English 430: Literature & the Visual Arts

The World of Maira Kalman…


Maira Kalman is an all American author-illustrator, designer, and most of all an artist within. Kalman has been working as an artist for more than three decades. All her work is a narrative journal of her life. Kalman continues to awe the people who are inspired by her work.


Kalman was born in 1949 in the second largest city in Israel, Tel Aviv. At the tender age of four her family moved to New York City where she began to explore her life as an artist. New York City allowed her to delve into her creative force and take her mind to another level. Her career started in 1972 where she was the Editorial illustrator for many publications and in house muse for M&co the Design Studio founded by Tibor Kalman (whom she married) designing album covers, film titles, products and much more. Their studio, M&Co. was successful and some of their pieces are on display at the Museum of Modern Art.


In 1986, Kalman illustrated her first children’s book, “Stay up Late.” In her children’s books, she unconventionally illustrates her characters and words become the main focus.



Kalman went on to put together children’s books year after year and surprised many with her continuous unconventional illustrations. Kalman steps out of the norm and puts together books surpasses boundaries. She places words around characters in the books. She never stays within the lines and is not afraid to illustrate controversial issues.







In 2005, Kalman illustrated for the well-known book, “Elements of Style.” The book is a handy reference for college students and writers. The illustrated version brings the text to life and allows avid users of the book to grasp the concepts in a different form.’


“Lincoln, Abraham”


Kalman’s most notable works are her cover illustrations for The New Yorker. She is constantly being sought to illustrate iconic covers.




One of the most interesting pieces of art that Kalman has created to date would be her new medium: embroidery. She created twenty works combining image/drawings and texts, Although the text is determined in advance, the drawings are unplanned and embroidered directly on the fabric




Kalman also wrote a monthly illustrated blog for The New York Times called The Principles of Uncertainty…And the Pursuit of Happiness. It’s a well known blog that has received praise for it’s originality.


For years, Kalman has introduced the world to her creative pieces of work. From illustrations, to embroideries, to children’s book she has reached a different audience and continues to project a fresh new take on the world she lives in. Kalman’s style has changed art and has taken it to a different direction. Maira Kalman will always rest assure to do the pieces that she loves to do and many will follow her along the way. Kalman continues to work on her art and lives in New York City. She has also lend a hand to well known designers such as Kalman is represented by the Julie Saul gallery in NYC.











1 Comment »

  1. I’m going to print out the “everything is invented” quote and put it in a prominate place on my wall! Thanks for the interesting intorduction.

    Comment by Jill — October 29, 2009 @ 7:18 am | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: