Sunday, April 12, 2020

So long Maestro Mort Drucker

I corresponded with Mort years ago. Told him he was responsible for my artistic life, which he was, and I wanted him to know while he was still around that I knew that and he should as well. I enclosed a couple books, and he wrote back a long letter with some drawings of his, and some signed stuff.

He taught me how to draw. Countless hours in the desert sun of Fort Bliss and El Paso where we were stationed I studied and then copied his parodies on used copy paper my father brought home in boxes from the base, wearing down many a pencil. There could have been national secrets on the one side, but I was only interested in the blank sides. I was a weird lonely kid with thick glasses and I found my voice in his drawings.

He was a master of caricature and nuance, anatomy and physicality, line and shade, humor and satire. I soaked it all up, and made it my way of dealing with the outside world. Pencil, pen and wash, a myriad of line shading tricks with hatches, swirls, textures. My BFA belonged to Mort.

I remember being excited for the new comic books to appear, but I lived for the new Mad Magazines. They came with new Drucker parodies. More drawing... hot women, men with machine guns, vehicles, and an endless assortment of background characters he carefully penned to life. And those hands... his knowledge of anatomy was no less than extraordinary. And always, always somewhere there was Alfred lurking in the scenes.  A very deep well to draw from... literally.

Mort Drucker was my teacher and invisible friend. I am grateful for the chance to connect with him, and sadly bid him adieu.... the world is a duller place without him.

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