Mordicai Gerstein: The Man Who Walked Between The Towers

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As a small child Mordicai Gerstein dreamed of being an artist. He spent much of his youth painting and exploring art in Los Angeles and eventually went to the Chouinard Institute of Art. After moving to New York Gerstein began designing and directing animated television commercials. This was a natural outlet for his creative talents since he already had a love for cartoons, especially Bugs Bunny. He explains, “Even a thirty second commercial involved drawing and painting, as well as storytelling, not to mention actors, music and sound effects.”
In 1970 Gerstein met a young mystery writer named Elizabeth Levy and began illustrating her children's book series, Something Queer is Going On. Thirty years later they are still collaborating on the
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I think that making books, or any kind of art, might also be like mining. The artist digs into his or her life and imagination and never knows what they'll find. That's the adventure.”
In 2004 Gerstein's talent for illustrating children's books was recognized when he was awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal for The Man Who Walked between the Towers.
Gerstein is not only an accomplished children's book author and illustrator, he is a painter, sculptor and award-winning designer and director of animated films. Morticai Gerstein lives in western Massachusetts with his wife, Susan Yard Harris, who is also an illustrator.
Discussion/ Display of Art Elements
Mordicai’s breathtaking illustrations were inspired by the depth of the amazing World Trade Center. Shifting visual perspectives throughout the book give readers a dizzying sense of the height of the towers and the distance between them, while two fold-out pages dramatically extend this sense at the story’s climax. The pen-and-ink lines perfectly convey a feeling of walking on air, while the oil paintings that comprise the backdrop create a sense of time and place, from the dark blue, green, and purple hues of the New York City skyline at night to the light grays, blues, and whites of the daytime sky. Every page is ingeniously composed to help tell this unusual story, and
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