Monday, January 21, 2013

ART - Mother Goose

Mother Goose-Interview with the Artists Part III
as part of the exhibit:
Mother Goose Re-Imagined
Flinn Gallery, Greenwich Public Library 
101 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich, CT 06830
Thank you to the Flinn Gallery for hosting us December 5 - January. 16, 2013
exhibiting ARTISTS: Angelique Anderson, Deborah Cuneo, Diana Ting Delosh, Laura Goetz, Leeza Hernandez, Mike Herrod, Sara Kahn, H. R. Karpes, Anna Kim, Ann Koffsky, Sarah Lisa Lavoie, Kitty Leech, Donna Miskend, Sawaka Norii, Marilyn Papas, Clare Pernice, Barbara Mason Rast, Roberta M. Rivera, Vicky Rubin, Tatyanna Starikova, Cheryl Taborsky, T.T. Tyler, Wallace West, Brian Yanish
While the exhibit may be over, there is still much more to discover. 
NOTE: All work is protected by copyright. No work may be used, printed, or reproduced without written permission from the artist.

DM:  Why did you choose this Mother Goose tale to illustrate?

©Tatyana Starikova2012
Tatyana Starikova - I was inspired to illustrate “Jack and Jill” by my two mischievous pets: my dog and cat. They are very good friends and love to play together, especially chasing each other around the house. Occasionally they tumble too! I thought that they  would be  great models for my next illustration. That is how the dog became Jack and the cat became Jill.      
©Marilyn Papas2012
Marilyn Papas -    I saw Mary Goose’s gravestone on “Google images” and knew immediately that I wanted to do an illustration using it.  I investigated the backstory and found it curious to read about and fun to illustrate.  I like history and learned something in my research that I hadn’t known before.
The Real Mother Goose is based on written accounts that say Elizabeth Goose, the ghost in my illustration, was the real Boston Mother Goose.  I’ve always liked ghost stories; I lived in Boston, MA. for several years and wandered into many historical graveyards looking at gravestones from hundreds of years ago.  I decided to incorporate the interest I had in ghosts when I was a young adult into this artwork.  In addition, I wanted to put the ghost of Mother Goose in Old Granary Burial Ground where so many visually and historically fascinating tombstones and deceased people reside.  Where could be a better place than at Mary Goose’s grave?

©Kitty Leech2012inspired by Miss Moffet
Kitty Leech -  I tried to pick the most recognizable rhymes, as well as the ones which featured clothing, as I am a costume designer

Wallace West -  Frou frou prize chickens with masses of chapeau-like feathers make me giggle endlessly. They're so proper and so goofy at the same time. I wanted to create a hen who is trying to please everyone while also trying to be a good mother to her eggs...and - comically - failing miserably. Think Meryl Streep in "She Devil".
©Ann Koffsky2012

Ann Koffsky - Flying cows? How could I NOT want to paint a flying cow?

DM: Did you choose to do a traditional interpretation of the Mother Goose tale or did you reinterpret it and why?

©Vicky Rubin2012
Vicky Rubin - When this poem was written, "old woman" probably meant someone over 30. The original rhyme, if you read beyond the familiar first lines, painted a picture of poverty and misery. I reinterpreted her as an American woman in control of her life. She "lives" in a mobile shoe, and knows exactly what to do--step on the gas. She and the kids are going places and having a great time.

The surreal quality of Mother Goose poems, along with their social commentary, really hit me when I read the less familiar poems for the first time. They are mysterious, at once nonsensical-seeming and profound. Trying to figure them out has been rewarding. I think it has helped me grow as an illustrator. Mother Goose poems work on many levels, making them wonderful reading for people of all ages.

Leeza Hernandez -  “Darn It!” is a modern reinterpretation of Baa, Baa, Black Sheep. I’m a fan of play on words, so I got to thinking about ‘Black Sheep’ and the notion that there’s one in every family—an odd one out, troublemaker, or person who plays by his/her own rules. I imagined the Dame being a mischief-maker, stealing some wool literally off the back of the sheep to mend her bootie. I also love that “Darn It!” applies to both characters in this piece—a double play on words!

©Diana Ting Delosh2012
Diana Ting Delosh - I Chose Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater because I liked the imagery this rhyme created in my mind. The big bright orange pumpkin, the critter that lived in the pumpkin and his wife. it allowed me to have fun creating an imaginary world where mice wore clothes, got married and could live very well in pumpkins. Nature, animal, whimsical fun.

©Marilyn Papas2012  
Marilyn Papas - “Baba Blacksheep” is my version of a very well-known rhyme, and it sparked the idea of playing with words from “Baa baa” to “Baba”, or a grandma or elderly woman with a babushka (scarf) on her head in Eastern Europe.   When I played with one word it lead me to play with more words.   Also, it evolved into playing with ideas visually in the illustration.  Instead of using “yes, sir, yes, sir”, I used a Greek expression, “Yassou, yassou!”  I combined my Greek and Polish heritage into this piece. I played with words and ideas.  I placed the scene in a contemporary urban setting away from the typical idea of where sheep would normally be found.  However, it just so happens, near my illustration’s location, on the edge of Central Park in NYC, is a grassy area called Sheep Meadow. 

©Tatyana Starikova2012
Tatyana Starikova - I chose traditional interpretations of the Mother Goose tales, but I tried to include elements from my personal life and things surrounding and inspiring  me everyday. For example, the background in the illustration for “Jack and Jill” was inspired by beautiful Hudson Valley scenery, where I live. In the illustration for “This Little Piggy”, one could spot objects from our everyday life.

Brian Yanish - The real "Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe" focuses on the downside of "shoe-living." I focused on the upside of having all those children and instead of beating them she educates them and pulls herself out of her economic condition. Classic example of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. (Pun severely intended.)

DM: What are the influences for your art?
Mike Herrod -  I'm influenced by my favorite children's illustrators, including Maurice Sendak, Eric Heliot, James Marshal, Richard Macguire and Sophie Blackall. I also love German expressionist art and the Russian Constructivists.

Lisa Lavoie -   As a child, I liked books by Bill Pete, Richard Scarry, Shel Silverstein, and Quentin Blake. I enjoyed their humor, line work, and expressive gestures. In college, I was influence by painters such as Edward Hopper, Paul Klee, Richard Diebenkorn, and Wayne Thiebaud, with their strong senses of light, color, and composition.     
More recently, I have been influenced by the films and art of Hayao Miyazaki. His environment design and use of color capture the mystery and power of nature, while his characters express the exuberance of childhood. Even the credit sequences tell a story.

DM: What made you decide to focus on illustrations for children?    
©Deborah Cuneo2012  
Deborah Cuneo I have always enjoyed art for children and I think that has been my focus my whole life. I find that I am attracted to the simplicity and purity of life through a child’s eyes and love to recreate special childlike moments that children and adults can both relate to.

DM:  What would you like people to know about you or your work?
Wallace West - What would you like people to know about you or your work? I'm also a writer and I love picture books with minimal text. I think it's great fun to say one thing and illustrate the unexpected. Anyone can write "Grandma has a pet cat name Tiny." and draw grandmother with a darling little kitten. But I like to be the one to draw an enormous lion lounging on the divan next to granny and scaring the visitors.
©Donna Miskend2012 

Donna Miskend - I love color and the decorative arts. Some of my work is influenced by my textile designs, not just in the use of patterns but also in the different styles I use. The variety of styles in children's books is what makes it fun and interesting.  

Brian Yanish - In addition to design and illustration, I spend a good deal of time building toys and art projects out of recycled materials. A love of monsters and playing around in my father's workshop growing up led to the creation of the ScrapKins, a family of monsters who live in a recycling center and build their world out of the things we throw away. The characters are based on drawings I created when I was five years old that my mother saved. I teach school workshops and exhibit at large festivals, showing children the secrets of the ScrapKins building techniques to turn milk cartons into pirate ships and towel tubes into dinosaurs.

Laura Goetz - I am a fine artist, and work as an illustrator, designer and educator.      My passion is to paint portraits of children, and I have been in some prestigious exhibitions. One of my goals is to illustrate my own children's book. When I teach, I share my passion for art history, and encourage others to draw and experiment with new mediums.
©Barbara Mason Rast2012

Barbara Mason Rast - I am a Fine Artist, Portrait Artist, Illustrator and Writer of Children's books. I am also a BOCES Arts-in-Education Presenter for grades K through 6.

Marilyn Papas - I was a Staff Artist-Educator at Brookline Arts Center.  I did art projects with children of different ages, taught classes and assisted in others.  I was involved in creative projects in addition to teaching.  Another artist -educator and I designed four temporary murals for the windows of a grocery store in Brookline  which was an eyesore in the neighborhood.  It involved working with eight high school summer students as assistants and many volunteer artists.  I designed and drew, and enlarged the four illustrations based on the history of the area.  It was a proud moment for us all when they were installed.

Ann Koffsky -   I am the author/ illustrator of a bunch of books, including my latest, “Noah’s Swim-A-Thon”(URJ Press) about a boy who learns to swim. I also create a free monthly coloring page for young kids. If you’d like to receive them, just sign up on my website at

Tatyana Starikova - Besides children’s book illustration, I work as a graphic designer and       medical illustrator at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.   

click on the name to go to the artist's web site
Laura Goetz                Leeza Hernandez
Mike Herrod                Ann Koffsky
Lisa Lavoie                  Kitty Leech
Donna Miskend            Marilyn Papas              
Barbara Mason Rast      Vicky Rubin                
Tatyana Starikova        Wallace West