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Howard Berelson

Teaneck, New Jersey

“I was always an artist, from childhood on—and I always wrote…”                               

Howard BerelsonHoward graduated from Pratt Institute in 1962 with a degree in Industrial Design. During his student years he apprenticed under the American sculptor, Theodore Roszak, as a welder and fabricator of steel sculpture. In 1968, Howard became an illustrator of children's books, both trade and text. His initial sketches were just words on a page indicating where visuals were to be placed—to be later turned into layers of images on tracing paper, then into finished sketches for approval, and finally to finished art to be published. Howard suggests it was as if his words and he knew each other, so to speak.

Years later Howard left illustrating and studied mono printing with Roberto De LaMonica, a master printmaker. His older visual images were a result of that workshop—disturbing images of dogs and hanging animals, which were stand-ins for him. For Howard, it was a way of understanding and processing wounds and rage. There were also The Persona Series; collograph plates that were made from distressed sheet aluminum, parts of street debris riveted and stitched together like a Frankenstein monster inked, and from it, the prints lifted seemed to produce the foreboding images that were dark, as if I were uncovering a mystery or hidden persona. These were all single images and had informed some of his poems that were written later on.

There was a hiatus, when he won a teaching fellowship with the New Jersey State Arts Council, Art in Education Program where he taught for 24 years. For Howard, writing—the organization of thought and outlining visual art programs became second nature. He realized then that writing was a visual experience; one visualizes then writes down what one sees inward. He taught poetry that fed into his visual art projects. He left teaching to pursue work full time as a visual artist and writer of words that fed his visual imagery.

Howard took poetry workshops and began to look inward finding the words and sentences that made sense to him—defining what was important to him. It was about this time that he began to work in Photoshop, enabling him to think in layers of meaning and the physical layers of visual transparencies. It reminded him of his sketches for children's books with layers of different images on tracing paper to produce a finished composition. It was this that enabled him to think and create in more complex visual associations that reflected and complemented poetic associations.

The content of Howard's imagery both visual and written, an endeavor to connect human's common understanding of loss, in his poetry and his artwork; is all wounded in some way—a woundedness that defines people and connects them to each other. He has come full circle from illustrating children’s books when he started his career to creating imagery from the words that he now writes.

Howard’s publication credits include: Honorable Mention in the 2015 and 2013 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards. The Paterson Literary Review, 2014-2016, and  2016-2017, The Great Falls, An Anthology of Poems about Paterson, New Jersey, 2014; Lips, no. 42-43, a selection of the Small Press Book Club, Cyclemens Swords Publishing; Ishka Bibble, a poetry Journal, an imprint of Jane’s Boy press; The September 11th. Artist Archive. NY, NY.

Howards most recent 2016-13 exhibitions have included: Solo at The Lippman Gallery, Short Hills NJ;  Mobile Digital Art & More, Boonton, NJ; awarded solo exhibition at The Watchung Art Center; inclusion in: Visuart, an international exhibition in Havana and Cienfuegos, Cuba; “Old is Good”, Studio Montclair at Montclair Library, Montclair NJ; Grace Van Vorst Exhibition, Jersey City, NJ;  : The Studio Space  on Madison, Dumont NJ; “Duets” at the Drawing Room, Jersey City, NJ ; “The Subject is War”, Wiseman Gallery, Rogue Community College, Grants Pass OR; solo exhibition Trinity Church Allandale NJ;  Paterson Art Walk;  Solo exhibition Hob’art Gallery, Hoboken NJ; solo exhibition JCC of the Palisades, Tenafly, NJ; Clifton Art Center, Clifton NJ. Exhibitions from 2013-1990 are listed on his website.


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