May 26, 2018
Art, politics, angels, demons . . . and righteous dogs.

On the Road to High Point

Last Week I spent two wonderful days at High Point University in High Point, NC. I was invited by the Design Department, Allan Beaver, Artist in Residence. I attended several classes, got to see what the students were doing (some truly amazing and beautiful work). Late in the day I gave a talk and demonstration that was, happy to say, standing room only. My topic was the use of content in illustration; how that is approached, negotiated and finally  applied in (in my case) journalism. A more focused and attentive group you couldn’t ask for. Tons of questions at the end and also a guest appearance by Kyle Webster a favorite illustrator of mine and a North Carolina neighbor. I am extremely grateful to all. Lecture dates are always as educational for me as for the students. Great work, keep ’em flyin’, High Point!

My first view of the High Point-Greensboro area.  I  couldn’t get over the shapes of the clouds there. The weather was very dramatic, but also, let’s face it, in NY you find out about the sky from the radio.

My host, Allan Beaver in his office. Allan ran an agency in NY for many years and then accepted the task of bringing his expertise on type, design, visual communication and administration to High Point. He enjoys his new home as well as the very ordered office I took some shots of.

A great crackerbox in the office.

A type-form B on his wall.

Kyle Webster got some work off the table to make it out that day. Very honored. A brilliant artist, making it in the most turbulent of times in illustration. The drawing of me was about what I deserved.

At the lecture. It doesn’t take me long to get warmed up. I showed slides, video and drew on stage.

My illustrations are like  ghosts that follow me around, forcing me to reconsider them each time I do a talk. Will I ever be free of Bush?

Obama doesn’t seem to like the way it’s turning out. Everyone’s a critic.

Tina Walker, who works at the Adams Inn in High Point. A delightful person and also a brave lady. Breast cancer survivor, beating it everyday. Some people teach you how to live. Lucky to meet her.

The night of the first presidential debate. I brought work and drew in my room. Art can keep you sane.  I needed it that horrifying night.

High Point is on rolling hills, replete with fountains and beautifully manicured lawns. Students are fortunate to study there. As was I. Thanks to Allan and the gang.


  1. ALEX MCCRAE says:


    Love that aerial shot coming into High Point, NC w/ such a bucolic-looking landscape below. And I imagine a riot of oranges, reds, purples, and yellows w/ the fall leaves changing, highlighted by the surrounding verdant evergreens. Lot of pines, I’d imagine.

    Clearly, your quality time spent communing w/ those mostly attentive, talented graphic arts students, fellow pros Mr. Beaver and Webster, at High Point U., was the ‘high point’ of your week. (Cheap pun intended.)

    Perusing your posted pics, you seem so thoroughly engaged, and truly in your element. Artist-in-Residence Beaver looks like such a cool, disciplined (in a good way), and kindly gent. I love that message on his office wall, “Thinking is drawing in your head.”

    As an art student back in the Dark Ages (Ontario College of Art/ 1971-’74/ Toronto), although I was more or less a committed sculpture major, w/ a minor in printmaking, I tended to hang out more w/ my peers in the illustration and graphic design courses.

    It was always a special treat to have some eminent NYC or Chicago-based, high-profile illustrator, designer, or
    art director come to OCA and give a talk, or slide lecture about their career from their early struggling years to the then-present. Most would bring along original assignment pieces to show us, or at least tear sheets of their work from various high-profile magazines of the day. Some were grads of Cooper Union; others got their formative training at RISDI, Chicago’s Art Institute, or Art Center here in Pasadena CA.

    Having the opportunity to interact w/ this seasoned pros of the then-thriving ‘commercial art’ world was such a boon for us young, impressionable, and eager-to-learn students. The fact that most of our illustration teachers back in the day were practicing designers and illustrators, and worked as part-time instructors at the college, allowed many of them to lean on their New York and Chicago illustrator connections, attracting the cream of American illustration and design crop of that tail end of the golden modern era of the genre. (Before photography took its ascendance.)

    Never did get the likes of say Mark English, Brad Holland, Bob Peak, Bart Forbes, Bernie Fuchs, or Fred Otnes to guest-lecture at OCA back when i was there, but I’m proud to say I did meet and chat briefly w/ Bernie Fuchs, maybe seven years back when he gave a super talk about his career, at a CAPS meeting here in L.A. –Caps is an association of professional, mostly So Cal-based cartoonists. Sergio Arigones, the great , veteran Mad Magazine cartoonist, has been a past president. But i digress.

    In your candid photo, Tina Walker just seems to exude gratitude and a love of just being alive. A brave survivor…. no, make that thriver, indeed!

    Steve, thanks for this little window into what makes you tick, what gets you creatively excited, and how you are always striving to share and give back to others. All I can say is “What a mensch.”…. and a most gifted one, at that.

    Go Barack! (He’s definitely back in the game.)

  2. Steve says:

    Thanks Alex. This was a lovely trip. High Point is a very comfortably situated university however, very serious. The student I met were very focused and gifted. It’s not a huge place but now had become a great place for the arts and design. NC is beautiful (not really a place I know). It shows that the arts will not die (in spite of certain people in power, whom we know).