Thursday, June 28, 2012

Illustrator Allen Say

. . . What drives me is . . . to give shape to my dreams
— the old business of making myths — 
the fundamental force of art. . . .

. . . Memory is the most important asset to an artist.
What we call imagination is rearrangement 
of memory. You cannot imagine without memory.
~ Allen Say, Interview with The Oregonian

Japan-born Allen Say (b. 1937) was apprenticed to a sign painter, studied architecture, and worked in commercial photography before ultimately dedicating himself to writing and illustrating books for children. Among his many books are The Boy of the Three-Year Nap, a re-telling by Dianne Snyder of a Japanese folktale and the recipient of both a Caldecott Honor Award (1989) and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award; Grandfather's Journey, a Caldecott Medal winner (1994); and the autobiographical Drawing from Memory, published in 2011. Say credits his artistic career to studies with cartoon artist Noro Shinpei whom Say describes as his sensei or "master".

Recently, Say, who was honored in 2000-2001 with a retrospective at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, was the subject of this Oregon Art Beat profile:

Here's a slideshow of some of Say's wonderful watercolor illustrations:

Say lives in Portland, Oregon.

Book List

Essay, "My Father", by Yuriko Say (Say's Daughter) at the Independent Bookseller Heritage Source

Houghton Mifflin Books Author Profile of Allen Say

Library of Congress Webcasts with Allen Say, National Book Festival, 2011, 2002 (Transcripts  are available at the links.)

Paper Tigers Interview with Allen Say

YouTube Video of Allen Say at 2011 National Book Festival


S. Etole said...

His watercolor illustrations are wonderfully done.

Hannah Stephenson said...

The power of memory. I love how Say says (that is confusing) that the imagination needs memories...