About the artist
Bob Ziering lives in New York City and draws everyday. The work in his studio had always been balanced between his great passion for pastels and his commissioned illustration projects. Now retired from the illustration business, he fully devotes his studio time to expressing and examining his personal visions. These long-term explorations have resulted in a large body of work, several series and many diverse themes: Twilight of the Gorilla had its first exhibition in New York at Central Park Zoo in 1994, and has subsequently been exhibited in Chicago at The Lincoln Park Zoo, and most recently, at The Butler Institute Of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio in 2017. Rembrandt: 40 Years of a Face and Rembrandt and The Jews of Jodenbreestraat, explore, in pastel, the Dutch artist’s face over a period of 40+ years, as well as the remarkable faces and studies of his Jewish neighbors in seventeenth century Amsterdam. Bob’s lifelong interest in African tribal art resulted in a series of drawings interpreting two thousand year old Nigerian terra cotta sculptures entitled Nok, Nok. These were exhibited at the Tambaran Gallery and the Amyas Naegele Gallery in New York. An early drawing group of erotic works, titled Secret Sex, was presented in a one-man exhibition at The Leslie Lohman Museum in NYC. US Presidents and The Gym, My Models And Me were both exhibited in 2016 at the Leslie-Lohman Prince Street Gallery, SOHO.
Illustration was the mainstay for his career for more than forty years. His individual style and use of line have been well-documented and his work has been seen in print ads as well as video productions all over the world. His client list includes many of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as cultural institutions such as The Metropolitan Opera, The New York City Opera, The Paul Taylor Dance Group and Cirque du Soleil. His work for these companies and many others has earned him several ANDY awards, the highest honor awarded to commercial illustrators. His art has appeared in exhibitions, competitions and publications from New York to Japan. Many of these illustrations have been exhibited at The Society of Illustrators where Bob has had two one man shows. Bob was one of the founding members of the Graphic Artist’s Guild, a vital resource for all commercial artists, designers, art directors and clients.
Bob Ziering was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1932. According to his mother, he began life “drawing in the womb”. It certainly may be true for it seems that once he arrived, drawing became his life’s ambition. One poignant event Ziering recounts from childhood places him outside a Brooklyn movie theatre drawing the broadside characters from Walt Disney’s Snow White. The manager was so impressed with what he saw that the young artist was ushered into the theatre to see the show free of charge. And so, his talent was noticed and commented on even as a very young child and his early life was defined by support and an encouragement to hone his skills.
He first seriously studied art at the unique High School Of Music and Art in New York City. That was followed by further studies at New York University under the guidance of Hale Woodrugh, William Baziotes and Carl Podzus among others. After completing his Bachelors degree as well as earning a NY state teachers license, Ziering was encouraged by teachers and friends to develop a portfolio and pursue a path in illustration. He first chose to enlist in the US Air Force where as an enlisted man and later Lieutenant, he served as a Basic Training instructor. Bob acted as the base artist, illustrating training aids, and books and was commissioned to do a series of portraits of the base’s senior officers. Upon completing his military service he set out to study further elements of graphic design and illustration problem-solving with Ivan Chermayeff and Bob Gill at The School of Visual Arts in New York.
Two years later, after apprenticing at various New York “art studios”, his first serious illustration commision arrived from Reader’s Digest. Bob at this time had made a number of industry contacts. An owner of one of the art studios saw in Bob a curious blend of both talented artist and charismatic salesman. He offered him a partnership and for the next five years Bob acted as an artists rep, as well as an artist himself for Rahl Studios. At Rahl he earned the street credibility necessary in the business. His daily pounding of the pavement to promote other illustrators and photographers (e.g. Saul Leiter), and at the same time building his own illustration portfolio provided him with an invaluable understanding of the business, all of which would help immensely in his later career.
Bob is a member of The Pastel Society of America.
He has taught Commercial Art as a visiting Professor in New York at The School of Visual Arts, The Fashion Institute of Technology and Pratt Institute.