• Steven Heller

Art Spiegelman’s Comix Window

New York’s illustrious High School of Art and Design is the breeding ground for many of today’s comic and graphic artists. Their annual event celebrating creativity, entrepreneurship, and technology — in cartooning and animation and beyond — Fanfaire NYC returns on February 16th and 17th.

Comic Achievement

The event also focuses on the High School of Art and Design’s comics graduates, including Neal Adams, Larry Hama, Michael Maddi, Stefan Pokorny, Robert Gennari, and Al Diaz (over 125 creators will showcase their work) and the comics genre in general. The main speaker on Sunday, Art Spiegelman, has created a permanent stained glass installation titled “It Was Today, Only Yesterday (A Window of Time).”

Spiegelman will discuss: “A kid from Rego Park obsessed with becoming a comic book artist and returning to his high school 47 years later to put together a glass mural that illustrates the process of becoming an artist through past, present, and future work. Of a kid artist becoming an artist in the world.”

Visit the High School of Art and Design at 245 East 56th Street (between Second and Third avenues). The event opens at 10 a.m. on Sunday, February 17 with Spiegelman’s talk at 11:30 a.m. on the 5th Floor. Below is his statement of purpose.

The High School of Art and Design as Inspiration

It Was Today, Only Yesterday—a Window of Time.

Everything I know I learned from comics. They were my window onto the world from the time they first imprinted on me as a pre-literate five year old. My obsessive interest in cartooning was nurtured at the High School of Art and Design (class of 1965), and when a chance came to return the favor for new generations of students, I leaped at it through this window.

Stained glass windows, after all, were among the very first comics in the centuries before they invented newsprint. Usually they told the story of some Superhero who could walk on water and turn it into wine. Though my interest in theology and superheroes per se is quite limited, I remain inspired by the idea that comics are a way to turn Time into Space.

As students and faculty walk through the high school corridor that overlooks the cafeteria, they can see and be seen, moving back and forth between Yesterday and Tomorrow in a work about Work. It embeds the institution’s history and values—as well as my own—in the stories of this building, and embodies the idea that Art—like a school cafeteria—is a site for Communication as well as Communion.

Art Spiegelman’s stained glass window at the High School of Art and Design

Art Spiegelman’s stained glass window at the High School of Art and Design

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