whoops, the months have slipped by yet again! here’s what’s happened since March:
i knew i would soon be leaving the museum— i was starting fulltime work, juggling a couple projects, moving into an apartment in Brooklyn… the time had come!
but like this howler monkey, my heart was sayin nooooo
no more walking into a room to perplexing scenes like the above
or watching the painters and model makers do their thing. over the course of a month this had been evolving at Steve Quinn’s desk. it’s the Chaco Forest mural for the upcoming Poison exhibit. there wasn’t the time or budget to create a full scale painting, so he did a mini painting, to be blown up and Photoshopped much like my Livia Drusilla garden room fresco. the reason there wasn’t enough time is because the man was retiring! i was sad to know this.. he pretty much represents the last of the Golden Age diorama makers at the AMNH, and has been working here ever since he started as an intern about 40 years ago (!). i had hoped to witness a diorama mural start to finish, but alas i came too late.
the modelmakers are a funny, thoughtful bunch, and wanted to create a custom goodbye present for Mr. Quinn. i was assigned to make a teeny tiny bottle of his favorite scotch whiskey, Lagavulin. i carved this out of a plexiglass rod. i carved it four times because the neck kept snapping on me.
so many people showed up for the retirement party! there were speeches, and kind words, and funny stories, and presents and cake, and a skit. i was lucky to nab a picture with the guest of honor. above with me is Angela, painter of the Aztec marketplace mural, and my intern friend, P.
in all of Steve Quinn’s speeches/response toasts it was clear the man was dedicated to nature. the urge to protect it and conserve it, and get other people excited about it is what drove his work all these years. now that he’s retiring, he and his family have bought the piece of property adjacent to their home in New Jersey with the intention of turning it into a sanctuary for migrating birds. awesome.
here was the culmination of the preparator’s efforts: a mini diorama of Steve Quinn painting a diorama, for his mantlepiece. i am proud to say my bottle (by his feet) will rest there too! the risque subject matter alludes to James Perry Wilson, another diorama preparator even before Steve Quinn’s day who was said to paint in the nude.
some shots from my last day:
rainforest leaf workshop
outside the exhibition dept portal
a book i thrifted while out to lunch.. it’s the art from that nat geo art exhibit i documented a while back, plus much much more.
borrowed bibles from the preparators— one about the art of diorama-making, and this, a document put together by the one and only Steve Quinn about the background painters and mural artists of the exhibit halls in AMNH!
it’s unfortunate that many of the museum’s artists (and exhibit writers) go unacknowledged, especially since their work is what people have come here to consume. as i slowly scan these pages, i’ll try to work in a post here and there about the many AMNH artists that have been a part of the exhibit halls, because they definitely shouldn’t be relegated to obscurity.
central park from my lunching spot— spring is coming
and spent the evening of my last day at a lecture about conservation, a fitting end.
anyhow, Feb-March i had the most intense, anxiety-ridden apartment hunt of my life, but it paid off. he’s my little spot in Brooklyn, where i live with five other roommates. amazingly we all get along. there was a tiny flooding incident back in April, but no problems since, knock on wood.
this accompanied me on those anxiety-ridden train trips, to apartment prospects, and job interviews. i still haven’t figured it all out.. making art as a fulltime thing is for the lucky ones, but this book provided some comfort.
so i guess i should let you in on what i have been working on? this is a sketch for a children’s book i’m illustrating for the Friends of the San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge. written by a wildlife biologist, it’s about a girl who rescues a lost butterfly (the endangered Lange’s metalmark), and all the wildlife they see in the Antioch Sand Dunes as she brings it back to its host plant. the story is really beautiful, i just hope i can do it justice!
i’m also working for a designer in Brooklyn, Roots in Rust. she designs planters for air plants (plant that don’t root in soil), mostly from repurposed items. i got this lovely housewarming gift, my favorite design too! i’m calling it Osha (the Wildling).
here’s a shot from a job i just finished up. i was working in a sweet office in Manhattan’s Union Square, making quick illustrations for a K-5 textbook. i’ll share more about that later.
here’s a sneaky pic from the Audubon (Part I) exhibit that was showing at the New York Historical Society. ohmagod it was amazing. i liked seeing his talents progress (there was a section on his childhood drawings), and inspecting his methods. I was surprised to learn he wasn’t a watercolor purist.. he used whatever combinations of materials that got the job done. he regularly employed pastel for fluffy down feathers, and the richest dark spots, and he used graphite pencil to give the feathers their sheen.
apparently the Japanese loved Audubon, because of his reminiscent refined compositions and painting style. here is a Japanese painting of him, a scene in which Audubon has returned to England with his extensive bird notes from his first trip to America only to find them destroyed by the ship rats. amazingly he was able to muster the strength and will to return and restart his birds studies anew.
here my friend P threw a surprise birthday party for me! it was 3 weeks early. needless to say, i was surprised.
almost suffered another heart attack when my mom showed up at my work one day! she flew across the country to visit me without saying a word. another birthday surprise. here i am still kind of shocked. i was happy she could finally see my painting at the museum!
me and my momma Facetiming with family back home
watching my sister’s production stage management of Hamlet. she wrapped up her Juilliard internship and is interning for an operahouse in New Mexico now. miss ya sis!
family outing with my old program roomie H for Xi’an’s killer spicy cumin lamb noodles
awesome present #2: the Where the Why and the How, a book filled with modern illustrations interpreting science questions. i especially like the link-backs to illustrator portfolios.
and finally, my room today. furnished with Ikea, Craigslist, and sidewalk refuse. i have to tumble over my bed to reach my bookcase, but i like how cozy it is.
now… to get some work done!