Laura Levine
Veronica Lake in BLAB! show
posted: March 24, 2010
detail, Veronica Lake, acrylic on birch panel, 48" x 24" (diptych), 2005 © Laura Levine...
Veronica Lake, acrylic on birch panel, 48" x 24" (diptych), 2005 © Laura Levine...
I'm pleased to be exhibiting my work in BLAB! A Retrospective, which opens at the Museum of American Illustration/Society of Illustrators in New York City this Friday March 26th. I've been a regular contributor to Monte Beauchamp's BLAB! for about ten years now, and it's probably my favorite venue in that I really get to stretch my visual as well as literary wings. Most of the pieces I've done for BLAB! are long-form non-fiction narratives - what I call documentary illustration - and can take up to six months of to complete. They usually start with some sort of spark or personal connection and then I delve deeply into the subject, which often involves months of historical and biographical research.

The piece I'll be showing, Veronica Lake, evolved from a chance event. As some of you know, on the weekends in the summertime I run a vintage/junk/oddities shop up in the Catskills called Homer & Langley's Mystery Spot Antiques (Homer & Langley Collyer were also a BLAB! subject for me, but that's another story for another time). I have a lot of unusual vintage items for sale, as well as items that are not for sale - everything from Petey the Petrified Piranha to Desdemona the Devil Girl of Phoenicia. The Mystery Spot is part odditorium/part shop.

One day, one of my regular customers came in and told me that via a long series of odd circumstances, he ended up with a teaspoonful of Veronica Lake's ashes, and he offered to loan them to us for a short period of time. Now, I've been a huge fan of Veronica Lake since I first saw her in Sullivan's Travels - one of Hollywood's finest comediennes, but also, oh my, possessed of a stunning beauty that I've never seen anyone in Hollywood come close to since. Well, one thing led to another. I built a small shrine, hosted a Veronica Lake Day, etc. After a few weeks the ashes were returned to their caretaker and everything settled back to normal.

But in the meantime I'd become fascinated with Veronica. Her life was not an easy one - in fact, it was quite difficult and yes, cinematic - and I decided to research it further and tell the story of her life in words and pictures.

So that's the story behind my contribution to the exhibit. Some of the other artists who will be represented in the show include (sorry, I don't have a complete list):

Gary Baseman
Tim Biskup
Sue Coe
Chris Ware
Brian Cronin
Christian Northeast
The Clayton Brothers
Steven Guarnaccia
Nora Krug
Drew Friedman
Peter Kuper
Laura Levine
Andrea Dezso
David Goldin
Edel Rodriguez
Sergio Ruzzier
David Sandlin
Martin Wittfooth
Michael Bartalos
Calef Brown
Marc Burckhardt
Greg Clarke
Douglas Fraser
Geoffrey Grahn
Marc Rosenthal
Bob Staake
Owen Smith
Gary Taxali
Ryan Heshka
Mark Todd
Esther Pearl Watson
John Pound
Jonathon Rosen
Elvis Studio

OPENING NIGHT RECEPTION: Friday, March 26th, 6-9 PM; the show runs through May 1, 2010
WHERE: Society of Illustrators, 128 East 63rd Street, NYC
FOR MORE INFORMATION: 212-838-2560  ///
- Laura Levine
Veronica Lake, acrylic on birch panel, 48" x 24" (diptych), 2005 © Laura Levine...
Veronica Lake, acrylic on birch panel, 48" x 24" (diptych), 2005 © Laura Levine...
detail, Veronica Lake, acrylic on birch panel, 48" x 24" (diptych), 2005 © Laura Levine...
Elwood H. Smith March 25, 2010
Laura, congratulations! Maggie was just saying last night that you are on of her all-time favorite artists. Ditto, I might add. We will be attending the opening. Hope to see you there. -E
Leo Espinosa March 25, 2010
Terrific stuff, Laura and what a roster! I wish I could come down to see it :(
Christoph Hitz March 25, 2010
Have a great show, love that Veronica Lake piece.
Drew Friedman March 25, 2010
A great one! Should be a great show as well.
Laura Levine March 25, 2010
Thanks everyone! Elwood, please tell Maggie thank you - what a nice thing to hear!
Paul Rogers March 25, 2010
Great Veronica Lake piece, Laura. We'd like to see more of your documentary illustrations. "You know the nice thing about buying food for a man is that you don't have to laugh at his jokes."