Writers paying tribute to him after his death have described him as "dream weaver, tale spinner, portrayer of visions, interpreter of the human spirit"; "had an unusual talent for reaching both kids and adults".
In another tribute article by a friend of McDermott's, Doug Cushman, after recounting some happy times together in Paris....
"But most of all he was a storyteller. He was one of the few artists living that continued the venerable tradition of passing on the old stories from generation to generation. He captured the heart and soul of each myth he illustrated. His writing process was jotting down a few lines of the myth and then walking around the room reciting them over and over again, changing the words slightly here and there and listening to them until they was distilled down to only a few, grasping the heart of the myth in its simplest form. Then he’d create the art, borrowing symbols and images from the myth’s culture. But there would always be some part of Gerald in there, some wink or nod that said, “This is serious stuff, but not too serious. Let’s have some fun.”Gerald McDermott was born in Detroit, Michigan. His gravitation to art came early. At age 4 his parents, surprised by his blossoming artistic ability enrolled him in classes for children at the Detroit Institute of Arts. The rest of his education and career is outlined in a Profile piece by Priscilla Moulton.
He married fellow artist, Beverly Brodsky, in 1969; shortly after after they moved to the South of France for some years. McDermott was avidly interested in world mythologies. He created animated short films based on folklore, became a friend and colleague of mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell, eventually he became the first fellow of the Joseph Campbell Foundation.
Books written by Gerald McDermott include: Anansi the Spider: A Tale from Ashanti; Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest; Arrow to the Sun: A Tale from the Pueblo; and Daughter of Earth. All include McDermott’s super illustrations, typically dominated by bright, stylized forms, and inspired by indigenous art. One obituary tells that, “his grasp of the cultural heritage behind his stories was impeccable, yet his books were never weighed down by his depth of knowledge. Every story is distilled to its essence; each one has a vein of humor that makes it accessible to even the youngest readers. And his artwork! Always stunning.”
A quick look at a 12 noon version of his natal chart. No birth time is available so Moon and ascendant will not be as shown.
A Grand Trine links the generational trine between Uranus and Neptune with Venus, planet of the arts, all in Earth signs. This manifests in his creativity, the blend of Neptune and Uranus (new ways of looking at old stories) linked to his talent for painting. Saturn and Jupiter conjoined in Taurus (ruled by Venus) reflect his work(Saturn) in the publication of many books(Jupiter). His gravitation to illustrate myths of other nations might be represented by Mars in Sagittarius (the foreign travel sign)in helpful sextile to his natal Sun.
A few examples of his art from his book covers. At YouTube there are several examples of his short animated films based on the book illustrations.
|When Pluto wrongly takes Proserpina to be his bride in the Underworld, Ceres, mother of Proserpina and goddess of the Earth, withdraws into a cave to mourn and refuses to permit crops to grow.|