I have had a big year. I’m a fully-functioning 91-year-old artist who belatedly realizes how much of my interest in creating and continuing to absorb new things and ideas comes directly from C&C, Caroline Pratt, and her great wooden blocks.
I am currently working on a book about my career, Drawn from Life—mostly illustrations—and C&C is very much present in it. Last year I had the great honor of having two exhibits of my work: Eloise at the Museumat The New-York Historical Society and Hilary Knight’s Stage Struck World at the Lincoln Center Library. Of late, I’ve been passing by the School frequently, as I have been commissioned by designer Anna Sui to do a mural for her nearby apartment. (I started my career in the ’40s painting murals, and still do create them—including one for Tommy Hilfiger, for whom I created a mural in his Plaza Hotel apartment.)
I also have two books for St. Martin’s Press keeping me busy. Besides my autobiography, the other is an adult graphic memoir (Olive & Oliver: The Odde-Balzz’s). When my family came to live in Manhattan in 1932, there was no question where I would be going to school—just down the street, crossing Sixth Avenue (under the El) to City and Country. Now in 2018, my memories are vivid.
Several visits over the years have astonished me. A few things have changed: no more 12th Street entrance, the El is gone. The school has remained the same. What a rarity in this incredible new world. It still echoes with the ideas and teachings of its founder, very much present when I was there. Visiting a classroom of children today, still building bridges with her blocks! The very same printing press still at work. My guilty favorite was Rhythms, way back in 1932. We were all Flash Gordon with China silk capes. I feel a very strong tie that connects me after all of these years to City and Country School.