Friday, November 25, 2005
"You'll have to speak up"
"...my hearing's not too good anymore." When I first asked Lowell Hess if he would mind answering some questions about his career he gratiously offered to let me drop by that afternoon.
"Actually, I'm calling from Canada, Mr. Hess, I don't think I can make it there this afternoon."
"Well," he replied, " we're leaving here in January. Moving out, so.."
Lowell Hess is 84. I didn't feel it would be appropriate to ask, but the reason for a move at that age seems obvious. Hess has lived in this house a long time. "The oldest house in town", he states matter-of-factly.
I ask if he still does work for Graphics3, the greeting card company that was the focus of the latter part of his career. "No..."
Does he still enjoy drawing or painting for pleasure?
"Well, I have Parkinson's. There's no point trying to draw when your hands won't stop shaking."
I worry that I've taken too much of Hess' time so I tell him thanks for speaking with me at such length. I ask if he has access to the internet, explain that he could see these posts online.
"You just write it down and mail it to me. You have my address?" Yes, I say, and recite it back.
Ehh... if there's one thing I could add, " says Hess. "Tell them to approach every job with enthusiasm. One thing I always did, no matter whether it paid well or not, I tried to be enthusiastic about every one of them."
"Mr Hess, I just want you to know what an honour it was to speak with you, and to let you know that there are a lot of people out there, a lot of working professionals, who remember your work and who are still influenced by it. You've been a big influence on a lot of illustrators. Its great work."
"Well", says Hess, "you've made my day."