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June 20, 2014     Post-Gazette
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June 20, 2014

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Page 8 POST-GAZETTE, JUNE 20, 2014 Patrick Stewart Waiting For Godot, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan You have most likely seen Ken Fallin's work as it appears with "alarming regularity" in the Wall Street and Ken Fallin Journal, Playbill Online, The Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker and on the posters for Forbidden Broadway. He also got his start here in Boston doing a weekly drawing for the Sunday Arts section of the Herald back in the '80s. You may not know his name because he prefers to not allow it to intrude into his pieces. Ken has always loved car- toons, and has been drawing, or what he calls doodling, since he was a kid. His dream was to be an actor and he pursued that career for many years, but found he made more money drawing caricatures of his fellow actors on the side. Eventu- ally, he got his big break, not in acting, but when he was asked to do the drawings for Rocky the Musical f NOBILE INSURANCE ALBANO F. PONTE, CEP Financial and Estate Planning Email Phone 617-320-0022 MICHAEL F. NOBILE, CPCU mnobile @ nobileinsu BOSTON 30 Prince Street Boston, MA 02113 (617) 523-6766 Fax (617) 523-0078 MEBFORD 39 Salem Street Medford, MA 02155 (781) 395-4200 Fax (781) 391-8493 Rambo the poster for "Forbidden Broadway" in 1983. This led to a job at the Boston Herald, followed by working for Wall Street Journal, where he still contributes work every week. I recently spoke with Ken by phone from his home and studio on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The first thing you notice when speaking to Ken is that there is a calmness to his voice. He comes across as a man who loves people and enjoys his Work. I ask him about how he calls his work doodling and not his art. "I try not to take myself too seriously." Did you doodle when you were a kid? "I did, I did, but it was something that was just a lot of fun. I loved cartoons. I loved comic strips in the newspapers. I loved watching cartoons on television, and I loved Mad Magazine. Warner Brothers made a lot cartoons with caricatures of their famous players like Humphrey Bogart, and that just blew my mind that they were taking real people and making them into cartoons. That's how I saw it ... it was just the best, because when I would look at people, espe- cially funny looking people, I would think this person looks like a cartoon. That's where I think I got my love of caricatures." Were you taught drawing? "It wasn't taught. It's kind of an instinctual thing. You see somebody and the way you see them is your own vision of them, and I don't think you can teach that. It's the way you see the person." Ken has doodled just about every major Broadway per- former in the past 35 years as well as world leaders including President Obama for the Wall Street Journal. I was curious what it was like to sit with these famous people and sketch them. I was in for a surprise. "I don't get to meet them. It's not a glamorous life like a photographer where you actually get to go and see the person. I work from photo- graphs. Photos are sent to me via the Internet. Some- times I get an assignment at 11:00 am that has to be done by 4:00 pro, I can work fairly fast." A lot of the time Ken does not know anything about the person he is drawing, "I usually try to pull prob- ably a dozen photos, and if something catches my eye I think, I can draw that, I can draw that angle, the eye, or the nose, or whatever; and I KEN F, Doodling the Stars from the Brc try to do that, and sometimes it doesn't work and I have to switch over to another photo. Ken has been heavily influenced by the work of A1 Hirschfeld. I ask if he had ever met the great artist,"I have. Well, this is funny because years ago I actually got my big break doing a show called "Forbidden Broadway," and AI used to go to all the opening nights. He went to one in New York and they showed him the influenced Ken including Aubrey Beardsley, Richard Avedon, and Irving Penn. I read a quote from Irving Penn to him. "Sensitive people faced with the pros- pect of a camera portrait put on a face they think is one they would like to show to the world ... very often what lies behind the facade is rare and more wonderful than the subject knows or dares to believe." I was curious if this would apply to Ken's art. "Usually, when I am draw- ing, my mind is pretty blank because I need it to be that way in order to create some- thing. It's probably subcon- scious with an artist. Any- time you do anything cre- Woody AUen program cover that had my drawing on it and said, 'what do you think of it?, and he thought he had done it. I took that as the ultimate compliment. He was a very nice man. I never got to know him really well. After he died I got to know his wife and I got to go up to his studio. I actually got to sit in his chair. That was very exciting. Louise Hirschfeld and the people at the AI Hirschfeld Foundation have been very supportive of my work. They can see I am influenced by, but not copy- ing him." Other artists, photogra- phers, and architects, have Kate Hepburn The G ative you're not really aware of it at the time, but things come through when you love it, and I really love what I do. I am an old fashioned illus- trator. I use a quill pen that I have to keep dipping in ink, and scratching on illus- tration board. I love the old fashioned stuff, and I'm hop- ing that comes through, and when people buy my stuff and they tell me they love look- ing at them that means the world to me." With his upbeat yet easy going manner, Ken hardly / Casal