MJWalsh CD+d
MJWalsh Creative Direction + Design

Fun Facts

A Few Things I Remember

• 1981—Drew David Hockney’s portrait and gave it to him, while at the Slade School, University College London.

• 1982—Worked on a story layout with Michael Moore while volunteering at Detroit Metro Times. 

* 1985—I redesigned the Detroit News Sunday Magazine one weekend, I didn't realize that you shouldn't do that. Luckily, my boss, Lisa Velders, liked it enough to show the Editor-in Chief and Publisher and we instituted the design shortly after. The redesign won a pile of awards and special notice from designer Roger Black, one of my heros.

• 1986—Moved to Washington DC, recruited to work at the Washington Post magazine by design guru Brian Noyes and Editor Jay Lovinger.

• 1987—Beat Ben Bradlee (Washington Post Editor) in an arm-wrestling match. The entire Style section staff watched.

• 1987—Romare Bearden sent me his last drawing, he died two weeks after I commissioned him to do a cover for the Washington Post Magazine.

• 1987—I commissioned Faith Ringgold to create her first quilt painting based on the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

• 1987—Played guard for Washington Post basketball team, alongside Juan Williams, David Remnick, Lucian Perkins, and John Ed Bradley.

• 1988—Got hitched to Annie Cabay (youngest of the 5 Cabay girls).

• Commisioned Herblock, Steve Brodner, Pat Oliphant, Mike Luckovich, Jeff MacNelly, Doug Marlette, Mike Peters, Doug Wright, Nicole Hollander, Jules Feiffer, Lynda Barry and Matt Groening to create cartoons to illustrate a WaPo Magazine, US Constitution anniversary issue. This issue won dozens of Art Direction awards.

• 1989—Sold our Duplex house on Tewksbury St. Takoma Park, DC to the illustrious reporter and news legend Gwen Ifill.

• 1989—Moved to Atlanta, GA. I was lured there by John Huey to help start up SOUTHPOINT magazine. It was shut down within a year, unfortunately.

• 1990—Luckily, I was hired by Michael Reagan at Turner Broadcasting, a very entrepreneurial company. Soon, we were publishing books in every possible category. 

• 1991—Ian Ballantine took me to meet Leonard Riggio at Barnes & Noble to convince him that he needed to make his stores places where people could hang out, drink coffee and look at galleries of art from selected illustrated books. I did a mini mock-up to help convince him.

• 1992—Helped develop the website for TBS called spiv.com, which WIRED magazine put on it’s HOT LIST in early 1993.

• 1993—Drank (about) ten shots of tequila at a bar in L.A. with the former astronaut Alan Shepard, he bought because he liked my book jacket design for his book “Moonshot.” 

• 1993—Sat between Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera while they argued with one another at a Super Bowl dinner in Tucson, AZ.

• 1994—Escorted Dr, Ruth Westheimer to dinner after attending the Frankfurter Buchmesse.

• 1994—Held the original “Chucky Doll” in my lap for an entire business meeting at David Kirchner's office in LA.

• 1994—Collaborated on Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy book See video of canadian girl trying to explain… with Terry Jones (best known as a member of the Monty Python comedy troupe) and the extraordinarily gifted illustrator Brian Froud

• 1995—Stood in the Sistine Chapel alone for an hour. Ted Turner bought publishing rights to the Vatican Library, so access was easy.

• 1995—Upon receiving the book Offerings at the Wall—Artifacts from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection, a woman wrote me a note saying: “Michael, The book you put together is a beautiful tribute to the many lost during this most difficult time of our nations history. It was a particularly emotional time for my husband and myself. Sincerely, Lady Bird Johnson."

• 1996—Joe Montana sent me a case of Cabernet Sauvignon from his own vineyard after I helped him with his NYT best selling book. 

• 1996—Sat next to Johnny Cochran at the Opening ceremony of Atlanta Olympics. I'm not sure if OJ was there or not. I wept when Ali lit the torch to start the games.

• 1997—Held Nicolaus Copernicus’s sketch book of sun-flare drawings in my hand at The Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana.

• 1997—Ripped pants from zipper to waist as I jumped up to accept the Individual Design Achievement award from Literary Market Place at a luncheon at the New York Public Library. I learned the lesson of winning the hard way...

• 1997—Son: Michael Hayes born

• 1997—Fred Siebert (MTV etc. fame) sent my firstborn son documentation of a star that he put in his name.

• 1998—Personally hand-painted each of the models in the Sports Illustrated 1998 Swimsuit issue, okay, I didn’t actually paint them, but I did design the issue. 

• 1998—I worked with Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe on a Sports Illustrated sponsored, Arthur Ashe Foundation HIV/AIDS benefit program booklet. The AAFoundation event was attended by many luminaries at the NY Hilton. I sat near Muhammad Ali, and when I had a chance to speak with him, we ended up talking for more than twenty minutes. His voice was very low and I had to put my ear right up to his face to hear. I told him how I "secretly" liked him as a kid, a fact that I hid from my Father, who thought of Ali as a cocky "son-of-a-gun." I went on to tell Ali that my father came around and really respected him very highly, especially for standing up for his principles when he was stripped of his boxing title, because of his conscientious objector status. Ali listened to my story and when I was done, he whispered to me "Thank you so much for telling me that," he then hugged me and kissed me on my right cheek.

• 2000—Daughter: Lily Frances born

• 2001—Handed over a check for $658,000 to the New York City Fire Department to purchase a new truck— The money came from proceeds from a 9/11 book that Abrams and New York Magazine produced immediately following that tragedy. It was the only thing we could do to react.

• 2002—I decided that we needed a very special portrait of Paul Gottlieb. The long-time Publisher and Bon Vivant of Abrams publishing. I commissioned several artists for an intended send-off from Abrams as Paul was leaving to go to the Aperture Foundation. And then, shockingly, he died before we could have the grand party. The reason that I asked several artists/friends to do a “piece” of Paul, was because I saw this as a tribute to a man who had done so much for so many, and that they all added to his colorful career and legacy...  So, I hoped for 12 artists to take a piece of the Gottlieb "collage." Alex Katz, Christo, Daniel Brush, Graeme Base, Mary Frank, William Wegman, I received digital artwork from the edgy British publisher Edward Booth Clibborn, and a piece from Philip Pearlstein. Others commissioned, but who never completed were: Audrey Flack, Geoffrey Holder, Stone Roberts and Tom Buechner.
Originally, I had created a master list that included many more artists. There were a few who really wanted to participate, but couldn’t for some reason or another. For example, Maurice Sendak was too ill at the time, but applauded the idea and congratulated me for the effort, quite vigorously in a highly decorative handwritten note.

• 2002—Son: Caleb John born

• 2002—Went to the Dakota building to apartment 72 to propose designs to Yoko Ono for her YES book and video project. She was so cool, easiest design approval ever.

• 2003—Swapped paintings with artist Julian Schnabel, although he never actually sent me his. I have a 2’ x 3’ photo that he left in my office though. 

• 2003—Asked to speak at Grand Valley State University in Allendale Michigan, I donated 50+ books that I had worked on, which started the GVSU Art department book Library. 

• 2004—Christo sent me one of his covered chair drawings.

• 2004—Alan Dershowitz poked his head into my office at my corner office while working at Abrams Publishing, 100 Fifth Ave, Fifth floor. Abrams was about to move and Esq. Dershowitz needed a NYC office. He was a nice guy… I asked him about OJ and Mike Tyson, who he represented.

• 2005—Irving Penn gave me a box of pencils, I guess because I went to see him with one tucked behind my ear.

• 2006—Took Edward Booth-Clibborn to dinner at The Berghoff House in Chicago. We hit Buddy Guy’s Legends. Buddy stopped by the table because, he said, that EBC looked “interesting.”

• 2007—Went to Reykjavik, Iceland to print a photography magazine that I helped start up called DEAR DAVE. I briefly met and swam in the Blue Lagoon geothermal spa with Dave Eggers, who just happened to be printing McSweeneys issue at Oddi as well. 

• 2008—Walked through the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy alongside Elvis Costello.

• 2009—Helped Arianna Huffington as she tripped and broke her high heel, into the holding area for Webby award winners at Cipriani Wall Street, by breaking the heel off of her other shoe, making them even. 

• 2009—Contemporary artist Donald Sultan gave me a large drawing after designing his book: "Theater of the Object"

• 2010—Tony Kushner commented profoundly about one of the breakthrough design projects titled: "PROOF" at the SVA Commencement at Radio City Music Hall on 05/14/10

• 2012—Crashed my Motoguzzi scooter into a wall in Bologna, Italy, my 15 yr. old son, Hayes, who was riding on back, was also scratched up pretty good. It was bad, but now we laugh about it...

• 2015—Renowned watercolor painter, Joseph Raffael, sent me a beautiful painting after I designed his book: "Moving Toward the Light."

• 2017— World renowned design leaders: Milton Glaser, Steven Heller, Richard Wilde and President of the School of Visual Arts, David Rhodes, all wrote glowing letters of recommendation for me.

• 2018—I had two of my paintings accepted in the AD ART Show exhibition at Sotheby's, 1334 York Avenue, New York, NY. They are currently for sale on ARTSY.

• 2018—An online & print project that I co-founded, and have been the creative director and designer for titled:  
DEAR DAVE, was a winner of the 2108 Photography Magazine
of the Year from The Lucie Awards on October 28th, 2018 at Carnegie Hall. DEAR DAVE is a side project that started in 2007 with founder Stephen Frailey, Editor-in-Chief. 

• 2018—Member of the NYCEDC team that created the pitch to convince Amazon to bring HQ2 to New York City, winning half of the prized economic development, 25,000 jobs coming to Long Island City, Queens, NYC…

• 2019—Oops, Amazon changed its mind… political challengers make difficult business partners and both sides will likely suffer the consequences…

• Creating new experiences and stories to tell right at this very moment...

Michael Walsh