On a late afternoon last week, after receiving an initial shocking call from ASAI President Emeritus Dick Sneary,and then both of us making a few more calls to her closer friends that evening, ASAI has learned that its long-time, most supportive, non-illustrator member, Nancy Opsata had passed away in early December 2021. I then did some on-line searching and found the following notice about Dear Nancy on her FB page,with this most flattering,insightful photo capturing her wonderful persona; as posted by her Brother Jim, and Sister-In-law Vicki:
“It is with great sorrow that our family announces the passing of my sister, Nancy Lee Opsata, on December 3, 2021 in Monterey, California. A service will be held this Saturday, December 11th, at St. Timothy Lutheran Church in Monterey at 11:00 a.m, and it will be live-streamed from the church website. We plan to hold a memorial in Olympia at a later time for all her friends and family in Washington.”
Nancy Opsata 1946-2021
In finding her site that evening, I posted the following message there, meant to express some of that sense of shared endearment felt by so many ASAI members for Nancy:
ASAI Co-Founder Frank M. Costantino:
“Just finding out now, some 4 months later, about Dear Nancy, a most gentle and sharing Soul. She was a member of the ASAI, www.directory.asai.org, though she was not an illustrator; but she attended our annual conferences around the country & overseas, and bonded with & very much enjoyed the company of many member/friends, and developed close & enduring & fun-loving connections with her friends from various parts of this country, Canada, and the world. She was such a very special person…”
I quickly received the following FB reply:
“Hi Frank, Thanks for your message. Nancy was my sister-in-law. I know how much she enjoyed ASAI and her friends there. Her loss was a great shock to all of us. We did not realize she was sick, but she had liver disease and was put in hospice two weeks after going into the hospital and died a few days after. She didn’t want anyone to know she was ill, so my husband (her only sibling) and I only found out the day she went into hospice and so no one in the family was even able to speak with her. There was a service for her at St Timothy’s Lutheran Church in Monterey that was video-taped and on You Tube. Her ashes are in Olympia, Washington at our family cabin. Her favorite place. We appreciate your friendship with her.” Take care, Vicki Opsata
“I only saw/read your most helpful message this am; very much appreciated & will share with her ASAI “family” that were really connected with her. My Regrets to Nancy’s brother, you &many others who were also touched by this dear woman & a gentle soul. All the Best.”
After then speaking directly with a few of Nancy’s friends, and in turn exchanging this news with so many other close friends within ASAI, numerous heartfelt comments were written,very quickly exchanged,and forwarded, as below. Nancy had first become an ASAI member in 1999, at our San Francisco AIP 14 Conference, which was near her home in Monterey;and she had been a faithful member over these past twenty-two years. Though her private college prep school in Quito, Ecuador,and her training in three medical institutions as a Psychiatric Nurse did not quite align Nancy with our profession, ASAI was always open for supporters from any other profession. Nancy found out about our work, and was encouraged to keep a sketchbook for her own doodles and drawings; and later she had some lessons in interior design, perspective and watercolors. Nancy also quickly bonded with many of our woman members, such that they shared friendships across the country and the world.She was never one to shirk a good time either. Nancy later served for a term on the Board,and diligently helped edit and re-write the Society’s operational manual, which was sorely needed at that time. She was also the touch point for many members who happened to visit the West Coast;and Nancy always made time for her ASAI colleagues.
I mentioned to our Executive Director Tina that ASAI should post our Members’ remembrances of Nancy, to which her many friends have contributed(as you can see below); and which would also allow other members to offer some comments,or to know about this special woman. Though newer members may not have known Nancy, and given the two-year-plus disruption from Covid, the testimonies below may provide a stronger sense of the deep comradery among our members, which has been an earmark benefit of our Society –that friendliness of membership “with meaning that is beyond just being a member” according to Co-Founder Steve Oles. ASAI still encourages new member friendships which will extend well beyond our professional sphere and may indeed last for years.
ASAI Co-Founder Steve Oles, Santa Fe:
“This brings tears to these old eyes.It’s no exaggeration to claim that I (as a hugely interested party) ‘love’ many of you guys.But Nancy was always my secret heart throb. How could she be otherwise? Gentle, understanding, understated, and quietly friendly by nature—and loyal to ASAI. Quick of wit, fun by inclination—but with an undertone of almost grave seriousness. Trained as a nurse, among the most noble of callings, and totally appropriate to her character.She was almost too good. Certainly too young.A reminder of two things: the fragility of life, and the sweetly positive impact that true kindness can have on the lives of others.Nancy had that impact on mine. I’ll miss her from now on.”
President Emeritus Jane Grealy, Brisbane AUS:
“Such shocking news. Nancy was truly special and I will try to hold the memory of her gentle words, kindnesses and smiling face. What an example to us all. So sad to hear this and I don’t really want to believe it. I always thought we would see her again.”
President Emeritus Barbara Ratner, Atlanta, GA:
“Nancy was proud of her Norwegian heritage, she loved her lakeside cabin and her independence, and she knew how to have fun. She and I shared a small prop plane with open windows, flying along the coast of Australia, the two of us giggling and hanging on.I will miss her.”
President Emeritus Gordon Grice, Toronto:
“That is sad news indeed. Nancy was a rare bird: a registered nurse (I believe) who found greater kinship amongst the ASAI misfits. A tragic loss to our organization.”
President Emeritus Tom Schaller, New York, NY:
“Oh…So sorry to hear this.It is a loss. Life is fragile indeed.”
Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize Winner, Chris Grubbs, San Francisco CA & Savannah, GA:
“I’ll miss Nancy.”(via London)
President Emeritus Bill (& Sandy) Hook, Seattle WA:
“We are so sorry to hear this. We would stay with her at her family’s cabin on Hood Canal near Olympia when she was here in the summer. She didn’t contact us this last time and we assumed she was just busy. This is so sad. We did enjoy our times with her and will miss watching the sun and moon rising over Mt Rainier. Goodbye Nancy.”
President Emeritus Dick Sneary, Kansas City, MO:
“Nancy listened to us, was always friendly, but you could also sense a friendly argumentative stance, when she wanted to know more about a subject. She told us about her ancestor’s links to Norway after a visit. Nancy made it a point to reconnect for some good times with me & other ASAI members during a national plein air event in Monterey.”
President Emeritus Henry Sorenson, Bozeman MT:
“Nancy was fully committed to the ASAI –she got to every conference I can remember after her joining. She always felt she was not really a very accomplished artist but she loved learning, and loved the ASAI, and she loved us. I suggested to Nancy that she consider joining the Board as she had such a talent for organization and I thought she might be good at helping to re-organize and rewrite the ASAI Operations Manual. She did both; I know she worked on it hard for some time. Nancy was completely genuine and …pretty fearless –confident enough to speak her mind and confident enough to try almost anything. She shared her sense of things in open, frank, always thought-through reflections. Yet she was a gentle soul …always kind, always caring. She made everyone love her. You didn’t really have a choice. I have been fortunate to have been invited to join the Grey-Haired Lady Gang (Elizabeth Day, Barbara Ratner, Marsha Brown, and Nancy) for several sightseeing outings in various conference venues –always great fun.My photo is…of the (Grey-Haired) Ladies in Blue navigating a mazein Houston. And…Nancy was once John Wayne’s nurse: she kept proof in her wallet –a well-worn photo of the two, arm in arm. We will all carry on without her, even though I know she is still with us in spirit.”
President Emeritus Masaaki Yamada, Tokyo, JP:
“I just recently lost my father, and I can’t stop feeling saddened by this news.She came to Tokyo in 2011 and I have many fond memories of her.I will miss Nancy very much.”
President Emeritus Richard Chenowith, Silver Springs, MD:
“Thank you for passing on the news, Steve. So sorry to hear this… Getting to know her at…conferences was a joy.”
President Emeritus Frank Bartus, Miami,FL:
“Saddened to hear of this.Nancy was very loyal to all of us and it was always welcoming to see her. Thanks for letting us know Steve.”
Former ASAI Executive Director, Tamara Horch-Prezioso:
“She was such a loving, caring, compassionate person.More than once, her encouragement kept me going.I feel blessed beyond words to have known her. Thank you for including me on this message. I am so sorry to hear this and so very sorry for your loss. Nancy was an amazing person and I absolutely loved visiting with her when I worked with ASAI. She and I had numerous deep phone conversations…so supportive and loving.”
ASAI Member Marsha Brown, Toronto,CA:
“Nancy spotted me hesitating on the doorstep of my first seminar at my first conference in Providence in 2004. She immediately got up, took me under her wing, and connected me to ASAI forever. I am so saddened by her loss.”
Nancy was A Wonderful Soul…ASAI members are welcome to share more of these memories, like those recalled above. We must now be contented by these thoughts; and envision that Nancy, as a devout parishioner in Monterey, a choir member and singer, has now joined a Heavenly Choir to sing her Lord’s Praises.
The Architecture In Perspective 36
The value-packed ASAI 2021 Virtual Conference is nearly upon us! It’s from Nov 1st – 5th so don’t delay—the time to register would be… now! This year we’ve lined up 18 of the industry’s most accomplished artists and designers to speak. You will not want to miss it!
Join us on a journey of imagination, storytelling, artistry and technology where traditional and digital media collide to craft an authentic language that can allow us to re-Imagine our future.
Explore the Future of Architectural Visualization and Design and discover how to shape your own voice, create impactful stories, rethink visualization as a creative tool, design virtual worlds, and the relevance of seduction and uncertainty in the age of photorealism.
Andrei Dolnikov – The Sound of an Image
Carlotta Cominetti – Storytelling in Architectural Visualization
Cesar Fragachan – Play, Design, Build
Csaba Bánáti – Shaping an authentic language in the industry
Dennis Allain – Architecture, Storytelling + Medium
Gaku Tada – Breeze the space with imagination in 3D
Jianfei Chu- Play, Design, Build
Jose Uribe – ASAI President
Keely Colcleugh – Visualization in an age of sensory deprivation
Mariana Cabugueira – The Practice of Fluid Digital Design
Miikka Rosendahl – Enter the Metaverse
Mike Golden – What We Learn When We Close 3ds Max
Paul Loh – Design Methodologies: Experiments in Visualization
Paul Nicholls – This is not Architecture
Pico Velasquez – Architecting the Metaverse
Tamás Fischer – Storytelling in Architectural Visualization
Founded in 1986 in the United States, the American Society of Architectural Illustrators is comprised of professional illustrators, architects, designers, teachers, students, corporations, and anyone engaged in the serious pursuit of architectural illustration. The central purpose of ASAI remains the improvement of architectural drawing worldwide.
Great architectural illustrations have the power of innovation and seduction. They present new alternatives for unbuilt spaces, allow us to dream of a better way of living and they jumpstart conversations about the future without the need for a single word.
Throughout history, Architectural illustrations and the imagery of new environments have been the perfect medium to test unique ideas and present questions that challenge the establishment and shake established norms. From Boulleé and Ledoux’ Utopian drawings of the XVII century, to the future of cities presented by Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, to the Techno Utopias from Archigram and Archizoom, and the futuristic cities imagined in film by Syd Mead; Architectural imagery has allowed us to understand and feel a new reality, question how we can leave the Earth in a better place and tell the story of a space that is only present in our imagination as an extension of the static image presented.
After an unprecedented year that has challenged the very essence of urban living and social interaction, we’ve been presented with a series of questions that make us wonder about the future of our habitat and the need for new kinds of home, office, retail, institutional and event spaces, as well as the general future of cities.
For this reason this year, ASAI would like to invite all professional and student illustrators and designers to dream big about the future, translate these ideas into a single visual and take part in the thematic portion of the Architecture in Perspective competition.
As Hugh Ferriss once remarked “there is a difference between a correct drawing and an authentic one”… ASAI’s international jury will be looking at drawings that showcase a higher level of authenticity in its conception, execution and storytelling.
We invite you to enter the competition with your vision of the future re-imagined. Deadline is July 30, 2021.
The first time I met Syd Mead was over the telephone. As ASAI (then ASAP) president, in 1993, it was my job to hunt down three willing professionals for our annual AIP jury. I don’t remember who suggested that we ask Syd to join the jury, but we all recognized it was a long shot – what would be the odds of one the world’s most eminent illustrators flying from LA to Toronto to serve on our humble jury? But it was a shot worth taking, so I made a cold call to his studio in Pasadena. Syd was warm and friendly on the phone. He expressed his appreciation for having been asked and quickly agreed. I was on cloud nine.
Syd was as friendly and generous in person as he was on the telephone, and even though the two other jurors and I were completely starstruck, Syd quickly put us at ease with his unassuming manner. Our AIP jury was successful and memorable.
The next time I met Syd, there was a crowd. The Society had decided to double down on our good fortune and invite Syd back to give a talk at our annual conference, also in Toronto. The problem was, we needed to pay for Syd’s expenses and the rental of the auditorium, and our coffers were a little low. By a stroke of fate, the director’s cut of Blade Runner was released that summer and the Toronto showing had attracted a throng of Syd Mead fans. I plucked up my courage and dispensed with my pride, and worked the movie theater ticket line, passing out printed invitations to the talk, hoping to fill a few extra seats. That autumn, Syd made a triumphant return to Toronto and spoke to a sold-out crowd at the Royal York Hotel—the turnout was astounding. The talk was, of course, brilliant.
I remember meeting Syd again when held our Pasadena conference. He and his partner Roger Servick kindly invited us to his studio in Burbank, which was an architectural gem, and which, Syd enjoyed telling us, was right across the arroyo from “Stately Wayne Manor,” the house that served as the set for Batman’s hideaway in the TV series.
The last time I met Syd was in Toronto again. I was working at the time for Forrec, a theme park design company, and Syd was in town on business. I asked him if he would come to our studio and talk to some of our designers. This being at least two
decades since the release of Blade Runner, a few of the younger designers (astonishingly) weren’t that familiar with the name Syd Mead. But those who knew his work and reputation were excited about meeting him. Syd was a terrific raconteur and his stories regaled all of us. By the time he left, all the designers, young and old, felt as though they had made a new friend.
There is one important thing many of us learned from Syd Mead, and it isn’t about design, illustration or futurism. It is about the importance of a good story, in words and images, and being kind and generous towards everybody, especially those
whose lives we may affect by the work we do. — Gordon S.Grice
(L–R) Frank Costanino, Syd Mead, and Gordon Grice attending the Architecture in Perspective
conference in Pasadena, CA. Photographer unknown.
In every era there are shining lights illuminating the way and providing inspiration for countless colleagues in a given discipline. In our field of inspirational graphics, Syd Mead was a supernova in our time. His magic was unparalleled, and will continue to inspire and amaze far into the future. — Steve Oles, ASAI Cofounder
A LIFE REMEMBERED THE SYD MEAD I KNEW
BY FRANK BARTUS
So much has been written to document the career and accomplishments of Syd Mead. Rather than restate any of this, sharing some of my personal experience working with Syd in the early 1980’s seemed the best way to pay tribute to such a great man.
Upon receiving a brief resume and examples of my work in February of 1980, Syd sent round trip tickets from Minneapolis to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA for us to meet. He personally came to greet me and put me up in his condo, which rested atop the bluffs of Capistrano Beach, from which Catalina Island was visible. The weekend visit included us watching “The Miracle on Ice” as Team USA won Olympic Gold by defeating Team USSR.
As soon as I saw Syd’s studio and the work on his board, as well as his books and posters, I began to realize the hugeness of his talent and greatness. I had not known of Syd before that moment!
After learning more about each other, Syd again took the time to drive me back to the airport on a late Sunday night. Along the way he offered to have me work with him. Syd and his business manager were so helpful. They found a condo for me with the caveat that the place must accept a dog, named Poorness.
This did not prove to be easy, but a place was found.
When I arrived, I found that all utilities, including cable and phone service, were set up and running. This was so thoughtful and gracious and just the beginning of Syd’s generosity toward me. I later saw that Syd helped so many people. A lady friend of his had fallen upon hard times in Houston during this time and he moved her to Southern California. Another automotive student from Germany needed help getting into Art Center and Syd took care of all of that.
Syd was in the middle of working on Dangerous Days, which was the working name for Blade Runner. It was amazing to see the illustrations come together. Syd worked from a small bedroom in his condo. One would imagine a glitzy studio with computers, flashing lights and chrome furnishings. Instead he worked in shorts and sandals, having to straddle his old and grumpy dog Ralph, who would growl at Syd if asked to move aside. When looking closely at the renderings for Blade Runner, Tron and other projects, strands of dog hair could be seen embedded in the paint.
A typical workday for Syd would begin at 9:00 AM, and he’d usually work on contracted projects like Blade Runner and Tron till 5:00 PM sharp. One might think that for such important projects he’d spend extra time on them, but he stopped promptly because that was in the contract. Sometimes there were hard deadlines with scheduled UPS pick-ups at that 5:00 PM time.
Typically, around mid afternoon, with a still very unfinished looking rendering on his board, he’d chat, calmly taking a moment for a cigarette and then a sip of a gin & tonic, while I nervously reminded him that the deadline was looming. Never speeding up, and ignoring his watch, he very confidently applied one strategic stroke from his brush after another, pausing often to explain what he was doing. And with just enough time to package his artwork, he would achieve a stunning and remarkable result. With all removed from his board, and after a brief break for dinner, he’d go on to other projects or sketch and draw concepts that came to mind till about 9:00 PM. I never observed him reading, yet he was always on top of the very latest aeronautical and scientific trends which he’d incorporate in his work as a visionary. Whenever he traveled or had free time to draw, he’d come up with new concepts and ideas for his own enjoyment. When clients would come to him in a panic, looking for ideas for some new project with a tight time frame, Syd could just dig up sketches and doodlings from his endless library of concepts and quickly adapt them to the project. To the clients’ amazement Syd had immediate and well-developed solutions to present.
Amongst his many other projects were architectural renderings for firms such as HKS, Houston (Harwood K. Smith and Partners). My role with Syd was to assist with this area of his work. Syd used Winsor Newton brushes and designer’s gouache. He would often reference high quality advertising photos of perhaps a wine bottle on a granite surface with beautiful lighting to extract colors to be used on a dusk scene rendering of dramatic high-rise office towers. For his perspectives he used the orthographic projection method as a base for his layouts but often took very calculated liberties to enhance the feel of the structures.
Syd related that, as a student, when classmates would go off and take breaks, he’d stay at his board and practice drawing elliptical circles at various degrees. And not just as seen on templates but in true perspective! He explained to me that when you draw ellipses you need to feel the centrifugal force. You can see this effect in many of his illustrations.
Before proceeding to his final renderings, Syd would often do a “study rendering.” One that comes to mind was an ornate dining hall of a Saudi Arabian palace. The study rendering, done in an afternoon, could bring tears to your eyes. I asked him why he felt he needed to do a finished rendering because the study looked so exquisite. I got my answer when I saw the final art, which was just that much more dazzling and amazing. The study allowed Syd to analyze values and colors so that the final was perfection.
When Syd did a painting, he worked to cover the entire surface of the board within an hour or two. All areas were treated with the same degree of importance until layer upon layer of paint began to illuminate the focal point. One can see in most of his renderings remnants of the first rough layers of paint.
Syd was very patient with me because I had not been exposed to his methods of rendering. He took the time to carefully explain what he did and never criticized what I had done (though he surely could have). And once my work was presented to him, he would, in a matter of minutes, place his final touches that seemingly magically transformed the painting to his liking! It was amazing.
When I became homesick and wanted to return to the Midwest, Syd wanted to give me a nice bonus— for no other reason than his kindness. I told him that since it was me leaving, I could not accept it.
Later I found that he had somehow “smuggled” the bonus into my packed belongings!
The one thing I taught Syd? Not much, it’s very basic but I showed him how I would register a layout; a “trace down” on a board by placing holes through both the layout and the board, so that it could easily be placed back over the board. He called these “Bartus holes” and teasingly reminded me of this when we would talk over the years.
Syd always insisted to me that he was not an artist but a designer who could illustrate his ideas. We all know better than that because he was a master of both.
Syd mentioned Roger Servick to me often. Roger, my condolences to you. — Frank Bartus
During the week of January 24, 2021, and after some months of delays in preparation and completion of the award, ASAI co-founder Frank Costantino, arranged for the presentation of the Architecture in Perspective 35 Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize to Dennis Allain, here in Massachusetts. This Prize, unique to ASAI is not only the top award for the Society’s annual international competition, but is also the world’s most prestigious prize for architectural drawing. This Prize is typically given to a jury-selected recipient as the culmination of the Society’s annual conference, which for 2020 was to have been held in Berlin, Germany in October. However, this fourth, exciting international trip and event for ASAI members was reluctantly cancelled at the latest date, given the ongoing pandemic; and was presented in a virtual format.
Dennis’s extraordinary image, “Alone”, produced with his proprietary blend of digital programs, furthered the visionary works that have brought Dennis his second Ferriss Prize. He had previously won the Society’s top prize back for Architecture in Perspective 21, with a ground-breaking elevational perspective image. Dennis now joins a very select group of four other ASAI members, whose extraordinary works have been twice-selected for the Ferriss Prize. These members include Lee Dunnette, first double winner, Thomas Schaller of NYC & LA, Gilbert Gorski of Chicago, and Jon Kletzien of AMD, Providence. These esteemed, highly accomplished members represent a very small club, among the 2100+ selected winners in Architecture in Perspective competitions over the past 35 years. The competition stipulation also is that a member cannot be selected for a second Ferriss Prize until a five year period after the first. And the fact that every competition invites three different jurors each year, makes a repeat selection a very rare occurrence indeed.
However, Dennis’ imagery is so powerful, imaginative and symbolic, that among his generally annual selections, his illustrations have also been distinguished with Member Choice awards, as well as many Juror Choice or Category Awards. In other words, his excellent work has received a stellar string of recognition. Dennis’s objective for his work is “to tell a good story, and with an arresting image – wow! factors”.
The AIP 35 Juror Christoph Sattler found that Dennis’s image “reveals an incredibly dramatic, almost surreal urban scenario. Is it a catastrophe that is just happening, or is it the view of a city in decay? The artist brings together architectural imaginations from the turn of the century, futuristic skyscrapers and destructive structures where one does not know whether they will fall from the sky or emerge from the underground. A mysterious train passes the scenery. The representation shows a very differentiated color palette, ranging from an eerie and dangerous to a light and aggressive atmosphere. It is highly emotional, and it develops a dramatic lighting of great quality. The picture is also convincing because it is completely free of marketing or advertising graphics, but belongs to a purely artistic field.”
So, with my studio being quite close to Dennis’, I brought the finished framed Prize to his place during a gentle snowfall. It seemed appropriate for me to present the Architecture in Perspective 35 Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize in person, since I have been fortunate to do so for nearly all the Winners of the Competitions & during our Prize presentations – from the beginning of our Society in 1986, with my Co-Founder Steve Oles.
In addition to my ASAI connections with Dennis, I have also had a personal history with him over a period of some thirty years. Dennis was a former student in one of my watercolor seminars, when his interest in illustration was first developing. He subsequently became employed by a long-time client of mine, the late Howard Elkus FAIA and David Manfredi FAIA (r.) of Elkus Manfredi Architects in Boston. It was at this firm that Dennis developed his illustration and digital skills under Howard’s keen eye and drawing guidance. ; as well as David’s encouraging support for furthering Dennis’ in-house opportunities with illustration experimentation and development. After some years with both Howard’s & David’s personal support and sponsorship, Dennis started his own illustration studio and has never looked back being busy with commissions from all over the country.
The Ferriss Prize is a hefty double-imprinted medallion, pewter-cast, and featuring an iconic Hugh Ferriss image (taken from his work for NYC’s zoning and building guideline studies from the 1950’s), with an edge-surround of the Society’s name. (see photo below) This cast medal, the last of the original imprints, still shows the originally conceived name of the Society – as “Perspectivists”. The obverse wording, as here, provides ASAI’s hallmark phrasing for superior achievement in drawing – “For Excellence In The Graphic Representation Of Architecture” – together with the engraved name of the Winner. The Award itself is a custom double-facing framed piece, showing both sides of the Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize medal, together with a small reprint of the winning image – a rather weighty award.
So while I was making the presentation to Dennis on behalf of the Board and all ASAI members, and for the Society’s record, I reiterated the above facts to him. Kerri-Ann, Dennis’ wife and avid photographer, not only took a video of the member-less presentation for the Society, she also took some candid pictures of both of masked-us after the exchange. Kerri-Ann also sent ASAI another picture of the beaming Dennis with his double Ferriss Prizes (See Below: AIP 35 on the left, with AIP 21 on the right).
ASAI has long been the touchstone for this level of illustration excellence for its entire existence; and with its upcoming Architecture in Perspective 36 competition, again continues its mission for encouraging outstanding work from all its members, and the profession worldwide.
Events in recent weeks have made me examine where I, as an architect and as a white person, can further expose systemic racism and work to eliminate it.
In the context of the ASAI, I could talk about how it’s important to include people of color in our illustrations, and how we shouldn’t limit that to illustrations of diverse college campuses, or “proper” representations of a context where a project might be. These are small token gestures that pay lip service to the idea of diversity and inclusion.
Instead, I’m going to talk about broader ways that we can as illustrators address the issues. Here are 3 areas that we should consider.
Recruitment. How many illustrators of color do we have within our ranks? How can we recruit more?
A lot of architectural illustrators come from the architectural profession, in which people of color are notoriously under-represented. This therefore even further constricts the pipeline for a Black or brown person to become an architectural illustrator.
So at its very root, we need to get more people of color into the architectural profession, which means we need to make sure that more Black students are encouraged to enroll in architecture school, or digital arts or other arts programs, which means that high schools need to provide the opportunities for Black students to experience the arts, which means those schools need arts funding or there need to be ample educational programs where Black students can learn to draw, which means that we need to make sure as citizens that equal educational access is provided to schools where there are Black and brown students.
We can also work with other educational programs, providing digital art and drawing classes in prisons, in transitional programs like Delancey Street, in homeless support organizations like Glide Memorial Church (both Delancey Street and Glide are internationally recognized organizations in San Francisco).
Mentorship. Again, how many illustrators of color do we have within our ranks? Have they asked for mentorship and are we providing it and supporting them in the process?
For those of us who work in firms, is the firm doing enough to recruit people of color? Is it providing proper mentorship to the people of color that it does recruit and employ? Is it making an effort to understand the needs and experiences of people different from their own?
Collaboration. Do our clients have a good record of recruiting and employing people of color? Are equality and diversity represented in our clients’ core values? If not, we can ask why not. And, if the answer is unsatisfactory, we can consider terminating our working relationship with that client. Yes, we may lose that job, but think of all the people of color who are losing so much more.
We are so excited to announce the selected artists for the 35th Architecture in Perspective Professional and Student Competitions.
A Different Process
It has been a long standing tradition that the adjudication of the professional competition is done in person. We are aware that digital advancements make it possible to carry these proceedings virtually, but we have always felt that meeting in person for this event allows for dialog that flows differently in person then via video conferencing. In fact, conversation about trends, traditions, history and the future media are encouraged during the jury process. This year, we did not have the option to meet in person. For weeks and weeks Gordon Grice, Sergei Tchoban and I were in constant contact regarding the events of the world and how the COVID-19 pandemic might effect world travel until it became obvious. Travel bans were in effect and we were staying put.
On Saturday, March 28, 2020 on a Zoom video conference we met with jurors Uli Hanisch, Prof. Katrin Günther and Christoph Sattler. Also in attendance was Gordon Grice, competition mediator, Sergei Tchoban, ASAI 2020 President and myself, Tina Bryant, Executive Director of ASAI. While the dialog was different during the video conference the results were the same. The jurors were impressed and inspired by entries from ASAI members. Difficult choices were made. Every year it is difficult to see great images denied a place in the exhibition, but it is this unique process of having different jurors every year from different countries, different industries, different experiences that creates an annual archive of the architectural illustration and visualization industry.
Even with these unique circumstances we are proud of the work that our members create and it was a delight to scroll through all the images that were sent in and share them with jurors.
The student jury met via the typical video conference on Thursday, May 7, 2020. Sergei Tchoban, Manfred Ortner and Christoph Langhof viewed the student entries for selection. One of the jurors shared some of the titles of the large book collection he had behind him and even introduce Gordon Grice to an artist he didn’t know about. If you know Gordo, then you know that’s hard to do! Haus Rucker, look him up. We have been delighted to see a growing mix of digital and traditional entries in the student competition. In accordance with these unprecedented times, after a prolonged and spirited exchange among the jurors the competition committee decided to make a unique exception to allow 1 artist from the student competition to be chosen for two different juror awards.
In total there were 90 pieces selected to represent ASAI in the Architecture in Perspective 35 catalog and exhibition. An eclectic group of architectural illustrations and visualizations, digital and traditional work that represents today’s industry and the varied influences in education.
These images will be published in a printed catalog that will be added to the archival library that is Architecture in Perspective. There will also be an exhibition held at the Tchoban Foundation – Museum of Architectural Drawing. Given the situation of the world, we are still determining whether there will be a physical exhibition or a digital experience, but more on that later!
Congratulations to all the artists. We look forward to celebrating your accomplishment.
At our request, Bruce Lehman Esq.,of Lehman Nilon & Associates has analyzed available relief to illustrators and artists under the CARES Act. We are grateful to Mr. Lehman for his quick action and expertise to decipher some dense material and give guidance to visual artists.
Mr. Lehman is Pro Bono Advisor to the American Society of Illustrators Partnership (ASIP), Legislative Advisor to Association of Medical Illustrators (AMI), and Legislative Advisor to Artists Rights Society (ARS).
As the economic disruption continues and extends these resources may be helpful, or even vital, to visual artists.
Please share this information with your members.
Cynthia and Brad
Summary of Relief Provided to Small Businesses, the Self-Employed and Non-for-Profits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The emergency economic relief legislation signed into law last week contains several provisions that can provide support for artists who either are self employed or work in small businesses. Illustrators and fine artists can avail themselves of three separate programs under the new law:
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation;
Emergency Injury Disaster (EIDL) Loans, and
The Paycheck Protection Program.
In addition, Quarterly Estimated Tax Payments can be deferred until the end of the calendar year without penalty.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
Normally, self-employed individuals are not covered under state-operated unemployment compensation programs as the premium for unemployment compensation insurance is paid by an employer. However, the emergency legislation covers self-employed persons who lose their income. The new legislation expands eligibility to include anyone who is:
“self-employed, is seeking part-time employment, does not have sufficient work history, or otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment under State or Federal law….”
Under this provision of the CARES Act, a self-employed person will receive the weekly payment that their state normally provides under unemployment compensation insurance plus $600. The benefit lasts for up to 39 weeks. The applicant for unemployment compensation may self-certify that he or she is otherwise able to work and available to work except for their unemployment or because they have been diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus, are unable to reach their place of employment because of the Covid-19 virus or are caring for someone with the virus.
To participate in this program a freelancer or self-employed artist needs to apply through their state’s unemployment office. In most cases this can be done online. The following URL from the U.S. Department of Labor contains information and has a menu option that will link you to your state office. https://www.careeronestop.org/LocalHelp/UnemploymentBenefits/
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)
EIDL loans are normally used in the case of natural disasters such as a hurricane. Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees may borrow up to $2 million under the program. However, the CARES Act extends the EIDL program to self-employed individuals and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees who have suffered economic loss as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The program is administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA). Anyone falling into these categories may apply for loan “advance” of up to $10,000 for the purpose of maintaining payroll, meeting increased costs to obtain materials, or making mortgage or rent payments. There is little paperwork and the applicant can self-certify that he or she meets the criteria. The SBA is supposed to provide the loan advance within three days of application.
While these advances are called loans, repayment is waived if the applicant uses the money for the enumerated purposes. Information about applying for an EIDL advance, including a link to an online application, may be found on the SBA website at https://www.sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19.
If an applicant also applies for a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, separately provided in the CARES Act, the $10,000 advance will be deducted from any loan under that program.
The Paycheck Protection Program
The CARES Act provides $ 349 billion in forgivable loans for small businesses and non-profits of fewer than 500 employees as well as self-employed individuals. The loans can be used for salaries and other payroll expenses, rent and utilities, mortgage interest and interest on other debts incurred before February 15, 2020.
Applicants can seek amounts that are two and a half times monthly payroll expenses for full-time employees. The limit is $10 million with repayment within ten years at a 4% interest rate. However, the loan in effect converts to a grant if the recipient keeps all employees on the payroll through June 30, 2020 and uses the money for allowable expenses. Allowable expenses are: (1) payroll costs; (2) continuation of employee health care benefits; (3) employee salaries, commissions and similar compensation, (4) mortgage interest; (5) rent; (6) utilities; (7) interest on pre-existing debt.
The loan program will be administered by banks and credit unions that that have agreed to participate. As of this writing the program is not up and running, but cooperating banks and credit unions should be able to begin processing applications in the very near future. Since the loans will be processed on a first come, first serve basis until the $349 billion limit is reached, it is important to move quickly if there is a desire to participate in this program. If you have a bank with which you normally do business, you may wish to contact them as soon as possible to get in the que for this program.
If you are a solo-preneuer some of these tools and processes of running a business are not new to you, but as many companies begin to assist their employees to work remotely due to COVID-19, we thought that a list of useful apps would assist your workflow and communications.
MYTH: Only artists living in the US can participate in the Architecture in Perspective (AIP) professional and student competitions. I mean the organization is called the American Society of Architectural Illustrators, right?
FACT: The professional and student competitions are open to ANYONE in the world who would like to submit their work. We hope it’s obvious, but only students who are currently enrolled in University may enter the student competition.
HISTORY: Yes, we know it can be confusing that the name is the American Society of Architectural Illustrators. It’s a long story why that is so, but don’t let the name hold you up. From its inception ASAI has been an international organization.
MYTH: The AIP competitions only accept traditional entries.
FACT: Nope. It has been an ongoing belief that traditional and digital work can be put next to each other and judged side by side on the merits of the work, technique, and story of the image. One medium does not overshadow the other and displays an inclusive exhibition of diverse work created in the architectural visualization industry.
HISTORY: Check out the varied work from the most recent competitions AIP 33 and AIP 34. If you’d like to see a 34-year history of exhibitions think about starting your collection of catalogs chronicling the history of this industry.
MYTH: Entries for the AIP 35 professional competition need to have been created in 2020.
FACT: You may choose to submit work that you are proud of that has been done at any point in your professional career. In fact, even if it has been a piece that you already submitted, you can submit it again as long as it hasn’t already been included in a previous AIP exhibition.
MYTH: You must work solely as a professional illustrator to enter the Architecture in Perspective professional competition.
FACT: The AIP competitions are not limited to strictly illustrators, but are open to architects, designers, teachers, students, corporations, and anyone engaged in the serious pursuit of architectural drawing.
MYTH: You must be a sole proprietor to enter work.
FACT: Artists who work as a 1 person show or within a firm may enter the competition.
MYTH: There is no one behind the curtain at the ASAI headquarters.
FACT: Not a chance! Hi! My name is Tina Bryant. I am the Executive Director of ASAI and I am happy to assist you often available at non standard business hours to accommodate inquiries for artists all over the world. I do my best to be available at a time that is convenient for you. Email Me!
The original article was printed in the 1998 Winter edition of Convergence by Moh’d Bilbeisi
I started using a graphic journal during my college years as an architecture student at Oklahoma State University. In the beginning, I noticed that I was able to remember the slides in my history class better if I sketched them in the margins of my notebook. This habit occasionally went to extremes, as it was brought to my attention by my professor that I might be spending more time sketching than studying. The journal also acted as a graphic sketchpad to test ideas and record thoughts relevant to the design problems that were given to us during studio. As an intern architect in the city of Philadelphia, the journal was invaluable when visiting job sites and meeting with clients. It was easy to carry and there were no papers to file after the meetings. The client’s comments were already graphically reported and analyzed and I could always go back and retrieve the information efficiently from what my colleagues called my “Small Black Book.” And sometimes just for pure enjoyment on a wonderful fall or spring day, I would sit in Rittenhouse Square, enjoying the weather and sketching events and people as they happened.
This habit of thinking graphically was also useful while traveling abroad. I was able to record architecture as I experienced it, subjected to light, conforming to the laws of linear and atmospheric perspective, situated within a group of structures, and interacting with inhabitants. For me, a fifteen-minute sketch capturing the essence of architecture replaced the five-second camera click. What I saw and recorded was imprinted on my memory.
I have kept a graphic journal ever since. I encourage my students to maintain them almost religiously. It is required in all my design studios, graphics studios and historv courses. Graphic Journals prove to be an important visual thinking apparatus.
I make daily graphic entries as regular as having a cup of coffee in the morning. The subject matter is as diverse as life itself street scenes from Egypt to France, architectural studies, architectonic compositions, still life, product design, possible projects for the students, people doing various activities, faces, animals, color studies, graphic compositions, clippings from magazines, postage stamps, foreign currency, etc. The pages act as a graphic note pad and I use it accordingly. I record ideas, test then and come up ,vith a result. I sometimes use it as a sketchbook to capture a particular moment in time. I hardly use a camera anymore.
Page composition is very important to me. Every page is labeled. The sketch/graphic matter is situated off center for a more dynamic composition. The graphic/imagery is usually supported with text in the form of notation with leaders pointing to the area of interest. Sometimes a sketch is associated with a paragraph describing a thought relevant to the subject. Every page becomes a study in composition.
The graphic media is relatively simple. I use a no. 2 pencil for layout, but my main drawing tool is a Pelican MSOO fountain pen, filled with Pelican 4001 fountain pen ink in black. I supplement and enhance the drawings with touches of watercolor. I often use Winsor-Newton Artist watercolors. A few strokes from a black marker add the final touches to the compositions.
The ultimate objective of keeping a graphic journal is to use it as a pad to record, test, and communicate ideas efficiently. It is never used as an endeavor in itself. It is an inexpensive and highly useful tool.
Moh’d Bilbeisi, AIA is Assistant Professor of Architecture at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK
Two pages from Mob ‘D Bilbeisi’s notebook.
The top show a building by Mario Botta, and the side shows
a concept for a new tower.
The original post by Bogdan Sasu is on the GTAPR website
These past few months were pretty intense. I decided to add a blog to the site and I thought that a first post with a quick summary of what happened would be ideal.
Let’s start with the beginning: my name is Bogdan, I’m a 3D artist based in Romania, an endless dreamer and a stubborn innovator. My journey into the art of photo realism started way back in 2006. I soon started to get frustrated with not getting good enough results with my images which affected me a lot. So I searched and searched in order to understand things beyond a simple tutorial or course; I wanted to know how light and other elements worked and what I needed to get that amazing photo-like image.
I’ve worked some years and improved along the way but I was still not getting the results I wanted. Around 2014, the idea of talking to great artists in the field started to take shape – I was sure this way my questions about great images will be answered.
Soon after the idea of the book took shape in my mind, along with the title and the questions, everything started to fall into place and my struggle became even harder.
Some years had passed and I kept on pushing forward and kept on believing that this book could be a landmark. At the beginning of 2019, I saw a video on YouTube by Fabio Palvelli and I soon realized that he might be driven by the same passion as I am. Since I had nothing to lose, Alexandra (my fiancée) encouraged me to write him about the book. There I was, writing this email, hoping that maybe this time the result will be different. One or two days had passed before I got a reply. Great Talks about Photo Realism was no longer just an idea in my head, but a story that had to be written.
How It All Started
In the following months, I had great talks via email with the artists and they seemed very excited about the project. At that point, it was still not very clear to me where I was going with this, but I was driven and focused on my next task as a laser beam; the next natural step to take was to assemble everything.
In June 2019, we printed the first draft. We presented Fabio with a copy of the book and he was amazed by the work we had done and by its quality print so he assured me that it would be a success. Personally, I was a bit reserved because I was focused on the next step which was to prepare the book for the final print so we could finally start our presale campaign.
July 1, the first day of presales made all those years of dreaming and some months of hard work worthwhile; I remember we had over 60 copies sold in that very day. I continue to be amazed by the impressive feedback from the community; I’m excited like a kid when I realize that all those years of “failure” were actually the seed of what’s happening today and I couldn’t be happier.
After July 1, the entire project started to gain momentum: making sure that everything runs smoothly is now on my day-to-day agenda. I work with passionate people who share my vision and can help me and this project grow and evolve.
For me, the last couple of months were like a GTAPR test, which we successfully passed. We managed to achieve some of our goals so far and, most importantly, “I” or “Fabio and I” became “we” and “the Gtapr team”. It was and it is an amazing ride for which I am thankful to you – the artists, the studios, the curious ones, the dreamers – who interacted with us and became part of the GTAPR family.
I guess you will need to stay close and find out. What’s for sure is that we are preparing more surprises for you and we wish to participate at as many events in the field as possible. The Archviz community is really one of the best there is so thank you!
More About the Book
We Are Excited to Announce the Launch of Great Talks about Photo Realism
The book is the very first such project uniting world-renowned artists in the 3D community.
Early bird sales are now available on the book website until end of July. The pre-sale offers include seven 3D scenes for free, as well as a numbered and customized copy with the author’s inscription. Get your copy today!
Great Talks about Photo Realism by Bogdan Sasu is a book that promises to unveil the stories of some of the best international visualization artists in the industry. If you’ve ever wondered about the secrets behind creating photo-realistic images, you now have a chance to peek inside the great minds who have already captured the attention in the field.
Bogdan Sasu is an artist, 3D generalist and author living in Romania who has more than two decades experience in the creative arts. His interests range from drawing to chip carving, from paintings to mosaics and stained glass. In 2006, he started exploring the possibilities of replicating the reality inside a computer, so he found the challenges he needed in the realm of 3D.
Year after year, he would strive to improve his skills and expand his knowledge in the field, so, naturally, he wanted to learn from the best artists in the industry. One of the aims was to find the secret behind creating photo-realistic images.
This was the spark that ignited the conversations that followed with artists all over the world. And this was what marked the beginning of a most exhilarating and fortunate adventure into book publishing.
Essentially, Great Talks about Photo Realism is more than a book. It is a community of dedicated artists who can bend reality with their craft. It is about coming together so they can realize their full potential as artists and see where creativity can take them.
It’s a vibrant visual experience which exhibits some of the most famous and award-winning 3D artworks as much as it is an invitation inside the lives of these people (so, it’s scenes and behind-the-scenes, if you will).
Artists from our book such as … use Corona for versatility and amazing results in seconds. The engine is built to encourage creativity by allowing you to put aside the settings; with the default values it works in over 98% of the scenes. This gives the artist the freedom to focus more on light, color balance and composition without worrying about the render stage.
Using Corona is similar to organic architecture, if you like – everything is there and feels natural and intuitive. Moreover, you can also find an important tool for post processing: the Corona editor which is extremely easy to use.
Oftentimes, Corona faces some adversity because the user wouldn’t try something new, but once you manage to press render without any additional time spent on settings and see that it really works suddenly, the balance starts to tip in favor of this simple render engine.
The continuous growth, the many beautiful renders from users across the globe and also from our contributing artists stand as a testament of a mature and innovative render software. The uniqueness of Corona lays in complex simplicity that enriches creativity for every artist and studio that uses it. There is no doubt that Corona has heavily influenced and continues to influence the work of some of the best artists in this wonderful industry.
A friend of mine once sent me a postcard of Poussin’s “The Triumph of David” and on the back he wrote “I can’t see David’s Triumph anywhere – he must have parked it behind the picture plane.”
Subsequent to this, I imagined David’s Triumph as an older model, a little run-down, with a dent where he backed into a pedestal. The car’s slightly disreputable aspect necessitated parking it behind the picture plane. Perhaps if David drove a brand new Prius, he might have parked it in front of the picture plane.
A few years ago, I was studying the Weybosset Arcade in Providence, RI and I decided to watercolor a view of its main facade. A couple of guys were unloading plants from a local nursery from a big yellow truck parked right in front of the entry. I waited a while for the truck to go away, realized that they were there for the day, and decided to paint the truck in. Afterwards, architect colleagues said I should have left the truck out.
There’s a schism between the perception of architecture as a pure formalist art piece and its pragmatic role in accommodating some of the more messy and prosaic aspects of human existence. Architecture is really only a backdrop – just as the Weybosset Arcade’s facade is the backdrop for a couple of guys to unload and replace some planting.
I was reminded of this schism again while listening to Eric de Broche des Combes’ terrific talk at the annual American Society of Architectural Illustrator conference in Hollywood this October. The renderings by Luxigon in their portrayal of architecture are more exciting to us because of their inclusivity of all types of people and their representation of the messier elements of our environment, like a rainy day.
The people that occupy typical architectural renderings today tend to veer towards the more perfect representations of our species – handsome men and lovely women in crisp suits, chatting on their mobiles while striding purposefully towards an entrance. It’s interesting to compare them to Letarouilly’s 19th century engravings of Roman palaces that show beggars, peasant girls, priests and noblemen. Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of the fact that all kinds of people inhabit our world and we have relegated those that don’t measure up to behind the picture plane.
Melissa Weese has led a peripatetic life, living in many cities in the US and abroad, practicing architecture while employed at firms such as SOM, Woods Bagot and Gensler, and teaching at various universities. She currently practices architecture at TLCD Architecture, in Santa Rosa, California, where if it isn’t under water, it’s on fire. Melissa continues to draw for work and for pleasure (isn’t it the same thing?) and is currently working on a comic series about the life of a middle-aged female architect.
For our 34th Annual International Conference, we traveled to Tinseltown! This year’s event, “AIP Goes to Hollywood,” included students, professionals and enthusiasts of architecture and environmental art came from around the world to engage in an open conversation on the relationship between architectural illustration in 3D environments, architecture, cinema gaming, matte painting, photography and VR/AR. Attendees of the conference complimented, President Keely Colcleugh of Kilograph on her ability to put together a speaker lineup that was eclectic and inspiring.
A key component of the Architecture in Perspective 34 Conference was to provide an expanded scope of the event with a diverse speaker panel and to allow ample opportunities for alumni and new attendees to network and engage with each other during a variety of networking and learning opportunities including:
Environments & Emerging Technologies – The conference kicked off with a discussion panel at Gnomon, moderated by Chris Nichols of CG Garage. All-star artists representing a myriad of different industries and mediums talked about how new technologies are changing the way architectural concepts are developed and communicated.
AIP 34 Exhibition Opening – Award-winning artwork from the International Architecture in Perspective 34 Professional and Student Competitions displayed at the WUHO Gallery that included a watercolor VR experience of the unbuilt work of Michael Graves “Imagined Landscapes”.
Urban Sketch & Photography Tour – Conference attendees explored and sketched historic locations around Los Angeles. The tour engaged artists on a route from the Kimpton Everly Hotel to Hollywood Pantages Theater Metro Station (Red Line), Union Station to El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historic Monument and ending with lunch at the historic district of Olvera Street.
The eclectic 2-day lineup of speakers at this year’s conference featured practitioners from varied fields including architecture, photography, augmented and virtual reality, Hollywood visual effects and more. Speakers included:
The final event of the conference was the awards ceremony where award winners from 2019’s AIP competition received their awards with the highest honor of the Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize being presented to Corey Harper of TILTPIXEL during a special ceremony. Other awards given were Lifetime Achievement awards presented to Masaaki Yamada and Tina Bryant.
ASAI is extremely grateful for the glowing feedback already received from attendees and panelists, as well as for the tremendous support from our volunteers, venue partners, conference partners and sponsors.
In the course of my career as an architectural illustrator, populating project perspectives was a necessity for humanizing a new building design in its intended environment. The scale of figures had always been critical for establishing scale of the structure and the spatial depth of the overall view. The matter becomes a key compositional process in streetscape imagery, with foreground figures and natural activity and gestures, and other details that need to be depicted, the positioning of which not be intrusive to the big picture of the new design.
A watercolor for Cesar Pelli, in what was a rare scenario at the time – a rain shower on a cloudy, drizzly day – was a new tower’s office entry in a historic Boston transit station. My familiarity with this area of the city was a valued input to the New Haven design team for informing the project depiction. The hunched and umbrella-carrying figures are grouped in a supportive way to highlight the new entry facade, just off center of the view; but yet the active figures provide comfortable movements for the eye along the street space, and throughout the painting.
Another varied example of figurative positioning is detailed in a shaded university concourse at a new UC Merced campus – for EHDD in SF – depicting crowded student activity on a bright California day; yet such population not overpowering the tangible components of adjacent buildings and the shielding design of an upper sun screen and planted pergola. All these figures were first sketched out for rough positioning on an initial overlay of the perspective, then refined primarily from memory, but also from some reference photos for figure types and clothing. A second, or even a third layer, was sketched to help in refining the proportions and overlapping forms and gestures, before adapting the figures to a final drawing. To make-up or imagine such scale groupings was my own imposed challenge for comfortably enhancing and balancing this illustration.
Not having had any art lessons or figure drawing experience, I kept different sizes and types of sketchbooks for notating gestures of figures that caught my eye; whether that be at home, or travelling, or in conferences or meetings. The gestural action of a subject at these moments required a confident hand to well place the figure in the space of the page, while capturing convincing proportion for whatever the gesture might be; usually in a relaxed attitude. The medium did make a difference in approach and comfort level, and correctability. Pencil, charcoal, and color pencil allowed for some adjustments that enhanced a wobbly work and helped cover the inaccuracies of proportion with some level of honest “technique”.
But I found the best results from a drawing to be an almost an intuitive engagement with the subject, whereby a rational, deliberate judgement was suspended for the flowing, if not frantic, energy of capturing the arresting vision of that subject. In this case of my friend and colleague delivering an animated talk, his continued movement required intermittent drawing to fit the initial gesture drawn at the outset for capturing the figure.
However, when opting to really challenge myself, and improve my skill sets by using the uncorrectable medium of pen & ink, the need for more careful seeing and more deliberate judgement for the mark-making and continuity of line work required even more concentration and patient seeing. Confident speed was also a necessity in this process for drawing the figure, since movements, however slight, altered the shape of space and the figure’s ground-to-field relation, as well as facial features and expression, glasses, limbs, clothing, etc.,
Depending on my relative location to who I might be drawing, the pen & ink medium necessitated an almost disengaged, detached place of mind; and to avoid an intellectual analysis of the process, or a questioning hesitation in capturing the figure. The truth of such drawing was seemingly verified by the reaction of viewers, or the subjects themselves. What emerged was a depiction of the intangibles of action and/or emotion. The drawing always tells the truth.
I can only encourage folks to adopt sketchbook drawing, not only for practice in sharpening the eye, but also for pleasure of mark-making, and refining one’s drawing, visual and memory skills. The drawing experience will be further enhanced as the artist becomes deeply engaged in a given moment.
I’ve had the pleasure of drawing my sons since they were born, and continuing for nearly 50 years, to do sketches of them. This ongoing sketch practice informed my illustration work, as well as other artworks I’ve been fortunate to produce. I can only strongly suggest that figure sketching is well worth anyone’s effort; and it can only help in informing numerous skill sets that will very likely improve one’s professional work too. And however imperfect those sketches may be, they will always serve as memorable records of one’s engagement with people, places and times. copyright – f.m.costantino, 2019
Just learned (via my good friend John Haycraft of Sydney) about the passing of Charles Reid, watercolorist extraordinaire. Charles was such an incredible influence on so many painters around the world, that his expansive legacy will live on for decades to come. That will certainly be the case for yours truly, as I had learned so much from him, and developed a continuing friendship with Charles and his dear wife Judy.
I had the good fortune to first meet Charles at Key West, when Bill Hook, then President of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI.org) retained Charles for a targeted workshop for its ASAI members from all around the country. It was a revelation to see the ease and command of the medium with which he executed his demo views for us. While he was doing a beach scene for the group, I had captured Charles and Bill Hook together as he was painting at easel. During the last day’s session, Charles admitted that he was “intimidated by all these watercolor illustrators…”; which floored everybody, coming from so illustrious a painter!
I had a second opportunity to work with Charles when ASAI again arranged for his conducting a limited workshop for its members on scenic Catalina Island, CA. We even had a member come all the way from Japan to attend the four fantastic days of painting. In addition to the many scenic places on Avalon, I had chosen to paint Keitaro Hatanaka, when Charles asked that we should paint each other after his portrait demo. Keitaro was wearing two pair of glasses at the time and shielded from the CA sun. The paint methods from Charles were liberating for me in capturing flesh tones, light and values, etc.
Having connected well with Charles and Judy during that Catalina trip, I had asked Charles to serve as an Awards Juror for the fourth Plein Air Vermont event in North Bennington, VT in 2013. He was a terrific presence at this event, and had attracted a great crowd with a stunning portrait demo at a Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, up the road from the event venue. He had made no bones about his tendency to quietly and randomly hiss (I guessed an intaking of breath, or maybe a low whistling) while he worked on the deep colors of the model. Answering questions during the work, he explained his technique of using a loaded brush to paint upwards, rather than a typically downward stroke. There was also book signing, arranged by Northshire who had ordered some of his books, and which was welcomed by the many guests at the demo.
Charles was also a very astute juror, since PAVT 4 had a large number of remarkable painters from around the country. He had chosen Vermont’s own Mark Boedges for his outstanding barn painting for the First Prize. Charles and Mark are together with Tony Conner and Frank, two of four Co-Founders of the PAVT event. (above) Mark won a full page ad image for his prize winner.
Charles also agreed to an interview/lecture about his work, about his early training and background, hosted by yours truly at the Bennington Museum. (above) It was an in-depth coverage of his career, his self-taught skills, his subjects, his many travels, books and videos, and some of his favorite painters. Charles candor and openness on so many points was an intriguing aspect to the many principles he shared in his workshop teachings. It was a remarkable show of and insight into works, which was recorded by the local cable station.
This opportunity, via PAVT, to more strongly connect with Charles was a privilege and a treasure for me. We continued by exchanging Holiday cards every year, which was a delight. He was a dear man, dedicated to his painting and readily sharing his knowledge. And he set such a strong example for so many others – painters and instructors – now following in his very large footsteps. Charles Reid forged an enormous path that will assure his legacy for a very long time. Too Many Thanks; & So Long Charles…
In January 2019, many American illustrators began receiving reprographic royalty checks. Since then more checks have gone out to more artists. These payouts are a part of concerted effort between Artists Rights Society (ARS) and the American Society of Illustrators Partnership (ASIP) to provide American illustrators with a share of international reprographic royalties.
All published illustrators are eligible to join and there is no membership fee.
ARS will issue you an IPI (Interested party information) Number. This is a unique identifying number assigned to creative artists by the international CISAC database. Collecting societies require these identity numbers in order to pay royalties to the proper rights holders and to avoid fraudulent claims.
Once you are an ARS member you can then file claims for your published work. So far this year, our illustrator members have filed claims in four different countries: France, UK, Germany and Spain. More opportunities are coming!
Joining ARS will NOT interfere with your normal individual licensing arrangements. Your ARS contract will only apply where collective fees are already being collected under blanket licenses such as for photocopying usage, cable retransmission fees, etc. Learn more at our reprographic rights FAQ.
Here are comments from artists who have already started receiving royalties:
“I want to thank Ted and Janet and everyone else at ARS for helping us achieve a breakthrough in reprographic royalty payments. Thanks to ARS I’ve finally been able to get an international identification number and have filed claims with four different countries so far. My work has been published in the US and abroad for over 50 years, but until January of this year I’d never seen a check for reprographic usage. Thanks ARS.”
“Dr. Ted Feder and Janet Hicks, and their very capable staff at ARS, have continued to be the strongest advocates for ASIP in finally realizing the goal of distributing foreign reprographics royalties to our member artists. With numerous works published from a forty five year career, I have personally benefitted from my ARS registration with different countries; and trust that ARS will continue their diligent representation on my behalf.”
“I’m thrilled that we finally have an organization to collect reprographic royalties on behalf of American illustrators! I’ve already received my first royalty check. Thanks so much to ASIP and ARS for pulling this together!”
“I had never catalogued my life’s work before, and joining the ARS effort has been challenging and rewarding. I will continue to build my list of published works, and look forward to reaping the benefits as time goes by, as well as increasing the ranks of medical illustrators being recognized by the international collecting societies.”
“As illustrators many of us work by ourselves and try the best we can to make a living doing what we love. When we deliver our jobs we often think it is the end of the trail for our art. In actuality many people in many countries have access to our art and copy it. With ARS I am confident that those Reprographic royalties will be secured and returned to me.”
-Michel Bohbot, San Francisco Society of Illustrators
“I just received my first-ever Reprographic Royalty check: what an amazing achievement for both ASIP and The Artists Rights Society. I evidently followed your campaign over the years, you had courage, perseverance in that generous effort and I am very grateful, deeply grateful for it! Let me know if I can be of any help, I’ll be there.”
As we go through the archives of ASAI, we are running into these precious nuggets of knowledge. We don’t know when this article was written but find it still relevant in today’s industry. Gordon S. Grice, President Emeritus of ASAI, is now the editor of The Right Angle Journal.
by Gordon S. Grice OAA, FRAIC
We architectural illustrators have a great deal in common. That’s why we all get along so well. But there’s something about us that may seem a little surprising. When it comes to how we deal with our clients, there are as many methods as there are illustrators. No two are the same.
Well, maybe it isn’t all that surprising. A lot of us are self-employed mavericks who enjoy the independence that our career offers, so why would we want to imitate anyone else? As a result, when it comes to our business relationships with our most faithful and dedicated patrons — architects — anything goes. Maybe there should be a few guidelines?
Let’s start with how we work. Some of us prefer that our clients give us complete information about a project and then let us vanish until we have finished the job and presented it to wild acclaim. Others want to keep the lines of communication open constantly, avoiding any surprises at the end, pleasant or unpleasant. Some illustrators like projects in which everything has been worked out complete to the last detail. Others would rather have vague instructions — the less information the better — allowing them to create their images almost from scratch.
These opposites describe two poles in the architectural illustrator continuum. At one end, is the illustrator as supplier, selling an artistic product to a client for a price. At the other end is the illustrator as consultant, interacting with the client and providing advice for a fee according to specific needs. This is product vs process. So the first question to ask is: What does the architect-client want — a product or some advice — an illustration or an illustrator? Or a little of both? More than any other consideration, the answer to this question will provide the basis for the success or failure of the relationship.
In either case, a second element, one that is extremely important to any relationship, must also exist. That element is trust. In my discussions with other illustrators on this topic, this feature was given highest priority. Illustrators feel that each party must understand and appreciate what the other is trying to do as well as how this is to be accomplished — sympathy and accommodation.
For the architect, this means that the illustrator should be treated fairly. Comments will always be helpful ones and given at the right time. Decisions will always be made by the appropriate person. Deadlines will be honestly arrived at and reported and the effect of changes to the work will be considered. within the context of these deadlines. Some media (watercolor, e.g.) are notoriously difficult to change. Clients should understand the process and the necessary sequence of events, especially if the budget and deadline are fixed. One illustrator told me “Some architects seem to want to make changes solely as a way of maintaining control. But what’s really annoying is that their changes are often good ones.”
For the illustrator, the responsibilities are even greater. Hired for her expertise, the illustrator is being well paid to perform a vital (perhaps critical) function. First, she must meet her clients requirements regarding budget and deadline, but she must equal or surpass the client’s expectations regarding quality of work. The illustrator should maintain portfolio samples that are appropriate to the job and represent an accurate example of current capabilities. She should be familiar with and understand, as much as possible, the architect’s design philosophy and intent. As discussed above, she should appreciate the degree of involvement, camaraderie, and discussion that the architect is comfortable with. Most importantly, she should understand exactly what the illustrations are to be used for.
This last requirement is the result of the illustrator’s unique experience. Architecture in the twenty-first century involves the work of many, many specialists. No one architect can ever possess all the knowledge required. Illustrators are specialists in the communication of architectural ideas. If there is some particular aspect of the project that needs to be communicated in a particular way, it is the illustrator’s job to know how to do that. If the architect is having trouble connecting his design intent with the design execution, it is the illustrator’s job to find that connection and to help express it. If the project just needs a drop-dead gorgeous image to keep it afloat, then go to it.
But how can we leave the discussion without mentioning money? The illustrators that I spoke to were generally in favor of receiving more, but mostly agreed that they were currently compensated adequately. But, they all want to know: What is the deal with giving the illustrator a week to do the work and then waiting four months to pay for it? Any and all responses to this question will be gratefully entertained.
Just as we illustrators all have different ways of working, we also all have different reasons for having chosen this profession, although we would probably all agree that we do this work because we like it. We chose it — some of us even invented it — for ourselves. Architects tell me the same thing: the work is rewarding, enjoyable and meaningful. Working together, architects and illustrators can expect to accomplish a great deal. And enjoy doing it.
We are very excited to have Sergei Tchoban join the ASAI Board of Directors. His longtime support of ASAI as a member has awarded him many awards in the Architecture in Perspective Professional Competition.
Among his other duties on the board, he is actively planning the 2020 Architecture in Perspective Conference in Berlin, Germany. We look forward to releasing those details at a later date.
Sergei Tchoban, Architekt BDA
TCHOBAN VOSS Architekten, Berlin
Sergei Tchoban, born in Saint Petersburg in 1962, is a Russian-German architect. After his studies at the Russian Academy of Arts, Saint Petersburg, he worked as a freelance architect in Russia until in 1992 he started working at the architectural office NPS Nietz – Prasch – Sigl in Hamburg. In 1995 he became managing partner of this company, which since 2017 trades as TCHOBAN VOSS Architekten. In 2006 Sergei Tchoban founded the architectural office SPEECH in Moscow together with Sergey Kuznetsov. 2009 the Tchoban Foundation started, growing 2013 into the Museum for Architectural Drawing in Berlin.
Between 2009 and 2011 Sergei Tchoban has been member of the urban advisory board of the city of Linz and will resume this activity from 2018 on. Since 2013 he is member of the urban advisory board of the city of Moscow. Moreover Tchoban has been teaching at the Moscow Graduate School of Architecture MARCH during 2013 and 2014. He was jury member of the Iakov Chernikhov International Prize for Young Architects in 2014 and a jury member of the World Architecture Festival WAF in 2016 and 2017. He chairs the jury of the international drawing competition ArchiGrafik since 2013. In 2017 he founded the first Biennale for young architects in Russia, with the aim of encouraging and supporting their professional development.
At the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2010 and 2012 Sergei Tchoban was curator of the Russian Pavilion. In 2015 he was the architect of the Russian Pavilion for the EXPO Milan. Further he was responsible for the exhibit design of several international exhibitions, the latest in the Vatican Museum in Rome. Since 1992 Sergei Tchoban is member of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators ASAI. His drawings have been displayed in several museums and galleries and several are part of the collections of the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg, Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Architectural Archive of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin.
2018 Sergei Tchoban received the European Prize for Architecture by Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design.
The American Society of Illustrators Partnership (ASIP) and American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI) are inviting all published illustrators to join the Artists Rights Society (ARS) as an illustrator Member.
There is NO FEE for this, and as an ARS member illustrator, you can then be assimilated into a global system that will allow you to receive licensing fees for otherwise unidentified uses of your work.
This global system (called IPI for Interested Party Information) assigns artists, musicians and other authors a unique legal identity tag called an IPI Number.If you are an illustrator, this will allow you to make claims for licensing fees for the use of your work currently being collected under international blanket licenses.
A blanket license is a license that gives a user the right to use any work from a body of collective works where generic royalties (similar to jukebox money) can be collected and distributed to rights holders only through internationally established collecting societies.
In the US, IPI numbers can only be obtained for you by the Artists Rights Society. ARS is the fine art collecting society that represents over 40,000 fine artists, including the estates of Picasso, Matisse, Saul Steinberg and others.
Through the efforts of the American Society of Illustrators Partnership (ASIP), ARS has now agreed to represent illustrators. You must be a publishedartist – with at least one published piece to your credit – to enter into this agreement. ASAI members, who have been chosen in any of the AIP Catalogues, would qualify, and once in the system would be able to realize any royalties that might accrue from the world-wide distribution or placement of the physical or digital versions of any of ASAI catalogues.
There is no fee for membership and you need only supply ARS with your name and birth date (and death date in the case of estates) and your contact information. These dates are necessary to distinguish between two artists with the same name.
An artist’s IPI Number is the code for a name or pseudonym related to a person or a legal entity. For example,
Pablo Picasso has the IP Base Number I-001068130-6. Or one entity can have several names: the late musical artist Prince has three IPI-codes: 00045620792 (Nelson Prince Rogers), 00052210040 (Prince) and 00334284961 (Nelson Prince R).
Musicians, fine artists and writers have been in the IPI system for years. Collecting societies require these identity numbers in order to pay royalties to the proper rights holders and to avoid fraudulent claims.
The IPI system and database are administered by the Swiss copyright society SUISA (the Swiss Cooperative Society for Authors and Publishers) in accordance with guidelines and standards established by CISAC (The International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers).
To join ARS as an Illustrator Member, please download the simple pdf Member Agreement from the dedicated ARS website.Then fill out the form, listing all names, pseudonyms, and other variations under which your work is credited and sign it. You may sign the agreement with a digital signature or a traditional signature.
Please return one copy to ARS via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or via postal mail: Artists Rights Society, 65 Bleecker St, 12th Floor, New York, NY 10012. ARS will return a counter-signed agree-ment to you and will then send you a W-9 form to fill out for any payments due you.
This Agreement is for blanket licensing fees only, and will not in any way preclude or limit you from exclusive licensing of your works by any other means. For more information please see theseFrequently Asked Questions.
Please take a few minutes to review the sites and materials, to take advantage of this artist advocacy program; which benefits you, ASAI, and the eleven other groups that comprise ASIP.
Frank M. Costantino, ASAI Co-Founder
V.P. and Charter Member, ASIP
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