By Sara Paul
Kenny Eicher is surrounded by art. Whether it’s the creative marketing agency where he is the Executive Creative Director; his fine art pursuits; or nurturing the creative side of his three children, Kenny is comfortable when he is making things.
“Whether it’s a piece of furniture, a picture frame, or something for the kids… making something that didn’t exist before is really good medicine,” said Eicher.
An impressionist ink artist who works in two forms – pen and ink as well as color, Eicher says working with permanent ink, which dries instantly on paper, is a welcome challenge.
“Ink is not forgiving, which I appreciate. It’s important to start with a small amount, and I can always add more,” he said, describing his art as, “a little bit more on the sketchy side.”
“I find beauty in the unfinished. Creating realism is just not interesting to me. I find loose lines and finding lines much more attractive as I bring a sketch to life,” commented Eicher, who begins a sketch with a light pencil, finishing it in ink.
The local artist is primarily inspired by the nature, wildlife, and rural landscapes of the Hudson Valley, with early inspiration coming from 14th century printmaker Albrecht Dürer and Asher B. Durand of the Hudson River School. His work was recently on display at the Albert Wisner Public Library and is slated to display a solo show at the Tuscan Café this fall, in the Village of Warwick, an installation that has been delayed due to the current restaurant restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Not So Sketchy Start
From Eicher’s early days at home and in high school, the seeds of art and creativity were firmly sowed. Encouraging art instructors at his Roxbury, NJ high school saw his talent and reached out to the head of admissions at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. He submitted an impressive portfolio and was accepted early at the prestigious art school.
In 1998, he graduated from Pratt with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, and began designing movie posters at an agency in NYC. As it sometimes goes, the artist became hyper focused on career and family, thus ceasing his pen and ink passion. After 15 years of no drawing, Eicher began to sketch again in the summer of 2016.
“I make commercial art for a living, and fine art for myself. I need to keep that distinction in my life,” said Eicher, who does author originals and prints for sale, but rarely works by commission.
From Agency to In-House
Eventually landing at The CSI Group, in Montvale, NJ, Eicher served as Executive Creative Director before leaving the company after 17 years. Shifting gears from the agency world to a large global in-house company was a positive move in Eicher’s career.
“Since agencies produce work for other companies, at an in-house company I can focus on one brand, one set of products, and one tone of voice,” explained Eicher, who is currently the Creative Director at Becton Dickinson, a global med-tech company.
Move to Warwick
Growing up in Mt. Arlington, NJ, Eicher lived in Woodside, Queens after college. After marrying his high school sweetheart, Kate, the couple moved to Mahwah, NJ, eventually landing in Warwick in 2005, a year after their first daughter was born.
Now, with his wife of 21 years and three children, Erin, 15, Abbie, 13, and Keene, 11, Kenny enjoys hiking and the outdoors with his family. It comes as no surprise that all three kids are artistically inclined. Erin was recently highlighted as Warwick Valley Central School District’s Artist of the Week.
An Artist’s Life in COVID-19
Though life has stopped in a sense and people have plenty of time for their own pursuits, Eicher feels the opposite. The busy designer now cherishes time spent outside of his home office.
“With the professional world crashing in to my home, sitting at a desk for eight hours, I don’t want to sit back down and keep working,” said Eicher, who is enjoying extra time with his kids and also re-realized why he moved to the country.
“When I was commuting and working nine to five, it was a long day. When I came home, I was spent and went to bed. Now I remember why I bought this house and why I love it here,” said Eicher, who has been taking advantage of the peaceful days, reading Lord of the Rings aloud to his son and reconnecting with old friends through Zoom. The Netflix fan admits to binge watching a few shows like Dead to Me, Arrested Development, and Tiger King.
Eicher reflects on the current social conditions and recommends, “This is the time to fix the things that are broken. Physical stuff around your house, sure, but also relationships and your own mental health. It’s a good time to take stock of everything.”
To see more of Eicher’s art, visit www.kennyeicherart.com or follow him on Instagram at Sketchy Mcgee.
Local artist Kenny Eicher works primarily with pen & ink.
Local artist Kenny Eicher is inspired by the vast & attractive open space of the Hudson Valley.
Local artist Kenny Eicher displays a pen & ink drawing of a tractor he recently completed.