A Gift From greensboro: the illustrations


September 29th - october 22nd

With the upcoming release of "Gift from Greensboro" by Penny Candy Books, we are featuring the original illustrations of Skip Hill in the Print Gallery at Artspace. Come view the hand-drawn works from Skip's passion project in collaboration with author Quraysh Ali Lansana. This book is very timely in light of our current social climate in the United States.

The most compelling experience in producing the illustrations for  "Gift From Greensboro," was how the process opened the door for me to explore memory, time and place. The author, Quraysh Ali Lansana and I are of the same generation. Both of us grew up in Oklahoma. We both came of age and awareness of our complicated place in a post-Civil Rights United States with the country's moves towards integration of public schools. In that process, in often tense environments, some of us managed to reach out, cross bridges, break through entrenched attitudes and form warm friendships undaunted by our parents' or society's disapproval. 

My memories of that era and those friendships (many of which I maintain forty years later) inform every drawing.

The biggest challenge for an artist who relishes color, was to produce the illustrations in black & white. Thematically, it was a thoughtful decision for a book indirectly addressing Race in America. The publisher forwarded an image of mine he had seen earlier which featured a more loose figurative style with scratchy line work and squiggly shading. This style formed the foundation of the finished illustrations you see in this exhibition. As the art process progressed, it was decided to add spot color for contrast on each page, and then to add several full color pages as a contrast within the entire book. Where I could, I managed to introduce my favorite 'Birds' motif to align this project with my signature art style. 

- Skip Hill, Artist