While working on the next post about the 1772 Regulations, I thought I'd take a moment today to mention a few of my other past projects. I've said that I am a freelance illustrator and that my specialties are historical and ethnographic subjects. Sometimes, authors, curators and other authorities will either give me the research I need to recreate worlds of the past. More often I do this myself.
I have illustrated a wide range of subjects, but I keep coming back to an American West that very few people know. It is not Hollywood's Old West, but a more colorful, varied, and culturally complex West. It is a world where Siberian nomads first sight the untouched wilderness of the Americas. Where Native Americans adopt Russian names, religion and clothing.
Where Native Americans wear their real clothing, not something invented by a costumer in Burbank, and the wiry, rugged builds of both men and horses reflect a way of life that was far removed from regular meals, gyms and oats.
I like adding the little details, like finding a cat entrance carved into a doorway at a California Mission.
I also enjoy reclaiming forgotten people and cultures, such as this Native American war chief from Sitka, dressed in bearskin, wood, paint and copper and carrying a Russian blacksmith's hammer as a weapon.
The journey has been a long one and has taken me many places. It has also led me outside of illustration into research, writing . . .
And even costume design.
No, this is not Hollywood's West - it's better than that. And it fascinates me because it actually existed.
A. The New World is an illustration I created for Mesa Verde National Park.
B. Native American Man Ploughing. Illustration for Fort Ross State Historic Park, California.
C. Illustration of Blackfoot warrior and horse for Warriors of the Plains; Native American Regalia & Crafts, by M.S. Tucker and Joe W. Rosenthal: http://www.crazycrow.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=CCTP&Product_Code=4105-015-900&Category_Code=852-200-100
D. Illustration from California Missions Coloring Book, by David W. Rickman, Dover Publications. http://store.doverpublications.com/0486273466.html?gclid=CKzH2O6jhMACFQQQ7AodaH8AEw
E. Tlingit war chief Kotlean, Sitka National Historic Park, Alaska.
F. A picture of me taking a photograph of a garment in the American history collections of the Smithsonian Institution.
G. The Sutter's Fort Costume Manual by David W. Rickman http://www.amazon.com/The-Sutters-Fort-Costume-Manual/dp/B0006P91EA
H. For the 200th anniversary celebration at Fort Ross State Historic Park in California, I worked to research, design and oversee the production of more than thirty historical costumes. I was aided by a grant from the Renova Fort Ross Foundation and administered by the Fort Ross Conservancy.