• Steven Heller

The Daily Heller: Henrik Drescher’s One-of-a-Kinds Keep Him Afloat

Henrik Drescher says his illustration career has pretty much disappeared: “I didn’t leave it—it left me (I’m always open to working but I get no offer).” He is, however, publishing some kid’s books, including one titled Thumbshiners, which is being released by a Norwegian publisher. He hopes it will eventually make its way here.

“As you probably know I’ve always made non-illustration work (fine art … a term I hate). In fact, my main interest has always been making non-illustration pictures and book works. The illustration spills from this interest; while living in China I began working seriously on painting.” Since returning to the States, “I’ve been selling these. That, combined with teaching a few classes, is what keeps me afloat.”

From an exhibition at Jack Fischer in San Francisco, here are some of the things Drescher made while living in China. This year he has been making large watercolors, which are non-figurative color indulgences, and that’s where he says his energy mostly goes now. Also, “I’ve been pretty active—a collector has commissioned me to create one large one-of-a-kind notebook per year. I’m now into my second year of that project. The idea is that the books are actually folios that bind into a book, which can be dismantled and framed if the occasion arises. They are loosely based on themes—one is ‘fulfillment center collapse,’ which comes from a headline about a wall collapsing at an amazon fulfillment center.”

Drescher was taken with the idea of “consumption being thought of as fulfillment.” The commissioned notebook that’s devoted to this is mainly an inventory of the stuff of our dreams and nightmares. This work is, he says, “a nice change from the (inscrutable) significance-packed world that my other work occupies.”

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