On Missing Michael Thompson

Illustrations, Projects Series

Throughout my life to date, I have grieved over the absence of two photographers. 

The first loss I’ve suffered is the passing of photographer Edward Charles Moore – as he was my father – and most can relate to this. He died in November of 2005 at the age of 87 years old. Not a day goes by without thoughts of him… In many ways, he and I had been like minded. Although I regret never having learned all that much in photography skills from him.

The other photographer is Michael Thompson. And from recent searches online, I presume he is still among the living. But the amazing fashion editorials I so much admired within the pages of W Magazine seem to have dwindled off in the last decade or so. Due to this mysterious absence, I finally knuckled and bought a book of Thompson’s work, “Images”. Published in 2005. Also, in reading Thompson’s forward, I learned that he also had a father who had been a professional photographer. 

“Blue Princess” Photo by Michael Thompson, 2001

Among the brilliant selections of works in this book, I was most mesmerized by one titled “Blue Princess”, originally having appeared in W Magazine, 2001. Really, the lighting cast upon model Carmen Maria [now known as Carmen Maria Hillestad] is some sort of studio alchemy of light and shadows. 

In my 9” x 12” rendering of the photo, I have her gaze changed from somewhat downward to a direct look at the viewer. 

“Thompson’s Carmen” Colored Pencil on 9 x 12 by Jeni Moore

McQueen in Spook Green

Illustrations, Projects Series

On a recent and dreary Thursday my “faux-bro” and I had made our way to a tattoo parlor for new piercings. And as he drove, I kept spotting compact vehicles that were a sort of high voltage green.

“Trench Retouch” 8.5 x 11 Cray-pas and pencil on paper

“Do ya suppose that spooks have traded in dark sedans for bright green compacts?” I mused for his consideration. And there you have the beginning of my backstory as to how I became inspired for this specific sketch. 

As afterward, he and I hit a bookstore where I snatched a copy of i-D magazine. And it was when I found within [Issue No 362] this particular editorial, photographed by Amy Troost, a fantastic shot of model Abby Champion wearing a McQueen designed “trench dress”. 

Hopefully, creative license is enough to pardon my reimagining this khaki dress in my “new spook green”…

Leather and Feathers Above NYC

Brushwork, Illustrations, Projects Series

The allure of being on Instagram escaped me for the longest time. That is, until I finally caved in when I traded in my flip phone for the “smart” kind and have since come to embrace the platform. Follow me [!] there: @moore_jeni

For Visual Creatives it is the ultimate mobile feast. And while I can follow most of the artistic celebrities who already have global gobs of audiences, I get a bigger kick discovering – and in some cases, interacting with – Creatives who should have more acclaim. This is how I became familiar with the photographic portfolio of Aaron Kinney.

Photo by Aaron Kinney

Whether a new posting from Aaron is a studio or location shot, his images spark me. So when his work had appeared with a model named Tatjana Sinkevica, who commands a NYC rooftop while dressed in nearly all black warrior-wear, I couldn’t resist the challenge of recreating her very angled presence. And as I always respect another artist’s right of ownership, I reached out to Aaron who kindly allowed me to go public with my watercolor spin of his photo.

Untitled, 9″ x 12″
Mix of water media

Milton “The Maestro” Glaser

Illustrations, Projects Series

Last year and during a period that I found myself feeling especially grateful and generous, I began a sketch of Milton Glaser with the intention of sending it to him along with a letter of my adoration. What can I say? I got waylaid. I had overworked this little 5” X 7” portrait to an extent that poor Milton looked as if he belonged in a Kabuki theater. Really, awful. I meant to finish it but… and yet…

From childhood to present, Glaser’s artistic and illustrative designs have greatly contributed to my sense of aesthetics. However, Milton Glaser as a mentor [to me and so many others, globally] brought a profoundly strong ethos that he not only embodied but touched upon so generously in both writing and talking on the subject of art. He was a true mensch whose words were often flavored with deeply informed historical philosophies. Anyway, this has been my impression whenever I’ve streamed one of his videotaped conversations; which was quite often as I worked at my own easel. 

Imagine the blow I felt when I learned of his death last week! I had to wrestle with the guilt I had for having never finished my little portrait of him… or sending that letter. I picked up that first task again and thanks to an image found on the website artsmeme.com, I pencil sketched Mr Glaser and then, for better or worse, printed out a tracing. In the colorized version, I added a personal favorite Glaser-designed metal sculpture that had been commissioned by The Rubin Museum in New York City. 

Milton Glaser: 1929-2020

Milton in Color
7″ x 9″

 

Penn in Pencil

Illustrations, Projects Series

This could also be titled “Penn and Patchett in Pencil” as model Jean Patchett is the poised woman holding the wine glass for photographer Irving Penn – circa 1949. Citing the caption as found online, Patchett is wearing “silk taffeta… from Vogue Design #6708”. Does the #6708 refer to a dress pattern? I wonder.

The half page size copy of Penn’s black and white photo proved mysterious in parts also. In the original, a shadowy violin player is seen in the background. Very barely! There is a dark door dividing the musician and model, obscuring outlines of her skirt. So, I used the visible clues to render all that I could… 

Penn in Pencil
8″ x 12″ sketch 2020

Then and There: Part II

Illustrations, Projects Series

When I do a search for a muse, my aim often is in seeking someone who feels familiar to me – while avoiding many subjects I may already be thoroughly familiar with. It is like a game where I really can’t lose because I often find remarkable stories behind these veneers.

So, after completing my sketch of a 1960s Donna Mitchell last week [“Then and There”] I went on to do a search of my subject with the hope of learning more about her. At the top of the results online I was astonished to see brilliant photos of Ms Mitchell – as she continues to model to this day! Represented by the “Iconic Focus” agency, her portfolio amazed me as she is no less stunning now than she had been in her teens. Although, and perhaps an indication of that “familiarity” factor, I found very little of her personal life and I’m quite private with my own. And while it was hard to choose from her very-very varied looks collection, the pose I settled on seemed to serve as the best narrative companion for my other Donna Mitchell sketch – in which she beams, sitting and looking quite self possessed. 

Donna MItchell 2020 Mix Media 8″ x 10″

 

Then and There

Brushwork, Illustrations, Projects Series

While searching vintage era images I was recently very much taken with one which is so quintessential 60s Mod – yet there is more to it… Up until the moment of discovery I wasn’t at all familiar with model Donna Mitchell and yet in the expression she gave photographer David Montgomery, there is some element of personal reflection about it. 

Years [and years!] ago I was – as I recall – shaped like a lollipop. From my neck down, a stick. My head, being the “lolli”. Or the “pop”? I mention this as my water brush sketch doesn’t quite do the real [and very stunning] Donna Mitchell justice; the result being an illustrated snapshot of, perhaps, personal vulnerability? 

Donna – or Me? 8″ x 10″, Crayon and Pencil

LV’s Thistle Design

Illustrations, Projects Series

 

The Thistle pattern, artfully applied to a Louis Vuitton jacket and as worn by Kaia Gerber, brought the word “pluck” to my mind. Found in Vogue’s March issue [“The New Edwardian”] and photographed by David Sims, I just love that diagonal action in Gerber’s hair above the uniformly vertical pattern. Does anyone say “plucky” these days? Well, this is pluck all over!

Louis Vuitton Spring 2020

In Gaultier’s Fashion

Illustrations, Projects Series

Prophetic or just strange…? Yet, when I learned that designer Jean Paul Gaultier had announced his retirement, I had already begun this sketch of a Niall McInerney photo found within the pages of Colin McDowell’s Gaultier biography. 

From his fairly humble beginnings, Gaultier began his breath taking career when he was employed by Pierre Cardin. Jean Paul was a mere 18 year old at the time! [Does anyone speak much of Cardin today? Would it be hubris to view Gaultier as having surpassed his mentor if we are to think of the legends of haute couture?]

Gaultier has often come across as an impish mischief maker; this being one of the many reasons I personally adore him but also gives one the sense that he will not disappear entirely. And since his own style – more often than not – is typically a striped sailor’s shirt, I felt the need to lend stripes to the model’s gloved hand.  

Les Journées ou Gaultier

When Joey Blows Into Town

Illustrations, Projects Series

Busker Joey… This cat? Tall and fair and tinged with ginger, Joey just sorta magically appears in Downtown Mystic every summer. I dig his style: Appalachian Chic? I am kicking myself because I did not swap out that yellow gear bag from the photo I’d taken and replace it with a guitar and strap. [Another time, maybe.]

I’m not going to play Mystic Busker favorites. No way and never! It is just Joey’s nature in that he is such an approachable dude. And when I see him, he brightens my day. Actually, on the day I had snapped this picture, the sun was so strong that he is squinting in that photo. I used my artist’s prerogative here. Without recent contact with him, I hope Joey approves!

Joey in 2018

Busker Joey

Fire Submerged

Brushwork, Projects Series

The color orange acts like a magnetizing force when it comes to my personal aesthetic. Symbolically speaking, orange seems to be as paradoxical as my own personality… translating as both warning and warmth. Utility and creativity. Ripe fruits and autumn’s leaves.

From this photo editorial shot by Carlos Serrao, model Wanessa Milhomem plunged into the waters wearing this blazing orange Cavalli dress. And as with my passion for orange, water cannot extinguish these flames!

Fire Submerged

 

 

Yasmin in Bottega

Brushwork, Projects Series

Faces. How to explain whose face will lure me in cannot be easily expressed. Nor could I articulate why one photo among countless others compels me to render it, by whatever means. In this sketch of Yasmin Wijnaldum, she wears Bottega Veneta for a 2018 Elle editorial.

Photographer Chris Colls, versatile – and cunning in this instance, captures Yasmin beautifully by cleverly setting this overcoat against the grid of a rusted fence.

How did this escape me at the time of receipt? Again, I have no idea!

Yasmin in 2018 Bottega