Saturday, October 27, 2007

Robert's Snow illustrator profile: Julie Fromme Fortenberry

"First Snow" by Julie Fromme Fortenberry

It is again my privilege to profile one of the generous artists who have donated original works of art to the Robert's Snow online auction benefiting the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Julie Fromme Fortenberry claims she has "a weird resume". I smell ya, sis - I guess we all do at this point. And how did we all end up online together? I want to know!

Anyway, I'll give it to her: any career path that includes exhibiting abstract art at the Whitney Museum for American Art and illustrations in Highlights High 5 magazine, well ok, that's a little unusual to say the least.

Her snowflake for Robert's Snow depicts her friendly little dog Lucy out in the snow for the first time. I like this illustration, and all her work, for its real feeling of down-to-earth sweetness. Her point of view is direct and intimate, and her figures are happy and expressive. Plus she uses a lot of fine strong-but-not-overpowering color. The work is endearing but never cutesy.

Julie's illustrations look like watercolor, but she actually creates them on the computer in her bedroom, when she's not distracted by laundry, permission slips, and the whole "big ball of domestic fun." Yep, that sounds a little familiar, too. Her computer is in the bedroom, mine is in the dining room. When I asked her what she'd like to see made out of Lego (I kind of suck at the interviewing part of this process), she answered, "A detached studio/office a few yards from my house, complete with plumbing and heating."

Here you go, Julie - this is what I've had my eye on:

Not Lego, but oh my god. Or this one, by Shigeru Ban. And hey, while I'm speaking of online and random and covetable, I have to plug Julie's blog. She samples illustration, design, kitsch, culture, and whatever strikes her fancy. She has the coolest taste - I find something interesting every time I stop by.

Last but not least, Julie is a New York museum person. I had an inkling when I saw this illustration. It looks one heck of a lot like the display of Pacific Island masks at The Brooklyn Museum, although it could be my old workplace too. On the other hand, Julie's probably spent more time in the hall of African, Asian and Oceanic Art at the Metropolitan Museum - she worked there a while ago, and her husband works there now.

You can see Julie Fromme Fortenberry's work online, and in various Harcourt Education publications, Highlights High 5, and in a forthcoming preschool book yet to be titled. She also did the cover of the Baltimore's Child Parents Pages, a directory of parent and child service providers here in Smalltimore.

Be sure to check back on the Robert's Snow site as the auction date approaches. These marvelous wooden snowflakes are a great opportunity to own original art by published artists. They are sure to be well-priced, just in time for the holidays, and benefit a good cause.