Perhaps you’ve met Maira before? Perhaps she’s your idol too? Delicious thought! If she is, we are soul mates because Maira is a rare and special treat. Where shall I begin?
Maira is a New York artist, author, illustrator, writer, designer, photo-essayist, philosopher, poet. She does memoir, cartoon, essay, documentary, travelogue, inner monologue. She is witty and funny and quirky and cunning. She is whimsical and compassionate and delightfully crazy. She is quite simply original and brilliant. I am in love with her which is why I gush.
I will stop gushing and let Maira speak for herself.
Maira likes bunnies. This is one of her covers for The New Yorker.
She also loves dogs, and in my book, anyone and everyone who is besotted with dogs is already on their way to Heaven (if there is one).
Does this remind you of any dog in particular? Me too! I am going to make Barney a crown of leaves and flowers and feathers. I will show you another time.
Here are some more of Maira’s dogs.
Maira is into more than bunnies and dogs. She asks all the BIG questions. What is happiness? What is identity? Why do we fight wars? Why do we die?
She also makes statements that seem inconsequential and then you realise she is saying something deeply consequential. Like what is the point of anything?
Maira also romps through history like no other historian I’ve ever known. Tolstoy! Jefferson! Lincoln! She has a very different view of historical happenings!
I keep Maira’s book, ‘The Principles of Uncertainty’ beside my bed like a Bible. I dip into it when I get weighed down with the world. Maira destroys my sense of self-importance and reminds me of the disguises we all wear. She strips away the layers to display our shared human skin. How could you not love her? And gush a little?
Maira has written and illustrated too many books for me to mention. Except ‘Beloved Dog’ which I am about to buy. And maybe ‘Girls Standing on Lawns’. And ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’.
Quite simply, Maira makes me happy. And in this often dark and crazy world, how many people can do that? How many people can reach right into your heaped-up little heart and connect? Truly connect?
This is why Maira is my creative idol. She helps me see the world afresh. She anchors me. She inspires me. What a gift! What a joy!
And here is my idol in her studio. You can find her at www.mairakalman.com
She has also done a funny, wonderful Ted Talk at www.http://www.ted.com/talks/maira_kalman_the_illustrated_woman