Financial Success with a Price? or Personal Expression — The Road Less Travelled?

by Alden Cole on August 29, 2014 · 0 comments

DirectionsWPLeft: line drawing on 17″ x 14″ paper. Right: colored pencil drawing on 14″ x 11″ paper. Both, collection of the artist.

1974: As a final tribute to my days on 7th Avenue, I feature two of the last drawings worked on, which show the two different directions – tight or loose – that were available to me if I’d committed my energies to growing my career as a fashion illustrator. On the left a tight pencil drawing based on a b&w advertising photograph which I planned to transform with bright intense color, possibly air-brushed. As a result of my dramatic decision to burn the bulk of my illustration portfolio in early 1974, this piece never went beyond the preparatory stage. On the right is a colored-pencil drawing done from a live model, as recommended by a friend who had been watching my career develop. Working from life seemed to make sense as the more appropriate direction for me to pursue; especially if I wanted to ‘fit’ in, to be more successful as a competing fashion illustrator in New York City, where the looser, sketchier style was much more in vogue than the tight line work for which I was then known (at least to the limited audience that knew my work). However, my priorities had changed with time and coming of age; my contrary nature led me away from the pursuit of stardom and possible financial success as a “fashionista ilustrata”, and into another much chancier but more interesting art field, as a result of starting to paint in oils for the first time in my life in early September 1973…

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