I was shocked to hear the news this weekend that friend and mentor Jeff Fisher passed away suddenly. Jeff was an inspiration to me and so many of my fellow artists many of them Smithtown students. Jeff was really an outstanding illustrator as well as an impact-full teacher and a vivacious personality. He taught figure drawing and location classes at the Drawing Studio in Smithtown since I started teaching in the district 16 years ago and he left an impression on everyone he met. The quote below is taken from the introduction to his Drawing Studio class and exemplifies Jeff himself.
"When you mention the word “artist”, there are a few who stand out above the rest. Their style, lovely and immortalized, has the ability to touch our souls. They were not regarded as the elite during their short time on earth. They were the rejected, the outcasts, the young who dared to break from conventional teachings and try to experience art in its rawest, unbridled, most passionate and most rewarding form."The best way to remember Jeff is through his impact and his artwork and there may no better example than his work with fellow Society of Illustrators members at Walter Reed via the Joe Bonham Project drawing wounded service members from the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. The video below shows Jeff at work on the project and accompanies the New York Times article on the project.
I was honored to be asked by Jeff to participate in a exhibition of illustration and cartooning he put together in August at Gallery North in Setauket with friends of his from the Berndt Toast Gang of artists and I'm so thankful I had a chance to celebrate with him at the opening. Jeff made a pronounced impact on everyone he worked with and will be greatly missed and condolences to his wonderful family.