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JD Salinger
posted: January 28, 2010
News that the reclusive author J.D. Salinger passed away sent me back through the years in several ways. This is a sketch from a a couple of years ago for a job that died a premature death. The writer was sent out to do a "Finding Salinger" story - a task at which he thankfully failed. I remember thinking that Mr. Salinger chose not to be a public figure, and how it was offensive that somebody was out to find him simply because there was no other news going on. In today's culture of everybody being famous on Youtube, twitter, blogs(!), and the internets in general, Salinger's one and out strategy is particularly refreshing. He said what he had to say, and that was it.


Twenty or so years ago my brother Kyle and I had a strange hobby. We had these great maps that showed every road - paved, dirt, abandoned. Some even cut through people's yards. We'd spend a weekend trying to figure out how to get from the Massachusetts/New Hampshire border all the way up to the US/Canada border using only dirt roads. We had a Suzuki Sidekick, a case of beer (Hey, we were in the woods) and a box full of heavy metal tapes. Often, we'd pass through Cornish, NH, Salinger's hometown, and a couple of times I imagined I spotted him ducking behind a tree or a rock. Of course, it wasn't him and it didn't matter. Those trips were like our little mountain version of Holden Caulfield's journey. But with a Metallica soundtrack and Budweiser.

12 comments
Kyle T Webster January 28, 2010
Dale, that's a fine portrait.
Victor Juhasz January 28, 2010
Woah, Dale, that's a very sensitive, beautiful, stylized portrait.
Alan Witschonke January 28, 2010
Great drawing (right down to the herringbone pattern) and a great story.
randy enos January 28, 2010
A honey of a portrait...clean and right on the noggin.
jason@infiltratemedia.co.za January 29, 2010
"Those trips were like our little mountain version of Holden Caulfield's journey. But with a Metallica soundtrack and Budweiser." There's a book in there, sir, and I'd be the first to buy it! I think we could draw parallels with the way Bill Watterson's chosen to be out of the limelight. Often it's these awesome characters who really want nothing to do with the world (of celebrity). Starkly contrasted with current celeb 'culture' and the desperate paparazzi fodder we are all exposed to today. Ok... too much coffee...!
nwright January 29, 2010
Dale- Ihope that you plan on doing a series of these fine sketches- the look is very unique and refreshing. Best. n Hey- I'm moving much closer this year. K'port, ME
Edel Rodriguez January 29, 2010
Nice portrait Dale, I like what's happening with the odd proportions of the ear, eyes, and so on. Have you seen Lucien Freud's early drawings? Reminds me of them.
Drew Friedman January 29, 2010
Beautiful. I love your pencil work!
Dale Stephanos January 29, 2010
Hey thanks for the kind words everybody. Jason, good point regarding BillWatterson. There's a book out now, I think it's called Chasing Calvin and Hobbes? Anyway, the author's mission was to find Bill Watterson and get the interview nobody has gotten yet. I put the book down about a third of the way through. Not because it wasn't any good, but because I'd rather accept Watterson's art as he intended, and I don't really need more than that. Same with Salinger. Nick, they all start out like this, so I guess there is a "series". Dress warm up there. Edel, I love Freud's early work. There's an honesty there that I feel is lost in his layers of paint. But man, those paintings are incredible. As for the odd proportions, those are the things I usually end up "fixing" towards the finish. It's hard to just leave things alone. Drew, right back at you. Your authors post is incredible.
Victor Juhasz January 29, 2010
"As for the odd proportions, those are the things I usually end up "fixing" towards the finish. It's hard to just leave things alone." With all due respect, it's those wonderful odd proportions that make the drawing special. Once we start "thinking" the drawing and "fixing" is when we often lose that sense of playful specialness. JMHO.
Dale January 29, 2010
Amen Victor!
peter cusack February 1, 2010
ohhh sooo great . . . yeah i see what Edel is saying about the LF drawings. I never tire of enjoying just a straight up solid drawing.
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