Sketchbook Stories :: Stephen Kroninger

It’s taken me a while to write this Sketchbook Story because I wasn’t quite sure I would be able to find all the words to express my admiration for Stephen.

Stephen was my first illustrator “crush”. When I was a junior in college I had an assignment to bring in examples of living illustrators that I admired and Stephen was the first on my list (to be honest I can’t even remember who the other two folks were). At the time I was working purely in a collage style and was looking to other collage artist for inspiration, I just loved Stephen’s work and found him so inspiring. So, I was coxed by my illustration instructor to call and talk to him. I’m happy to say I was able work up the nerve to make that call. Stephen was super funny and charismatic on the phone and somehow during the conversation I managed to convince him to take me on as an intern.

So, for the rest of my junior and senior year once a week I made the 2 hour trip from Philly to NYC to go to his studio in the West Village and work for him. It was my first real NYC experience!! I swept his floors, organized his files and just got to be around while he worked.

Stephen tooked me under his wing and I tagged along whenever I could. I went to meetings, gallery and museum exhibits with him and his wife. I had the honor of meeting some of his editors, art directors and many of his talented friends, as well as, being one of the first few that held his twin baby girls when they were born.

It was an amazing experience and I tried to asorbed everything I possible could while I was with him. Stephen was the person that first introduced me to NPR, political art, ebay, George Grosz, Groucho Marx and of course Dean Martin (he has an incredible collection of memorabilia). I wanted to be just like him. Live in the West Village create meaningful art, wear only black, the whole thing!!

Stephen’s editorial illustrations have appeared in nearly every major newspaper and magazine in the United States, as well as in many publications around the world. He is a regular contributor to Time, Newsweek, The New York Times and The New Yorker.

His work was the subject of an exhibit at the MoMA. AND it was the only time the museum devoted a one-person show to an illustrator! Pretty cool, huh!? Stephen’s collage art can be found in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute and he’s also created digital animation for an exhibit at the Whitney Museum.

Stephen’s is a participant in the MoMA’s Family Education program and is a lecturer in their Conversation with Contemporary Artist series as well as a guest lecturer at universities and art schools around the country. He’s active in the NY Metro area in a wide range of education programs, from workshops in elementary schools to the Art Directors Club’s program for inner-city high school students. He has been active in Scholastic’s program, serving both as a judge for and as a keynote speaker for their National Student Art & Writing Awards.

An all around pretty amazing artist & illustrator!

Here is Stephen Kroninger Sketchbook Story ::

SK: My wife and I have been going out to hear Barbara Carroll many times over the years. First at the Oak Room in the Algonquin Hotel for Sunday brunch and later at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola at Lincoln Center. Our two daughters now attend with us and have become great fans of her music as well. This collage is of her Trio which includes Jay Leonhart (bass), Alvin Atkinson (drums) with special guest Ken Peplowski (tenor sax & clarinet).

SK: In recent years I’ve been working on a loose series of New York City images.  Scenes of people on St. Marks Place, outside Barney’s, Washington Square Park, Grace Church, Grand Central Station etc. For this work I decided to go indoors. 

SK: I began by doing a series a rapid character sketches throughout one of the Trio’s date’s at Dizzy’s. My wife took a series of 150 iPhone captures for me to use as reference.

SK: What I love about collage is that it’s largely improvisational. Ms. Carroll’s music is as well. For this piece I worked to a number of her cds including “How Long Has This Been going On” and “Something To Live For” which were both recorded at Dizzy’s Club. 

SK: All of the pieces are scissored from magazines. I glue the cuttings to a piece of white Strathmore 4 ply museum board.


Here’s where you can find Stephen Kroninger ::


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