Sylvia Bokor

"I fell in love with commercial illustration when I was a kid. When I was 16 I decided that I wanted to be an illustrator. However, due to financial and other difficulties I did not actually start my studies until I was 30. At that time I was in NYC where I found the best art teacher in the world: Frank J. Reilly. I got a production job in publishing to put myself through night school. During the two years remaining to Mr. Reilly, he advanced me rapidly from drawing to painting to competition work. I won honorable mention in a city-wide poster contest during my first year with him. After he died, unable to find a comparable teacher, I continued my night school studies virtually unaided for the next three years. I entered several shows in New York City, winning first place at a Catherine Lorillard Wolfe competition the first year after quitting night school, and a gold medal from Grumbacher for "excellence any medium" that same year.

"But I wanted time to do commerical illustration. So, I quit exhibiting and prepared a portfolio for that purpose. Happily, my first time out with a portfolio presentation netted me a cover. I did covers for about 5 years. But the stories I was asked to illustrate were not the romantic dramas of my youth. I withdrew from paperback illustration and went into technical illustration. I was hired to do a book for Reader's Digest — for whom I also did a magazine illustration for one of Erma Bombeck's stories. I free-lanced for them for six years, doing gardening and how-to illustration, i.e. illustration which showed men how to make and repair things. Meanwhile a gallery in North Carolina repped me, and I put together a one-man show for myself in Soho. In addition, I showed a few paintings now and then to small groups on the east coast. At my last small show, I sold everything except one painting that had gotten slightly damaged in transit.

"Years ago I had planned that at a certain age I'd leave commercial illustration and move out west to develop some painting ideas. In my first year absent from New York City, however, I completed a job for Reader's Digest, a 6'x4' commissioned piece and lectured on art in Boston, Washington, DC and Toronto.

"At present, I finally finished the manuscript for Conquering the Third Dimension, a discussion of the history of painting. It is not the usual kind of history of painting wherein the author discusses who painted what when. Instead it's a much-needed examination of the evolution of painting ideas and the implicit philosophical principles that guide every representational painter. In the history of painting, Conquering the Third Dimension is unique. Soon, I will begin to look for a literary agent and/or publisher."

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