni Update Week: Jonathan Jay Lee in Marvel Comics and Peninsula Magazine

Parsons Illustration Alum Jonathan Jay Lee dropped us an email recently with some REALLY exciting news.  Straight from his email, here are the details:

Just wanted to drop a note and mention that Strange Tales MAX hardcover book came out!  It’s the short 4 page story I did while in my senior year (2007) for the anthology and should be available in Forbidden Planet or Jim Hanley’s.

Also, I’ve got a 3 spread article in the latest Peninsula Magazine, the issues focuses on Beijing Shanghai and HK, and they also specifically mention me graduating from Parsons in the article. It’s available from all the Peninsula Hotels…

Jonathan is right on the money that Strange Tales is available at Forbidden Planet and you can read the feature on him in Peninsula Magazine online (a screenshot is below)it starts on page 40!  Of course, it goes without saying that you should check out Jonathan’s work on his website.

Congratulations, Jonathan!  Keep up the amazing work.  And Illustration Alumni, keep us in the loop so we can feature your accomplishments on the blog.  Stay in touch!

[top image: courtesy of Jonathan Jay Lee and Marvel Comics; bottom image: from Peninsula Magazine]

From the Vault: Gareth Hinds interviewed by School Library Journal

Parsons Illustration Alum Gareth Hinds was interviewed by School Library Journal back in January.  With a final release date (October 12th!) set for his upcoming graphic novel adaptation of The Odyssey, we thought it would be great to revisit that interview.  Here’s a snippet:

Are there some stories that won’t work as graphic novels?

There are stories that don’t lend themselves quite as well to the graphic novel medium, but there are no stories that can’t be done. I’ve put off doing certain books because they were just too huge—War and Peace, for example, is not only incredibly long, it covers a very long period of time, includes a lot of characters, and would require a tremendous amount of historical research. I may adapt War and Peace someday, but not in 2010!

I’ve never hit an actual dead-end once I started working on a book, but occasionally difficult scenes can bog me down, and I have to walk away from them and work on something else for a while. For example, the very end of The Odyssey is rather abrupt in the original. I wanted to somehow slow down the last few pages and tie up some of the themes and plot threads, but I didn’t want to add any new material or change the story. That took a while to figure out.

What’s special about your version of The Odyssey?

For one thing, at 256 pages it’s a lot longer than anything else I’ve done, or most graphic novels for that matter. It has a more expansive, epic feeling than my other books, with a lot of landscape, open ocean, and crowd scenes. What I think distinguishes my books from other graphic novel adaptations is the way I approach the classics. It’s very important to me that my adaptations do justice to the originals, and to me that doesn’t just mean not changing the story too much, it also means bringing a high level of art, craft, and sophistication to the way the story is told in the new medium—like the original author did. That’s a tall order, of course. I don’t think it’s enough to give a classic story the gloss of a modern comic or dress it up with special effects. To whatever extent my adaptations succeed, it’s because I have equal dedication to the source material, the craft of telling a story in pictures, and the creation of a beautiful book.

Read the rest of this interview here.  And over on his blog, Gareth has posted tons of progress updates about The Odyssey so can follow his creative process.  Definitely check them out here.

Congrats to Gareth on his new book!

Steven Guarnaccia interviewed about ties, books, and everything!

Parsons Illustration Chair Steven Guarnaccia was recently interviewed by Bradford Shellhammer over at the Sundance Channel’s Full Frontal Design blog.  They talked about Steven’s collection of Rooster ties, his children’s books, and his style in general.  Here’s a snippet from the interview:

B.S.: Aside from ties, what else do you collect?

S.G: At one point I had something like 39 discrete collections. I had to count because for a couple of years I was on Art and Antiques’ list of the 100 top collectors. I’ve calmed down a bit since then. But some of my other collections are black-and-white things (dice, dominoes, aces of spades, etc., about which I wrote a book for Chronicle called, oddly enough, Black and White), skeletons, vintage illustrated children’s books, and kids’ card games.

B.S.: You’re also a lover of modern design and architecture, as evidenced in your booksGoldilocks and the Three Bears: A Tale Moderne and The Three Little Pigs. What made you re-create these classic kids’ stories with a modernist slant?

S.G: I had been doing monthly stand-alone illustrations for Metropolitan Home and thenAbitare, in Italy, and became very interested in the history of modern furniture design and architecture. I was invited to contribute to a French exhibition about Russian children’s-book illustrator Feodor Rojankovsky. He had illustrated Goldilocks and the Three Bears for Golden Books, and as I reread the book, I realized what a little design critic Goldilocks is: This chair is too hard, this bed is too big. It came to me that I could illustrate the book using classic 20th-century furniture throughout the book and teach kids a soft lesson about design at the same time.

Read the rest of the interview here.

Way to go, Steven!

Tonight: Dave Eggers event about the McSweeney’s Newspaper

A Vibrant Map of the World: McSweeney’s Panorama and the Beauty of Newspapers
January 13, 2010 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Tishman Auditorium, 66 W. 12th Street

When McSweeney’s printed a prototype Sunday newspaper last month, the writers, editors, and artists who worked on the project were hoping to show some of the great things the print medium remains capable of. The result was the San Francisco Panorama, which sold out within its first week and garnered accolades across the country.

Dave Eggers, author and editor of McSweeney’s, joined by contributors to the project, will give a presentation on the Panorama, discussing the thinking that went into it and what newspapers as a print medium still have to offer.

Introduced by Luis Jaramillo, associate chair, The Writing Program at the New School

Location: Tishman Auditorium, Alvin Johnson/J. M. Kaplan Hall, 66 West 12th Street

Admission: Free; no tickets or reservations required; seating is first-come first-served.

Steven Guarnaccia interview for The Rumpus

Illustration Chair Steven Guarnaccia attended the First Annual Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival and was interviewed Katie Geha of Here’s an excerpt of Katie’s article:

Steven Guarnaccia, Chair of the Illustration Department at Parsons, is generous in talking with me about the contemporary comics scene. He explains that while illustrators once created images to respond to a text given by a client, say a magazine or a newspaper, now more and more artists are creating their own texts. “When I came to the program around six years ago,” Guarnaccia says. “It was very clear that the most exciting stories were being generated by the artists themselves.” These visual narratives have since translated to a larger cultural realm as artists move beyond the comic book, creating toys and t-shirts, and often exhibiting prints in art galleries.

The article also mentions Illustration Alum Leah Hayes, so make sure to check out the rest of the write-up here.

Alumni Update: Crystal Bretschger Johansson (’05)


We recently received an email from Crystal Bretschger Johansson (’05) updating us on what she’s been up to after graduation.  She writes:

I currently live and work in Toronto and was just interviewed by an organization here called Toronto Craft Alert.  I wanted to share it with you and the office.  They are featuring an interview with me since I just re-designed their e-newsletter.

Here’s an excerpt from that very interview!

Can you tell me about how you started your work as an illustrator? Had you always been doing illustration, and when did you decide to make it your “work”?

Well, I guess I started to think of myself as an “Illustrator” when I graduated from the Illustration Department at Parsons. I had gotten all of the tools that I needed from school and after graduation it was really about taking all I learned and applying it to real life. We were constantly told during school that you have to pound the pavement, get your work out there, get it seen and get it seen regularly. I try to send out emails or postcards every six months that showcase new work. I contact design studios just as frequently to find freelance graphic design work.

The funny thing about being an illustrator, and this was the case with the majority of my professors, was that it was not their full-time job or their main source of income. Rather it was a supplement to a balanced creative lifestyle. My professors taught classes as well as holding full-time positions as graphic designers, animators, exhibiting artists, and even a few mothers.

I learned quickly after graduation that it was all up to me to find my own creative balance. I loved school for the support and freedom that it allowed me, but it was like living in a bubble. Life after graduation has been a lot of work but I’m beginning to find my groove…4 years later. I work as a graphic designer during the day. I do my illustrations/digital work in the evenings. I also love to take printmaking classes when time allows. And eventually, I would love to go back to Parsons and teach a course.

Make sure you read the rest of the interview here.  You can also check out Crystal’s website and her blog for more of her super-rad work (which is seen above!).

Thanks for keeping us in the loop, Crystal!

Moving Pictures: A Symposium on Illustration and Motion on Nov. 11


Moving Pictures
A Symposium on Illustration and Motion
presented by the Illustration Program at Parsons The New School for Design

NOVEMBER 11, 2009, 7:00–10:00 P.M.
Free and Open to the Public

The New School Jazz Performance Space
Arnhold Hall, 55 West 13th Street, 5th floor, New York, NY

LAUREN REDNISS reveals a history of blind spots.
JODY ROSEN unveils The Knowledge of London taxi drivers.
JOEL SMITH maps the mind of Saul Steinberg.
RICHARD MCGUIRE screens Fears of the Dark and more.



Moderated by Lauren Redniss, assistant professor, Illustration Program, Parsons The New School for Design

RICHARD McGUIRE is an artist whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, McSweeney’s, Le Monde, and other publications. He is the founder and bass player of the punk-funk band Liquid Liquid. Currently a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, McGuire is working on an illustrated book entitled HERE. His most recent animated film, Peurs du Noir, will be released on DVD this fall.
LAUREN REDNISS is an artist and writer who recently joined the full-time faculty at Parsons The New School for Design. She is the author of Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis, Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies. Redniss was a 2008–2009 fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. Her new book, Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie & Other Stories of Love and Fallout will be published in fall 2010.
JODY ROSEN is the music critic for Slate and a frequent contributor to the New York Times, The Nation, and other publications. He is the author of White Christmas: The Story of an American Song and the compiler of Jewface, an acclaimed anthology of early-20th-century Jewish vaudeville recordings. Rosen is working on a new book, The Knowledge, about London, cartography, and taxi drivers.
JOEL SMITH is the author of Steinberg at The New Yorker (2005) and Saul Steinberg: Illuminations, the catalog of a traveling retrospective of the artist that opened at the Morgan Library & Museum in 2006. Smith is the curator of photography at the Princeton University Art Museum, where he is working on exhibitions about architecture and memory, pictures of pictures, and the history of photographs of nothing.


This symposium is presented with support from…