Keith Mayerson

Yuppie Zombie—From Life

I taught for almost three decades at the School of Visual Arts in NYC in the Illustration and Cartooning Dept, where I was the "Cartoon Coordinator", the lead teacher for comics in a school that was (and still is) historically important for this genre of art. One of my favorite classes was an Advanced Model Drawing class, a no-credit course on Friday afternoons where the best students would sit in for what I deemed "Synesthetic Model Drawing". These students had incredible talent and facility, and they already could render photo realistically with ease, but especially as they were narrative artists, I wanted to help them bring life to their lines, by invoking scenes that they could meditate upon while drawing. The students would invent scenarios that I would then order excellent models for—who would come in costume ready to perform. The students would create playlists for music, and bring in or find films or photo stills that we would project, like a green screen, in the background, and the students, like method actors, would try to relate aspects and memories from their own life into the narratives that would unfold before them. I got great results for what turned out to be a very popular class, and sometimes I would, after the students got a hang of what I was teaching, draw in the background alongside them, not showing them my work as the class was really about them. We would critique not only how accurately drawn the renderings were, but what the "feeling" of them would be, and how the form created that synesthetic content. This drawing was one of many I created on the DL during the class, I believe the theme was of Yuppie Zombies, the model bringing out the most in me while drawing with the students, having fun as they were, exalting expressionistic life through our lines.