In retrospect it appears that the action of these individuals had been orchestrated by a higher force to form my creative development and I consider them all to be my “door openers”
MY FATHER, who drew rather well, wanted to become an artist. But his father, a state employee (customs official), would not have a “starving artist” in his family. So my father became a municipal clerk. However, he never lost his interest in and love for drawing and often drew pictures for me, mostly of animals.
MISS FRICKEY, my first grade teacher in Syracuse, NY, discovered my love for drawing that, undoubtedly, had been passed on to me by my father. In an arranged meeting, Miss Frickey pointed out to my mother that her son was talented and that she should nurture that talent. While I cannot remember her face, I can still recall her kind presence and the bright paints and brushes and the large white sheets of paper in her sunlit classroom.
HERR KRAUSS, my art teacher in gymnasium (German high school) early discovered my love for drawing and painting. With great care and deliberation he set out to cultivate my artistic development. When I was 12 or 13 years old he secretly showed me reproductions of the “Forbidden Art” done by so-called “degenerate artists,” according to the then-prevailing Nazi doctrine. He showed me the works done by the German Expressionists and the Abstract Artists, all widely respected artists not at all degenerate, of course. But, for this act of defiance Herr Krauss could have been dismissed or worse. His courageous act opened my eyes to the beauty of German Expressionism and Abstract Art. In addition, Herr Krauss demonstrated his trust in me.
PROFESSOR SCHNEIDLER, at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, with whom I studied design from age 16 to 20. These 4 years were the most inspiring and exciting years of my artistic schooling. At the Akademie, I also met and related to my fellow students from various backgrounds. My artistic, spiritual and cultural horizons expanded. Schneidler’s message was, in short: as designers, we should shape in a responsible, noble and tasteful way all the things that confront us visually—the illustrations for a book, the color scheme for a shopping center, the shape of a coffee cup, the design of a poster, or the form of a typeface, for example.
While I am no longer doing graphic design, I still think of myself as a designer and the training I had in design is still influencing my work today. One of my first jobs out of art school was designing posters for the Amerika Haus in Germany. I am still proud of the designs for posters I created back then and think of my illustrations to this day, especially my book covers, as little posters that capture the attention of the reader with big, bold shapes.