Marc Shanker: Illustrating Ladino Proverbs
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – Marc Shanker grew up in Brooklyn, New York, in a Sephardic Jewish family, and studied Sociology at Brooklyn College. He trained as an Orientation and Mobility Instructor for the Blind but spent the greater part of his working life in administrative positions in the labor movement.
After college, Marc began to make art. He rejected a formal art education preferring instead to struggle alone toward a realization of his own unique style and content. He paints with acrylics, draws with wax crayons and pen & ink, constructs collages and is a print maker. Marc’s childlike, naive style uses humor, irony and paradox to reference existential questions, and issues regarding art, language and contemporary social problems. His subjects range from the Ladino proverbs of the Sephardic Jews to the complexities and absurdities of modern life.
In 2008, Gravity Free Press was created to show, publish and distribute his artwork, books, broadsides and collaborative undertakings with other artists, especially writers and poets.
Marc is the author and illustrator of a number of books, including Traces of Sepharad (Huellas de Sefarad), Etchings of Judeo-Spanish Proverbs, for which he drew on his own family background as an inspiration.
Marc spoke with us about this book, and what it was like growing up in a Sephardic family in Brooklyn.