Marshall Arisman was born in Jamestown, New York, on December 21, 1937. After growing up on a dairy farm, Arisman studied advertising art at the Pratt Institute, graduating in 1960 where he also received an Ida Gaskell Grant to travel and study in Europe. He is an American illustrator, painter, story-teller and educator. He has illustrated books, including:
- Frozen Images (1974),
- Fitcher’s Bird (1983),
- American Psycho (1991) by Bret Easton Ellis (featured above).
Arisman’s illustrations and paintings are characteristically described as being dark, with expressionistic depictions of figures in tortured postures; including torn flesh, blood, and violent forces that recur throughout his works; often depicted with smeared brush strokes against black shadowy backgrounds.
Arisman also created a multimedia installation work entitled The Last Tribe (2009) which was an exploration on the theme of nuclear annihilation. The work incorporates multi-media including painting, sculpture and video. Permanent collections that include Arisman’s work includes:
- The Brooklyn Museum,
- The Smithsonian; and
- The Museum of American Art.
His show Sacred Monkeys was the first American exhibit to be shown in mainland China. In 2008, Arisman released a CD recording of his own stories, Cobalt Blue. Many have commented on his ‘dark’ work and in response, Arisman has been quoted as commenting about his art as “Every gallery tells me to quit illustration,” but up until now, he has not.
Never give up – is the motto.