(HUDSON, N.Y.) – A retrospective exhibition showcasing the work of illustrator, editorial cartoonist, animator, and graphic novelist R.O. Blechman opens at the Hudson Opera House on Saturday, March 29, 2014, with an artist’s reception at 5pm, and remains on view through May 11, 2014. Blechman’s iconic, witty spot illustrations and editorial cartoons have been widely seen in the New York Times, the Nation, Harpers Bazaar, Esquire, Punch, and the Huffington Post, and over a dozen magazine covers for the New Yorker. He remains best known for his trademark squiggly line, giving a nervous energy, charm, and understated humor to his art.
“Ever since I was a child my passion was to write and draw stories,” says Blechman, whose distinct, handwork lies in the expressiveness of his characters.
Born in Brooklyn in 1930, Blechman attended the High School of Music and Art in New York and Oberlin College in Ohio, where he drew cartoons for The Oberlin Review. His first book, The Juggler of Our Lady, (1953), a Christmas retelling of the medieval legend, is considered a precursor of the modern graphic novel. His 1967 TV commercial for Alka-Seltzer remains a classic in American advertising, he was inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame in 1999 and has been honored as Adweek’s Illustrator of the Year. His animated films were the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 2003 and, more recently, his work has been honored with exhibitions at the School of Visual Arts and the Norman Rockwell Museum.
Blechman taught at SVA during the 1960s and 1970s, penned Vietnam War editorial cartoons for The Village Voice in the 1970s, was an ad agency art director in the 1980s, and operated his ground-breaking animation studio, The Ink Tank, for over 25 years. He’s written and illustrated several books including Franklin the Fly, a children’s book; Dear James: Letters to a Young Illustrator; and Talking Lines, a collection of graphic stories. French publisher Delpire published a collection of his artwork for the series “Poche Illustrateur, ” and his graphic novel Georgie.
Blechman lives in Ancram, N.Y., with his wife, Moisha Kubinyi. They have two grown sons.
The Hudson Opera House offers a year-round schedule of arts and cultural programming in the former Hudson City Hall, which houses New York State’s oldest surviving theatre. Ongoing programs include concerts, readings, lectures, exhibitions, theatre and dance presentations, after-school programs, workshops, classes and community arts events like the annual Winter Walk on Warren Street.