Illustrators Workshop 1977 – page 6

Posted: April 2, 2012 in art,John_Dyess

from left,Bob Heindel,Bernie Fuchs and Fred Otnes at 1977 illustrators workshop

Bob Heindel on left and Fred Otnes on right facing camera at the Illustrators Workshop 1977

Mark English and student Connie Connally at the 1977 illustrators Workshop

These photos were taken during a break from lectures on the campus of Marymont College during the 1977 Illustrators Workshop. Fred Otnes is wearing what became the official workshop shirt. I don’t know which student came up with this idea and who purchased the shirts ,but during the end of the workshop we all wore these shirts.I may still have mine in my costume box.
Mark English is relaxing and next to him is Connie Connally one of the students that became a friend during the workshop.I don’t remember visiting the studio of Mark English,he may have been living near Kansas City ,Missouri at this time. I believe he was driving a Mercedes-Benz automobile. I think Bernie Fuchs was driving a Porsche. My memory may be wrong on this. I guess my point is that my perception was the faculty were all during well financially.
The studio of Bernie Fuchs,which was in Connecticut, was visited by the students,as was the studio of Bob Heindel.

Bernie Fuchs was a student at Washington University in St.Louis and I worked with several illustrators at Maritz Inc., in St.Louis, that went to school with him. They were Dave Fine and
Walter (Bud) Kemper. I also was a graduate of the School of Fine Arts at Washington University. Other Graduates were Jack Unruh and Al Parker.

  1. Glenn Myers says:

    Looks like the type of experience that lasts a lifetime. You certainly belonged in that gathering.

    • johndyess says:

      Thanks Glenn. My life changed dramatically shortly after the worked shop was over,some bad experiences but mostly good experiences. The important thing for me was that I had decided to start my own business though this didn’t happen for three more years.

  2. I have really enjoyed your posts about the 1977 Illustrator’s Workshop. You have so much great memorabilia. It has been fun reliving the experience.

    Bernie did have a Porsche…a little brown one that he gave Stephanie Barken and I a lift down to Tarrytown’s downtown area. Mark English was also in the passenger seat…so, that meant Stephanie and I were crammed into the tiny space behind their seats. I think we laughed all the way to the city. I was obviously a lot more limber than I am today and probably a few pounds thinner; not sure I would still fit in the back.

    I also remember that all the students bought those blue shirts that most of the instructors had and we all wore them on the last day of the workshop. It was all so much fun and the best experience.

    Thank you for sharing!!!
    Connie Connally

    • johndyess says:

      Thanks for the comment Connie. I was hoping you could share some of your memories. Some photos of you, Stephanie and Mike Foley will be appearing soon. I don’t have any photos of myself at the workshop. I have about three more posts to go and then I am going to write an epilogue about what happened to me following the workshop and about seeing Bernie and Mark English a few years ago.

  3. Patrick Pollei says:

    I was in that 1977 class. It changed my life. I also remember the blue shirts.

    Those guys were our heroes. They were the best in the industry at that time, and were treated like rock stars. We all wanted to be exactly like them. Bob Peak was the biggest influence in me getting into what I’m doing now. I remember the heat too. No air conditioning in the dorms. I remember the night all the lights went out and we were in the center area of the dorm. All singing and having a blast. I drank a lot of white wine during that month there.

    But the one thing I do remember, is all the great artists and illustrators that were the students.

    I have several photos from that trip, and look at them every now and then to take a trip back in time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Patrick, I’m glad you found my blog posts on the 1977 Illustrators workshop and that it brought back good memories. I would love to see some of your photos.You can find my work at thanks for your comments.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’ll pull together some and send them to you. They were all in slide format, and just recently I scanned every one them. Take care.

  4. eric fowler says:

    This really jump-started my career and began a life long friendship with the great Bernie Fuchs.I made friends with several other aspiring illustrators that year including Anita Kunz, Reagan Wilson, Steve Hall and Mike Smollin amongst others. I am also proud as Hell that the Six all made it into the Hall of Fame!

    • johndyess says:

      Eric,The workshop,in many ways, was a turning point in my life and career and certainly was a great experience for me. Many of my illustrations are on this blog along with the work of my St.Louis friends. Currently I am creating paintings of monster fish for the National Geographic Museum in Washington D.C. I went the see artist representative Randy Mulvey while attending the workshop and they represented me for several years until Randy died. One of the salesman at Mulvey Associates got me work in Field and Stream magazine in 1978 and that led to other assignments in most of the outdoor magazines, drawing fish. I’m not a fisherman but I guess I’m good at drawing fish. You can view my illustrations at I hope you keep in touch.

  5. Hello John!
    What a treat to stumble upon your blog today. I attended the Workshop Seminar in 1977, but the full workshop the following year. Yikes I have some of the very same photos you’ve posted here! How I remember standing outside with Bob Heindel, and Fred Otnes. I remember someone asking about “work habits” as a free-lancer. Bob Heindel looked up at the sky, then down, saying: “..why would you want to be inside on a day like this? I work at night…” Hardly a beautiful summer day has gone by since, that I haven’t thought of that.

    I had just graduated from art school at Boston University in 1976, and had saved every penny I could muster to go to the Workshop. As you say, a life changing experience, and one that gave me the confidence and encouragement to set out into the world of free-lance illustration. I would enjoy the next thirty years as a hard working illustrator.

    Every now and then, I’d cross paths with Mike Smollin, or Berne Fuchs at the Society. 2011(?) was the last time I showed a painting in an Illustrators Annual show, and we had a brief and touching memorial to Bernie Fuchs. As I stood in the gallery, a flood of memories came back to me….

    I no longer illustrate. I, like many of my painting contemporaries, have moved into fine art. I now produce works for several galleries in Lambertville, NJ, New Hope, PA, and Spring Lake, NJ.

    Can it really be that this was 40 years ago??

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks Dave for the comment on my blog post about the Illustrators workshop.In 1977 I had been a professional illustrator for 16 years and at that time was employed as an illustrator at Maritz Motivation Company. Things were going well for me then.My illustrations had appeared in the New York Society of Illustrators and CA magazine. I was having a lot of fun.I got a illustration rep in New York City during the workshop and got my first assignment for Field and Stream magazine.After the workshop things changed-I was divorced-remarried-had my fourth child and in 1980 went into business for myself.
      My last Illustration assignment was for the National Geographic Museum,for the exhibit “Monsterfish” I did four illustration of river “Monsterfish” which were printed on 4′ x 8′ acrylic panels and backlit. All four were accepted in the 2016 Communication Arts Illustration Annual. Unfortunately I didn’t get any assignments for being in the annual. That’s the market today. In the past I got nice assignments for being in illustration annuals. Most of my illustrator friends have become fine art painters as have I.I have taught part time at a St.Louis Community College at Meramec for 20 years and after this semester I’m done teaching. This semester I’m teaching illustration, but probably most students will become graphic designers. My wife is a Graphic designer.I also taught at Washington University School of Art, part time, in the 1970’s
      If you have time check out my website Keep in touch. I’ll look you up online. Send my a link to your work through my email on my website.
      Thanks again for reaching out to me.
      John Dyess

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