My Story
Poster for Experimental Drawing Class with Edward Burke

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, attended The High School of Art & Design in Manhattan, graduating in 1964. Continuing my art education at the School of Visual Arts while working as a full-time commercial artist in small advertising agencies around New York City. 

 

I began a serious pursuit of painting in 1970. Simultaneously developing my career as a book designer and art director for educational publishers. "A single grade school event by a dedicated and caring teacher (Ms. Breslin) set my life on a path in art. Ms. Breslin recognized my artistic ability and helped me find a meaningful place in the school by assigning me to create elaborate blackboard chalk drawings for all the school events and holidays. This simple, thoughtful act helped my self-esteem and set my life's path in art. She suggested that I apply to the High School of Art and Design in ManhattanThat school was a revelation – it valued something at which I was innately good – creating art. It was a place to explore various art disciplines: photography, watercolor, sculpture, graphics, advertising, drawing, and painting. By the third year, I was required to choose between fine art or a commercial art focus. Although my real love was fine art, I had to find a way of earning a living, so I chose commercial art. However, throughout my life, I have never given up my love of fine art and painting's self-expression. To be candid, during those last two years, I skipped as many academic classes as possible to sit in on unassigned painting classes taught by Tom Wasselmann.

 

Nevertheless, I graduated successfully in 1964. I couldn't attend college due to cost – I simply had to find work and earn money. Venturing out in Manhattan with my portfolio of illustrations and graphic designs in hand, I found some part-time work in small advertising agencies that lasted about two years. I was able to parlay that experience into a full-time position as a book designer at Macmillan Publishing. Within a few years, I launched my first graphic design business," Creative Publishing Concepts," located in Manhattan.

 

While earning a living in the graphic arts business, I continued developing drawing and painting skills. I drew and painted on evenings and weekends, visited galleries and museums in Manhattan at every opportunity. I was fortunate enough to take studio-painting classes with John Gundelfinger at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. In this way, I was able to balance painting and graphics and developed sufficient skills to obtain commissions, have my work exhibited, and win awards as an art director.

 

My career in graphic design and fine art has been greatly influenced by an amalgam of family, colleagues, authors, artists, friends, educators, and the vast resources available to me in New York City. In graphics, I was and am inspired by the work and design principles of Josef Albers and Paul Rand, and in paintings by Modigliani, Matisse, Picasso, De Kooning, and Warhol.

 

One of my most rewarding professional experiences was a painting commission in 2005 to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims. Nancy Sciotto, Vice President of Operations at the National Electrical Manufacturers Representative Association (NEMRA), commissioned the work. The original painting "Play Ignorant" was auctioned in New Orleans. The auction price and prints' sales were donated to the Habitat for Humanity/New Orleans to build a home in the Musician's Village. 'It was a great privilege to be part of this effort.' " This event and the sale of the posters were handled by Don Bennett.

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The Preservation Band of New Orleans and Edward Burke at the Paramount theater in Peekskill, NY