Al Forster, “My Architecture in Perspective Experience”

Dear ASAI Membership,
Al at U of H '62
Al Forster at University of Houston in 1962
My wife and I just returned home to The Sea Ranch from a 5200 mile driving trip over 8 states, the focus of which was the yearly ASAI/AIP Conference, this year AIP 32, held in Houston, Texas.  For those who couldn’t make it this year and didn’t hear my story, I attended the University of Houston, College of Architecture in 1961, smack dab in the middle of Hurricane Carla.  It was at the U of H that I started my long journey in design and presentation drawing and, as fate would have it, here I was returning there, now 56 years later and at the tail end of Hurricane Harvey, to humbly accept the Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize just across town from where it all began for me.  It is the very best, professional honor an architectural illustrator can hope to be awarded.  I can only imagine myself there at school, the quiet but ambitious 17 year old with dreams of becoming an architect, utterly incapable of even hoping that such an honor could lay ahead for me. I mentioned to the crowd in attendance the night of the award presentation that it was so very special to speak to a gathering of renderers because virtually everyone there would know the effort and the struggle it takes to complete one of these art pieces we create, day after day, year on end for a lifetime.  Unlike the fine artist, our art has a responsibility, first and foremost, to depict and display the built environment as a product for sale in the very best light while engaging the viewer to join in the experience and visit this creation we have staged and arranged just for them. Each effort needs to be a homerun.  Some of them are not.  And so we fall short and we learn to be better at our craft over time.  If we are successful in that effort then we hope that it results in more work, better projects, involvement with bigger and more experienced firms and some success and recognition by our architectural purveyors and our peers.  And with all of that comes responsibility, the kind that can weigh you down and break you or the kind that can make this skill we’ve learned the impetus for a lifetime’s dedication to being the very best we can be at what we do. I have been so very fortunate to remain busy with wonderful clients and inspiring projects these last 5 decades.  I am proud and humbled now to be considered worthy of the Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize and to be able to share the stage with a distinguished and legendary group of my contemporaries who have won the award in year’s past.  For me it is a culmination of a lifetime of hard work and dedication to my craft and it is truly an honor and a thrill to receive.  As a member of ASAP and ASAI for some 22 years I have been presented with a professional forum to exhibit and compare the results of those projects alongside the best of the best in architectural illustration.  It seems, therefor, that I have spent this lifetime of mine chasing the perfect rendering.  I think I’ve come close two or three times but never quite there.  So I must continue the chase and hope for success one day.  The Ferriss Prize has convinced me I am on the right path and worthy of the pursuit…..and just in the nick of time!
AIP 32 Hugh Ferriss Award Winner
Al Forster accepting the Architecture in Perspective 32 Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize.
I salute this year’s class of fellow award winners and all the members at large.  It is an honor to be in the same company of people with such skill and talent.  I marvel at your work and seek it out as inspiration and example each time I begin a project.  I look through this year’s AIP 32 Catalogue and feel blessed to be included among such gifted and hard working illustrators. And from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all the dedicated people in ASAI who do all the heavy lifting behind the scenes in the day to day running of our organization and, especially, in the effort to put on a Conference each year.  Thank you Tina and your dear daughter Grace, special thanks to Corey and the hardworking Tiltpixel folks, the judges, the sponsors, the venues, certainly Frank, Steve and Jon, all the volunteers and helpers who always seem to go unnamed and everyone else I missed who did all that it took to arrange and execute this wonderful event.  You have made this an unforgettable experience for me and for my wife, Gayle.  Thanks to all. Finally, and not counting all the many dozens of illustrators who’s work has inspired me over my lifetime, I have dedicated this award to 5 people who got me to that podium;  Mr. Moore, my high school Mechanical Drawing teacher who’s class forever change the course of my life, my grandfather, Robert S. Anderson, who directed me towards architecture and gave me my first drafting tools, my dad, Al senior, who remains my true north, Doyle Jenkins, one of my U of H design and drawing instructors who sits on my shoulder each day of my life and does not allow me to settle for anything but my best effort and my dearest Gayle, without whom there would be no me! Most Sincerely,  Al Forster, Architectural Illustrator AL FORSTER Architectural Illustrator PO Box 326 The Sea Ranch, CA 95497 707.785.2184 Hoover Ext. 1 Gavin Hoover Int. 2 Gavin


View the Architecture in Perspective 32 Selected Artists


Member, Jane Grealy, wins “Drawing from Nature” Category from ArchiGraphicArts 2016-2017

Standing on my toes at our back fence, I sometimes chat with my neighbour Maria. I love her garden, the chaos at the back, the organized garden beds, and the bright red geraniums that ring her clothesline. Maria and her husband came from Italy after the second world war and with many other European migrants, they settled in our inner city suburb New Farm (in Brisbane, Australia). Maria is over eighty now and finds the house and garden harder to maintain since her husband died a year ago. I have learned more about her since she has allowed me to sit and sketch. Everything in the garden from the shed to the climbing frames for the beans has been constructed by Maria and her husband. No material is wasted, everything is recycled, found and reused. When Maria dies, the garden, sheds, everything will be lost. There is so much to draw, so much evidence of her and her husband’s life over the last sixty odd years. Drawing makes me really look, allows me to think, and particularly when I am sketching in Maria’s garden, makes me realize how tenuous life and our surrounds can be. Jane Grealy
Congratulations to long time member of ASAI, Jane Grealy of Australia, for winning the “Drawing from Nature” Category of the 2016-2017 ArchiGraphicArts competition. The international competition had 900 entries from 25 countries. Program partners of the competition include the Tchoban Foundation Museum for Architectural Drawing (Berlin), Moscow Union of Architects, Сhief Architect of Moscow Sergey Kuznetsov. The jury was compiled from respected members of the architectural community.
  • SERGEI TCHOBAN – Chairman of the Jury – architect, founder of the Tchoban Foundation Museum for Architectural Drawing, chief of the architectural bureau SPEECH (Russia) and nps tchoban voss (Germany)
  • SERGEY KUZNETSOV – Moscow: Architecture and Water Nomination     Curator – the chief architect of Moscow MINORU NOMATA – artist (Japan, Tokyo) MAXIM ATAYANTS – architect, professor of the Academy of Arts (St. Peterburg), chief of the «Maxim Atayants’ architectural studio» (Russia)
  • SERGEY ESTRIN – architect, artist, chief of the «Sergey Estrin’s architectural studio» (Russia)
  • MIKHAIL PHILIPPOV – architect, artist, chief of the «Mikhail Philippov’s architectural studio» (Russia)
  • ANDREY CHERNIKHOV – architect, Andrey Chernikhov Architecture & Design Studio founder (Russia)
  • EUGENIA MURINETS – Head of the Architectural Board Direction of Moscow
Nataliya ( ASAI member and award winner) attended and accepted award on my behalf. Natalyia in photo in white. Curator Ekaterina Shalina ArchiGraphicArts Curator in red.
Are you a member of ASAI and want to share news about an award you’ve received? Send us the information!

Protect Your Copyrights: Respond to this Library of Congress Survey

From the Illustrators Partnership REMINDER: Protect Your Copyrights: Respond to this Library of Congress Survey

Deadline: Next Tuesday, January 31. The survey is short. Only a few words to say about yourself and 3 questions to answer. And if you don’t have the time to write, you can copy and paste our suggestions. Please take a minute, go to this link and fill in the boxes.

A. In response to the 3 questions, here are some suggested answers.


B. In response to Item 4, you can upload additional comments as a pdf. Consider identifying yourself as a creator (and not a user) and make a personal statement: Date Librarian of Congress Dr. Carla Hayden Library of Congress 101 Independence Ave SE, Washington, DC 20540

I am a professional freelance artist and small business owner. I’ve been in business for ___ years. I specialize in _____. I am wholly responsible for all my business and overhead expenses. I pay my own insurance premiums and health care expenses. I fund my own retirement plans and have no other safety net. I earn my entire income from the licensing of my copyrighted work, so it is critical for my ability to stay in business that the US continue to provide creators with the full protections of existing copyright law. My copyrights are my work product and my work product is my livelihood. I have experienced massive copyright infringement for the last two decades, by publishers and “advocacy organizations” who claim reprographic royalties earned by my work, by publishers who engage in unauthorized sublicensing behind subscription walls, and by infringers who steal online images. The next Register should uphold Berne, and wholly support the efforts of illustrators to be safe-guarded by a functioning US visual art collecting society that protects the commerce of our secondary rights both domestically and overseas, and directs the secondary rights revenue stream of earned royalties to the illustrators who created the work.

Respectfully submitted, ____________________________________________________

If you’ve missed our previous alerts, here’s the story in a nutshell: Dr. Carla Hayden, the new Librarian of Congress, has fired the head of the Copyright Office and is now soliciting advice on the “knowledge, skills and abilities” people think the new Register should have. It has been widely reported that Dr. Hayden supports the agenda of the “open source” lobby. So if past is prologue, these anti-copyright interests will use this survey” to gin up an astroturf response from their supporters, then take the results to Congress to claim that the American people want work on the Internet to be free. To counter the lobbying tactics of Big Internet firms, creators must respond to this survey in force with a call to retain the full protections of copyright as provided for in  Article I Section 8 of the Constitution. PLEASE DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE DEADLINE. DO THIS TODAY. Please post or forward this artist alert to any interested party.

Lon Grohs, 2018 President

Please take a moment to congratulate ASAI’s 2018 President. Meet Lon Grohs of Chaos Group. “My mission is to help artists and designers create a better world – both real and imagined. Through a combination of executive leadership, public speaking and teaching, I’ve dedicated my career to enabling artists and designers with the information and technology they need. Because I believe our collective creativity will bring great things to our planet – and maybe even others. I have deep love and respect for the art of architectural illustration, and not only am I interested in preserving the founding principles of the ASAI, I believe I can help the organization continue to evolve and thrive.” Lon is an ASAI award-winning visual artist, CCO of Chaos Group and founder of Chaos Group Labs – a collaborative research and development hub, focused on GPU rendering, cloud rendering, and VR technology. Knowing the challenges faced by designers every day, Lon joined Chaos Group in 2011 with a passion to push technology to aid in artistry and design. Formerly Creative Director and a principal at Neoscape, Lon oversaw the studio’s visualization teams on multiple projects worldwide.

In Memoriam: Eric Brightfield

It is with the most heartfelt sense of loss, I share this recollection with ASAI members, colleagues and friends about the whirlwind we called Eric. His whirling world seemed to operate at 78 rpm, while the rest of us were sloshing along at 33 or 45 rpm. In all his activity and associations, he was a man of constant motion and energy; but in being engaged with him and revolving in his orbit, he was lovable in the process.  “Eric was easy to be around – he was so comfortable in his own skin. You never had to guess what he was up to, and he was always up to something, because he was right up front about sharing everything. Smart, funny. He lived life large” President Emeritus Henry Sorenson stated. Eric seemed to be devoid of filters, unbounded by convention, and seemingly unmindful of consequence. He was never at a loss for words, or opinion on any subject, or finding the humor in any situation, or extracting the most from the moment, while sharing the better parts of himself in unexpected ways. The unexpected was his forte, and he brought us all along for his ride. He was a persona one could not forget, and he added a spark and laughs and an alternate dimension to any gathering. His generosity, sometimes dis-arming, was also one his trademarks. Eric was multi-talented in his illustration, photography, graphic design, and image-making, among many abilities. “He was truly a gifted visionary artist that combined all of the best attributes in an architectural illustrator…he was truly a gifted visionary artist that combined all of the best attributes in an architectural illustrator” reflects David Csont. Noted P.E. Rael Slutsky, fellow Chicagoan, “Eric was valued and respected as Chicago’s pioneering – and preeminent – digital architectural illustrator who was always moving forward, always leading and always learning.” He saw opportunity for applying these skills in unusual ways, and created work (and revenue) for himself and his family and staff. He found old posters, including some old baseball posters (or created new ones), that he could likely sell for a good return on E-Bay. His hand would likely be in many fires, stoking the embers of many an idea to a most fruitful conclusion. He loved baseball and relished this year’s Cubs World Series victory. Always stoked with fan fervor, he had taken his two sons, Luke & Evan, to all the major ballparks in the country over the years; making for their unforgettable memories – a feat any father would envy. He trumpeted his sons’ abilities, and was proud that they could help him with various tasks at the office, including the recent use of drones to document sites for his projects. Eric was an inveterate photographer, and for many years had taken on himself the useful record-keeping task of photographing the awards ceremony of the ASAI banquets. After what can only be described as a first encounter, I bonded with Eric in Chicago during the 2002 AIP 17 conference, and during which I had piqued his interest in ASAI, the professional organization for illustrators. He soon thereafter became President, and had been a staunch supporter of the Society ever since. He went over the top, as every ASAI president has done, with arranging an outstanding AIP 21 Conference in 2006, the third in Chicago. From the elegant reception at his office, to Millennium Park, to Dirk Lohan’s office (where he had worked on staff), to seeing Bono & Oprah at a Mac Store’s Michigan Ave. and the AIP opening event at the Architecture Foundation Gallery, he proudly showed us Chicago. Raising more eyebrows, Eric triumphantly arrived at our first outdoor meeting on a Segway. Henry (and many others) “will never forget his tour to the city’s sights…riding a Segway.” He also arranged for a memorable walking and sketching tour of Oak Park, with stops to Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio and many of his other houses. “We enjoyed mementoes of that wonderful time at AIP 21 in Chicago a decade ago, under his ebullient presidency”, recalls Steve Oles. The elegant banquet at one of Chicago’s historic Banquet halls, President Eric, handsome and dashing in black tie tuxedo, only thinly disguised himself when he threw a white towel over his forearm and nonchalantly, but briefly, began serving as a waiter, drawing a huge laugh from the packed room. In his initial remarks at the banquet, he could not restrain himself in his own edited re-telling (and at nearly every subsequent conference) the stories of “The Walk” & “The Change” from the Providence AIP 19 Conference – which had brought him into the circuit of ASAI. During the seminars hosted at RISD’s Architecture School facilities, I had asked him outside, behind the school on a high plaza overlooking the downtown, to gauge his interest for being on the Board as Vice-President. In Eric’s inimitable re-telling of course, he recalled the honest meeting as the Godfather taking his consigliere for a “walk” to make an offer he couldn’t refuse; which of course brought guffaws all round. He also told the tale of really getting to know me when I had asked to use his Biltmore Hotel room to change for the banquet, and Eric offhandedly agreed. On that occasion Eric’s comedic re-take was that when he came back to the room to change, he “saw this guy in his skivvies, and wondered what close encounters might be next; how could I have known that the Founder was maybe something else…”; which story also brought down the house. He thoroughly enjoyed his ASAI colleagues at the Conferences; and even at his last one in Boston, he arrived in mid-afternoon after a 3am night of work, undeterred from having his usual fun from the get-go. He shared time with numerous friends at the AIP events, at meals, at the banquet again as photographer of record, and at a post-banquet gathering sharing jokes, drinks and numerous laughs, before bidding us his last goodbye. Eric was a man full of life, and did things at full bore, and loved every minute. He was a most special individual, who endeared himself to everyone with his high, constant energy, & vibrant, fun- loving approach to life. He was my close trusted friend & an invaluable asset for ASAI for so many years. With many former Presidents and members of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators who were so taken by this original whirlwind of a man, I share this profound loss. He leaves a huge crater in so many hearts. Much more needs to be recalled and said about Eric who left us too suddenly & too soon, but left everyone with indelible memories of times well spent.  Time does indeed seem shorter for all of us, but memories of Eric will be of a very lengthy kind.  We will all miss him greatly. Frank M. Costantino, Boston, MA Co- Founder & President Emeritus (P.E.) American Society of Architectural Illustrators
eric_aip-21-pso-02 eric_aip-21_chi-01 eric_aip-21_chi-03
In his deep ASAI sphere, Eric was held in such high regard by so many people that it can be felt in the following sentiments. I hope other members and friends can get a lasting sense of how he affected so many so well. Co-Founder Steve Oles, Santa Fe, NM – “In a time of political shock, this unexpected and profoundly sad personal news deepens the heartache in our Society. …we’ve lost one of our very finest.  We enjoyed mementoes of that wonderful time at AIP 21 in Chicago a decade ago, under his ebullient presidency.” P.E. Rael Slutsky, Chicago, IL – “I just learned of Eric’s sudden passing. My deepest condolences to the Brightfield family at their tragic loss of husband and father.  Eric was inspirational and he seemed unstoppable – his energy and enthusiasm were extraordinary. Eric was valued and respected as Chicago’s pioneering – and preeminent – digital architectural illustrator who was always moving forward, always leading and always learning.  He also gave back with service to ASAI, and as President very efficiently organized the successful Chicago convention in 2006.” P.E. Tom Schaller, Venice, CA– “I was so shocked and saddened to learn of Eric’s sudden passing .A really good man with a razor-sharp mind and wit. He will be deeply missed. My sincere condolences to his family…and wish them comfort in a truly difficult time.” P.E. Dario Tainer, Architect, Chicago, IL– “Extremely saddened by the news.  Eric was one of the first to recognize and utilize the power of the computer and digital imagery to create wonderful works of art thru architecture. His enthusiasm and unbounded energy was contagious and will be truly missed.  My sincere condolences to his family.” P.E. Richard Sneary, Kansas City, MO My deepest sympathies to Dawn, Luke, & Evan. Eric was always full of life and genuinely fun to be around. Conversation was never dull when Eric was part of it. I always remember his amazing energy and ability to get things done with virtually no time to do them, and yet he would still do them well. He left us too soon!” P.E. Robert Frank, Novato, CA – “Very sad news, what a shock. He had so much energy and was a joy to be around. Will always have very fond memories of Eric. Deepest condolences to his family.” P.E. Richard Chenowith, NJ – “I was devastated and deeply saddened to hear of Eric’s sudden passing.  What a guy, what a dad, what a husband… the incredibly talented, wild & crazy, extroverted lover of life and all its possibilities.  We and his family are all terribly cheated to lose him like this.  It hit me hard enough that I even dreamt about him that night of the day I heard.  The past few years on Facebook were a riot with Eric.  I feel like I knew his whole extended family, and now we all are mourning deeply. We all must seize the day. God bless Eric and his family.” P.E. Henry Sorenson, Bozeman MT – “Eric was easy to be around – he was so comfortable in his own skin. You never had to guess what he was up to, and he was always up to something, because he was right up front about sharing everything. Smart, funny. He lived life large. My Father died from a heart attack at 54 – also very young. Nothing is given – except today. Embrace it – Eric did. As I get older and closer to the edge, I am more and more cognizant of my mortality – and it is not a bad thing.” P.E. Prof. Mark Nelson, Madison WI –“It is quite sad. Eric and I lived for many years in the same professional and geographic world (I lived a few miles away from him for years) and had a lot of shared experiences. He was one of the most inclusive members, and was always in touch one way or another. I will miss him.” P.E. David Csont, Pittsburgh, PA – “I am stunned by the news that we have lost our dear friend Eric. He was truly a gifted visionary artist that combined all of the best attributes in an architectural illustrator. In addition, he successfully navigated his firm through good times and bad, which is no small feat in hindsight of the last several years, and vast, sweeping, digital images. Beyond this, I will always fondly remember Eric as a devoted father and husband who always took time to celebrate life and live it to the fullest. He will truly be missed.”         P.E. Jason Shirriff, San Leandro, CA– “My deepest condolences for losing such a friend and shining star. His light shone most brightly. I have not known Eric as long as many of you have. I felt our friendship was still in its infancy. I only just started using Facebook a couple of years ago… and Eric and I connected there, which meant a lot to me. He always came with an open hand and heart; an example for all to follow. He is foremost in my thoughts as are his family and those who knew and loved him.” P.E. Jon Soules OAA, Toronto ON –“ I am still very sad by the news, and so happy that I was there in Boston, sharing a drink while he (re)told many of the stories…mentioned. I will remember that evening forever. Your descriptions of his speed, wit, number of revolutions per minute and talent are not exaggerations, but understated. The wonderful thing that I know about Eric was that behind the bravado, there was an extremely caring individual who secretly and quietly contributed to his colleagues and community. I saw him quietly buy up the last unsold drawings at the silent auction, and top up the Society’s funds to make sure it started the New Year running in the black. Only a couple of us saw him do these things. Fact is, pretty much everyone I have met that are part of the ASAI make me feel like I am home, and it’s a good home. Your words show me that is a true sentiment. My condolences to Eric’s family.” P.E. Carlos Cristerna, Boston, MA –  “My condolences to all of you who knew him better and as a friend; I only had a chance to meet Eric in the last few years, I will remember him for his energy and as “the guy taking the photos” at the awards ceremony, bringing a smile to us.” Past Board Member Wes Page AIA, Norfolk, VA – “Like everyone I too am stunned by this news. Eric was definitely a man who left an impression on all he came in contact with. Many good times and many laughs were shared for sure. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. As I thought about this last night my thoughts also began to turn to the many lasting friendships that I’ve gained through ASAI over what has suddenly become twenty years. So many. I missed this year’s conference because of the typical deadline ‘emergency’, rationalizing by saying ‘well, I’ll go next year’. I’m so sorry now to have made that decision. Take care my friends. See you in Houston in October and we’ll raise a glass to Eric.” AIP 5 & AIP 17 Hugh Ferriss Prize Winner, Gilbert Gorski AIA, Chicago IL –“I’m stunned by the tragic news. I got to know Eric while serving as an ASAI jurist in his office. He was a gracious and attentive host. At that time he shared a viral You-tube rap video one of his sons made that was hilarious in its clever, fast-paced wit. I could tell how proud he was of his kids and how his own quick mind was part of them. Just a few weeks ago, Eric noticed my absence at the Boston conference and emailed to inquire about what I’ve been up to. I wish we could have talked in person.” AIP 16 Hugh Ferriss Prize Winner Michael McCann, Toronto, ON – “Quite a shock to hear of Eric’s passing. He will be greatly missed by all who have crossed paths with him. My condolences to his family.” AIP 20 Hugh Ferriss Prize Winner Chris Grubbs, San Francisco, CA- “Eric was a remarkable human being. My thoughts are with his family. I will remember him for the rest of my days.” AIP 21 Chicago Hugh Ferriss Prize Winner, Dennis Allain, Lynnfield MA – “This is such a shock. So glad to have been able to see him at the last ASAI. He was larger than life and I will always cherish the times I was able to truly enjoy his company. A terrific talent and always an encouraging voice! My thoughts and prayers out to his family – my heart breaks.” Charter Member Elizabeth Day, Austin, TX – So glad to see these great photos of Eric. Along with all of you I am shocked and saddened to hear of his passing.  It will be hard to visit Chicago or see a passing Segway without thinking of him — what a force of nature he was!” Member Marsha Brown, Toronto, ON – “I’m…so glad I had a chance to spend a little time with Eric in Boston.” Member Les Barker, Queensbury NY– “I…extend my deepest empathy to Eric’s family, friends and this professional family.  Three of the many lessons (gifts received) learned during my 17 years of end-of-life critical care giving in my “spare” time are – life can be very fragile, shocking at times & it is important to live each day fully.” Member Jeff Stikeman, Lynnfield MA – “I met Eric a while ago…say Pasadena, but perhaps it was the Pittsburgh or DC conventions.  He had just gotten his Segway and was regaling us with stories of the airport inspection and traveling with it. He was a colorful guy, always seemed to be playing around and only letting us partly in on the joke.  I was saddened to hear of his passing.  I know that he had been ill, but 56 is too young.”