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Art Directors Club / HalfBleed

Salvador Bru: Illustrator in profile [HalfBleed magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
HalfBleed: The Newsletter for Members of the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington
September 1999

As a child, Salvador Bru loved watching his father, a painter, turn a palette of beautiful oils into a landscape. And young Bru wanted to paint, too. When he was 9, however, his father died and his mother wanted her son to choose a stable career—become an accountant, perhaps.

Of course, Bru has no interest in numbers, yet he wanted to make his mother proud. So he buckled down, studied the educational curriculum years ahead of his grade level, and at age 14 completed his high school equivalent exams. With a diploma to fall back on, Bru convinced his mother to send him to the San Carlos Fine Arts in his hometown of Valencia, Spain.

The Spaniard has been painting ever since.

“I think some people are born with a compulsion for the visual,” says Bru. “Art school provided me with the education that I craved.”

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Mark Stutzman: Elvis has left the building [HalfBleed magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
HalfBleed: The Newsletter for Members of the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington
December 1998

Creating the famous Elvis stamp may be considered illustrator Mark Stutzman’s 15 minutes of fame. But then again, maybe not.

Perhaps Stutzman, 40, is more like the infamous pop icon Andy Warhol who gave us the over-used “ 15 minutes” quote. Perhaps the illustrator is actually a pop icon himself who will be famous for a long time to come.

Stutzman’s work surely is recognizable. In addition to Elvis, he’s the hand behind another U.S. Postage Service (USPS) stamps in the “Legends In American Music” series, including Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly, and Bill Haley.

For McDonald’s and D.C. Comics he also created the illustrated versions of Jim Carey’s Riddler, Danny Devito’s Penguin, and Michelle Pfeiffer Cat Woman.

Big clients. Big commissions. Lots of exposure. Ironically, as a kid Stutzman figured he would be an unknown painter living in Europe. The image was clear in his head. Poor, struggling artist, dirty beret, Florence address. So what happened?

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Marie Dauenheimer: An Inner View [HalfBleed magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
HalfBleed: The Newsletter for Members of the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington
July 1998

The leg interested her most. So every Friday for a year, Marie Dauenheimer hoisted the gray body part from the tank of formaldehyde in the cadaver room at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

To Dauenheimer, the lesson in gross anatomy was anything but gross.

“At first, I was scared I’d faint when I saw the dead bodies,” says Dauenheimer, who graduated in 1982. “But I didn’t. When you are very interested in a subject, you go beyond the fear.”

It was a career in medical illustration that Dauenheimer was working toward, and her fearless foray into the limb lab was only the first part of her journey. In 1983, she enrolled in the graduate program in the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute in Baltimore—one of only five accredited schools in the U.S. that mix art and medicine.

With only about 900 artists working in the lucrative field of medical illustration, Dauenheimer is among an elite group.

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Becky Heavner: A Washington Original [HalfBleed magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
HalfBleed: The Newsletter for Members of the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington
March 1998

IT WAS LATE OCTOBER WHEN Becky Heavner sat down at the desk that overlooks the Pineapple Sage in her garden. A cup of Seattle’s Best Sumatra nestled in one hand, Heavner leafed through the manuscript for her latest assignments, an illustration for The Washington Post Outlook section. The article, entitled “Exceptions to the Rule: Why Schools Can’t Expel Some Troublemakers,” discussed the dilemma that schools can’t expel disabled students even if they assault another student or a teacher. Hm, thought Heavner, struggling to come up with an image. So she began an exercise that usually unleashes her creativity. She wrote down two lists. On the left side of a sheet of paper she wrote the words: schoolhouse, teacher, student, flag. In the other list she penned related emotions: boxed in, frustration, trapped. Then Heavner began doodling, playing with the images that came from the words. By the end of the morning, she had several sketches. Unfortunately, it took three rounds with the editors to get final approval. “They just didn’t know what they wanted,” says Heavner. “I came up with several ideas, but ultimately they really wanted a picture of a teacher with her hands tied.”

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Michael Gibbs: An Artist Born & Bred [HalfBleed magazine]

by Hope Katz Gibbs
HalfBleed: The Newsletter for Members of the Art Directors Club of Metropolitan Washington
April 1998

IS AN ARTIST BORN AN artist? Or, is art a learned skill, a studied craft, a career that comes from a conscious decision? Or, is it destiny? For, Alexandria illustrator Michael Gibbs, 43, it is all of the above. An illustrator of magazines, book covers, and annual reports for clients from American Airlines, to Ziff-Davis, Gibbs says he never considered being an artist when he was a kid—even though he was known in elementary school as the “kid who could draw,” and even won an art contest in 8th grade for drawing the best Christmas card at the Holy Redeemer School in Kensington, Maryland. Still, his creative spirit wasn’t nourished at Catholic school. Once, he was even called to the principal’s office for his drawing ability—when a nun turned him in for adding a mustache and other embellishments to a photograph of a pagan baby on the cover of Crusader, a Catholic magazine handed out in class. At age 14, though, Gibbs discovered Maxfield Parrish. On a trip with his parents to an auction at an old farmhouse in rural Maryland, Gibbs spotted an old children’s book called The Arabian Nights, illustrated by Parrish. It was a forgotten antique, something stashed away, decades ago. To Gibbs, though, it was a treasure.

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More Art Directors Club / HalfBleed Articles

"I get by with a little help from my friends," says Hope, who gives special thanks to:

• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.