Artist and Design Consultant.
Gerald McDermott is an internationally acclaimed author and illustrator who has created numerous books and animated films for children. The New York Times has said of him: “(He) is not only a picture- book artist of the first rank, but also one of our most gifted retellers of myth and folktale.”
McDermott’s rare ability to evoke the power of myth through simple language and brilliant art has earned him many honors, including the Caldecott Medal for Arrow to the Sun, a Pueblo Myth, and Caldecott honors for Anansi the Spider, a tale from Africa, and Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest.
McDermott began studying art when he was admitted to class at one of the nation’s finest museums, the Detroit Institute of Art, when he was just four years old. He continued pursuing his passion for the visual arts at Cass Tech, a public high school for the gifted with an art curriculum based on Bauhaus principles. Upon graduation, McDermott was awarded a National Scholastic scholarship to New York’s Pratt Institute.
Mr. McDermott was the primary education director for the Joseph Campbell Foundation. McDermott’s book, Musicians of the Sun, a parable of the artist’s journey based on an Aztec myth, has brought recognition from AOSA, a national organization of music educators.
McDermott was named Charter Member of the AOSA National Advocacy Council. In bestowing this honor, it was remarked, “Beyond the obvious appeal to our imaginations, what is it that makes Gerald’s stories and illustrations so magnetizing? Is it his sensitive use of language, the simple beauty of the rhythm of his text? Is it the extensive research he does into the symbolism and background of the culture from which the story comes? Is it the emotional reaction we have to each book’s carefully chosen palette of colors? Or is it his background as a filmmaker that enables his illustrations to dance across the printed page? It could be any of these things – it is most likely a combination of ALL these things, that makes Gerald’s work what it is.”
In addition to being the first Fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation, McDermott was also a leader at ‘A Mythological Toolbox’, a workshop at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. Initiated by Campbell, the annual retreat brought people together to explore the mythological aspects of their lives. McDermott was also invited by Seymour Papert to participate in an MIT Media Lab international conference attended by over 200 participants from 60 emerging nations. They inaugurated the 2B1 Foundation, an organization devoted to bringing children together via the World Wide Web
He was born in Michigan, lived in France and on the East coast. He also lived in Los Angeles while devoting his time to creating his best work and contributing to this series, “Invitational Books”, with his unique ability to depict the moment of the story on the page in magical fine lines. He has created a unique visual environment that encourages creativity in all who work with these books.