Maurice Sendak passed away on Tuesday. When I got home last nite I was sitting on my bed reading, and I looked over at my nightstand... It's cluttered; an Ipod dock that never stops playing music, a lamp, a handful of small notebooks, sketchbooks, and pens and pencils, a candle, and a small doll of Max... The Wild Thing.
It got me thinking about his work and the influence it had on me.
As a kid of the late 1970's/early 1980's his books were a staple in my local library, and school library. Some of my earliest memories of books were of "A Night In The Kitchen", "The Nutshell Library" and of course "Where the Wild Things Are" Not to mention the animation work he did with Sesame Street, and the "Really Rosie" film...
In 1993 when I really decided to start looking into puppetry as a life (or lifestyle I suppose) I spend many a paycheck at the bookstores acquiring all kinds of art books; collections, how-to books, biographies, etc - on puppets, puppeteers, and artists and film makers I was interested. I built up quite a library myself, and still am doing so.
One of the books I bought early on, summer of '94 in fact, was "The Art of Maurice Sendak". I remember working in a plaza in Connecticut called Corbin's Corner at a coffee shop called The Coffee Company, and walking over to the bookshop there (Walden Books, I think) and seeing the book in the bargain bin. Without thinking about it twice I grabbed it and went back to the coffee shop. In-between customers I read the whole book in a day. And the pictures... Man, not just of his art... But of his studio space, his life... I knew that was awesome and inspiring.
Even recently I was blown away again by what Spike Jonez did with the film of "Where The Wild Things Are"...
So I want to thank you Mr. Sendak. For your work, your inspiration to me.