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CHARM’ED LIFE

The Brooklyn Paper
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Bill Charmatz, an illustrator whose drawings have appeared on the pages of "The New York Times Book Review," "Sports Illustrated," "Time," "Esquire" and other publications for several decades before his death last September 2005, began his career on the streets of Williamsburg.

Literally.

The youngest of nine children in the Ukrainian immigrant family, Charmatz honed his craft on the asphalt of his neighborhood streets.

"My developing years were spent drawing on the sidewalks of Brooklyn," he told "Graphics Today" in 1979. "Not with chalk, but broken plaster. It was always there as much as you needed. You were limited to white, of course, but the streets were a good dark color, especially when they were wet."

The Brooklynites he saw around him inspired Charmatz’s work and influenced his later approach to illustrations, the artist’s daughter Katrina Charmatz told GO Brooklyn. She will present a short documentary at the Dec. 6 opening of "The Finish Line," an exhibit of 50 years of her father’s work at the Society of Illustrators in Manhattan.

The documentary, "Charmatz," edited and produced by Katrina, features archival footage of the artist sketching in Central Park as well as interviews with his colleagues and friends. "The Finish Line" presents 65 of Charmatz’s famous editorial and advertisement drawings, including "Martini Murder" from "The New York Times Book Review" (pictured), along with previously unseen personal pieces.

The Society of Illustrators presents "The Finish Line," Dec. 6-29 at 128 E. 63rd St. at Lexington Avenue in Manhattan. The exhibit is free. Opening reception is Dec. 6, from 5:30 pm to 8 pm. For more information, visit www.billcharmatz.com or call (212) 838-2560.

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