When Edgar asked me to illustrate the text of The Bronfman Haggadah, which at that point he had been writing for several years, my first response was: “But I’m not an illustrator!”
“Good. I don’t want an illustrator. I want you to do it,” was his swift reply.
And so began a project that was the opportunity of a lifetime. An artist does not often get the chance to have complete and full creative freedom to do what they want with something that is so meaningful — both in a personal and spiritual sense.
Not once was there anyone looking over my shoulder trying to edit what I was doing. Certainly not Edgar or even Rizzoli, the publisher.
This project was a chance to actually branch out and use all of my creative juices. And it was a wonderful, wonderful thing to do at this point in my life as an artist. I’ve spent many years in my studio alone creating various bodies of work, so to finally have the opportunity to collaborate — with my husband no less — was a tremendous joy.
Looking back, Edgar’s request was truly a blessing in disguise. For an artist, the biggest challenges often yield work of a totally unforeseen — and remarkable — quality. I was continuously striving to present the material in the most stimulating ways possible. How would I keep adults interested? How do I encourage the children, who would be at the table for their first and tenth times alike, to open the Haggadah and to look forward to turning the page?
My new inhabitance of the mind of an illustrator was, as it turned out, something of a metamorphosis. It changed the way that I approached my art, the way I perceived the art world, and the way I presented my work.Visit Jan Aronson’s official website here.
Jan Aronson is the illustrator of the The Bronfman Haggadah published by Rizzoli. Born in New Orleans, New York-based artist Jan Aronson has had more than seventy solo and group exhibitions. Her work is included in many museum, corporate, and private collections, both nationally and internationally.
Aronson received a MFA from Pratt Institute in 1973 and began teaching soon after. For the past 23 years she has concentrated on her work in a studio in Long Island City. She is known for her nature inspired work that has taken her to Sinai, the Indian Himalayas, Patagonia, the Amazon, the American West, the beaches of Anguilla and the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu. She recently wrote a lecture entitled The Contemporary Portrait and presented it in various venues in the United States.
Aronson’s work has been reviewed in numerous periodicals and newspapers since she began her exhibition career in the mid-seventies.