Creating a moment that communicates emotionally with the viewer is the essence of Gregory Manchess’ artwork. A native of Kentucky, he earned a BFA from the Minneapolis College of Art & Design in 1977, but is largely self-taught in drawing and painting. He spent two years as a studio illustrator with Hellman Design Associates before striking out on his own in 1979.
Ryhythm and timing, conveying emotion through brushwork and achieving a balance of concept and aesthetics are essential components of his technique. This has garnered prestigious assignments from an ever-widening list of clients. His art has highlighted covers for Time and Atlantic Monthly; spreads for Playboy, Newsweek, National Geographic, and Smithsonian; countless advertising campaigns and book covers. For Federal Express he created five paintings for display in the company’s corporate headquarters. He has also illustrated movie posters for Paramount, Columbia, and Disney; conceptual work for The Chronicles of Narnia. His portrait of Sean Connery was used as the defining climactic moment in Warner Brothers’ Finding Forrester.
Manchess’ interest in history and his excellent figure work has made his paintings a favorite choice of the National Geographic Society on many occasions, including an expedition to the Fond du Lac river in Canada for an article about the explorer, David Thomson. Gregory has completed a large portrait of Abraham Lincoln and seven major paintings depicting his life for the new Lincoln Memorial Library in Springfield, Illinois. Currently, he is finishing ten mural paintings for a exhibition on the pirate ship, Whydah, that will tour 15 cities beginning June 2007.
His first children’s book, To Capture The Wind by Sheila MacGill-Callahan, was published in 1996 and nominated for a Caldecott Award, followed by Nanuk: Lord of the Ice, by Brian Heinz, a year later. His second collaboration with Heinz, Cheyenne Medicine Hat, was released to wide acclaim in 2006. Other books include, Giving Thanks, 2003, and The Last River, 2006, and Magellan’s World to be released in 2007. He has just completed a lavishly illustrated book of 5 classic Robert E. Howard stories with 60 paintings. A b/w version was published in 2006 and a full color limited edition is forthcoming.
Widely awarded within the industry, Manchess exhibits frequently at the Society of Illustrators in New York, where he has won a gold and four silver medals. His peers at the Society honored him with the coveted Hamilton King Award in 1999, based on an artist’s career accomplishments. The following year they awarded him the Stephan Dohanos Award for the best illustration of the year by a member. The Society of Illustrators in Los Angeles has awarded him two silver medals and a Best in Show Award. Feature articles have appeared in Communication Arts and Step-By-Step Graphics. Gregory is included in Walt Reed’s latest edition of “The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000”.
He lectures frequently at universities and colleges nationwide and gives workshops on painting at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge