Many an illustrator reaches a point in his career when financial reward and creative reward become mutually exclusive.
Murray Tinkelman reached that point about thirty years ago. In an interview in Illustration magazine #23 he told Dan Zimmer, "My whole feeling about art and illustration changed, really very dramatically, in the '80s. Before then I used to get nervous if the phone didn't ring, because I didn't have an agent; but in the '80s I got nervous if the phone DID ring, because I didn't want to do the jobs. I wasn't interested in the subject matter anymore. I became interested in going back to where I started as a little kid."
"I became interested in rediscovering cowboys and Indians, and airplanes and baseball, and all these prepubescent male fantasies. And ...it got me more entrepreneurial with my work. I could choose subject matter that I loved."
Enter Murray's Movie Monsters. "As a kid growing up in Brooklyn," Murray tells me, "we had a theatre... it wasn't even a second run movie house; it was more like a fifth run movie house."
"And it would show three movies that were maybe ten or fifteen years old, and ten cartoons and five serial chapters and give you a comic book... and all of that for a dime. At least once a month King Kong would be featured. King Kong is one of my favourite love story/monster stories/science fiction stories - it's just one of my favourite movies in the world, and it fed my love for black and white horror and monster films.
"The Invisible Man, The Wolfman, The Bride of Frankenstein, which is one of my favourite, favourite movies of all time and, in my humble (or not so humble) opinion is one of the two sequels in Hollywood history that actually better than the first film."
"And the first was good also. Frankenstein was a brilliant movie... but the Bride of Frankensein was just a tiny bit better."
Murray explains, "I really learned many years ago to be true to the dreams of my youth. The stuff I loved as a kid I love with absolutely the same intensity as an older person. I was gonna say "grown up" but I'm not sure about that."
"It's just great fun to pay homage to the memories of my misspent youth."
I asked Murray what his goal is in producing these works. I know that many of his series have appeared in gallery shows... are they intended to be works of "fine art"? He explains, "I don't have any financial pressure - I make a great salary as an educator - so I just pursue the subject matter that I love. But the terminology is really tricky; "fine art" vs "illustration" ... I think illustration is the most democratic of all artforms. Just to do it, show it and then put it back in your closet is not a satisfactory completion. So for me, the process of creating the work isn't truly completed until it's been published."
"The Movie Monster series have been in several shows, but it hasn't yet been published. I'm making attempts to see that that happens."
* See many more of Murray's Movie Monsters at Tinkelmanstudio.com
* Murray Tinkelman has won Gold Medals from The Society of Illustrators, The New York Art Directors Club and The Society of Publication Designers. He has over 200 Awards of Merit from The Society of Illustrators. Murray is the director of Hartford Art School’s limited-residency Master of Fine Arts in Illustration program.