Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Jared Rogness | E-Chicken Extraordinaire

Copyright © Jared Rogness. All rights reserved.

Whatever else may be said of teaching, it passes like a high speed train and carries ones life along with it.

My first college-level teaching position began 40 years ago, which means that I've just concluded my eightieth semester. In each of those years, I've worked with about 150 students, sometimes more. There was a time, I like to think, when I could recognize the names of all of them, usually because I remembered their work. Despite moving from school to school, many I can still recall, and there are some I continue to hear from.

Beginning in the late 1990s, for example, I had the memorable opportunity to work with a talented young illustrator named Jared Rogness (BFA 2003). Most likely, I doubt if I taught him a thing. He was one of those "driven" enthusiasts for pen-and-ink drawing who had probably been drawing nonstop since early childhood (a species now close to extinction). As an undergraduate, he was an editorial cartoonist for the student newspaper (he called himself "e-chicken"), for which he was doing professional work that was amazingly original, intelligent and of course well-drawn.

Years later, after somehow surviving the ordeal of making a living while continuing to do things of quality, he settled in California, working as a storyboard illustrator for Hollywood, while making imaginative comics. Reproduced above is a black-and-white drawing he made recently, in advance of his current major project, the first installment of a new creator-owned comic, titled The Knightmare of Nabokov.

I still recall so many drawings he made over the years. There was a period of time, for example, when I was the art director of what was then a small but widely-known magazine (a National Magazine Award winner), admired in those days for the quality of its artwork as well as for its writing. It was my good luck (and that of the magazine) to be able on occasion to hire Jared Rogness to illustrate some of the short fiction. He produced the most astonishing illustrations, some of which can still be seen on his current web portfolio. Two of those pieces are shown below.

Copyright © Jared Rogness. All rights reserved.
Copyright © Jared Rogness. All rights reserved.