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Glenn Tunstull

Glenn Tunstull was born one of four children on July 29, 1950 in Flushing, New York. Tunstull developed a passion for art at an early age, after witnessing his Uncle Leroy sketching a portrait of his parents. Tunstull’s family moved across the country when he was young, from New York to Louisville, Kentucky finally settling in Detroit, Michigan, where Tunstull attended Cass Technical High School and graduated in 1968 with a concentration in commercial art.

Tunstull won a scholarship to Parsons, the New School of Design. He attended the school for two years before working for various pattern companies. By 1970, Tunstull was illustrating for Vogue magazine and was hired as the first African American illustrator at Women’s Wear Daily. Having built a name in the industry, Tunstull augmented his day work with freelance projects for major designers and department stores.

In 1975, at the age of twenty-five, Tunstull moved to Morocco and shortly thereafter, to Europe, where he worked in Paris and Milan. While working abroad Tunstull created fashion illustrations for the Hermes and Kenzo design houses and for fashion publications that included Marie Claire and Votre Beauté. Tunstull himself was featured in Italian Vogue for his work with WWD and Silvano Malto; he returned to the United States in 1977.

In 1979, Tunstull returned to New York City and began working for a variety of publications, including GQ magazine and The New York Times. In the 1990s, Tunstull began teaching fashion art at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and model drawing classes at his alma mater, the Parson’s School of Design. In 1994, Tunstull served as the keynote speaker at the Society of Illustrators Museum for the Best of Fashion and Beauty Illustration Exhibition.

In 1996, Tunstull shifted his career focus to watercolor landscapes depicting scenes inspired by his travels, particularly trips to Brazil, Jamaica, Australia, and Martha’s Vineyard, where he hosted an annual showing of his artwork. In 1997, Tunstull illustrated Kai: A Big Decision, a children’s book by Sharon Shavers Gayle. In 2000, Tunstull again made a shift in his artistic approach, continuing to work in landscapes but using oil paints, expanding his ability to portray different moods.

Accession Number

A2007.261

Sex

Male

Interview Date

9/13/2007

Last Name

Tunstull

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

Cass Technical High School

Boynton Elementary-Middle School

Winterhalter Elementary School

Parsons School of Design

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Glenn

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

TUN01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Brazil

Favorite Quote

Stay In The Moment.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

7/29/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Albany

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Italian Food, Soul Food

Short Description

Fashion illustrator and painter Glenn Tunstull (1950 - ) was an illustrator for Vogue, Women's Wear Daily, Marie Claire and Votre Meaute, and exhibited his landscape paintings worldwide.

Employment

Simplicity Pattern Company

Vogue Patterns

Lord and Taylor

Women's Wear Daily

Fashion Institute of Technology

Parsons School of Design

Pratt Institute

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Glenn Tunstull's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Glenn Tunstull lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Glenn Tunstull describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Glenn Tunstull remembers the Kentucky Derby

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Glenn Tunstull describes his parents' occupations

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Glenn Tunstull describes his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Glenn Tunstull describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Glenn Tunstull describes his upbringing in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Glenn Tunstull remembers the influence of Motown in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Glenn Tunstull describes the auto industry in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Glenn Tunstull recalls the previous generation's response to the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Glenn Tunstull describes his home life

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Glenn Tunstull remembers the pastimes of his youth

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Glenn Tunstull describes the sights and sounds of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Glenn Tunstull recalls his early education

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Glenn Tunstull remembers his early interest in drawing

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Glenn Tunstull recalls his aspiration to become a fashion illustrator

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Glenn Tunstull describes his first course in fashion illustration

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Glenn Tunstull remembers Cass Technical High School in Detroit, Michigan

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Glenn Tunstull remembers his early interest in fashion

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Glenn Tunstull recalls applying to the Parsons School of Design in New York City

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Glenn Tunstull remembers the Parsons School of Design

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Glenn Tunstull talks about fashion design and illustration

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Glenn Tunstull recalls his interview at the Simplicity Pattern Company, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Glenn Tunstull recalls leaving the Parsons School of Design

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Glenn Tunstull describes the fashion industry of his early career

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Glenn Tunstull remembers his introduction to the pattern industry

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Glenn Tunstull describes his work as a colorist for Vogue Patterns

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Glenn Tunstull talks about the pattern industry

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Glenn Tunstull recalls his transition to Women's Wear Daily

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Glenn Tunstull describes the Women's Wear Daily trade publication

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Glenn Tunstull recalls the rise of fashion photography

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Glenn Tunstull remembers illustrating Women's Wear Daily

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Glenn Tunstull describes his lifestyle in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Glenn Tunstull reflects upon his career at Women's Wear Daily

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Glenn Tunstull remembers moving to Europe

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Glenn Tunstull remembers his travels to Liberia

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Glenn Tunstull remembers his experiences in Italy

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Glenn Tunstull describes his career in France

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Glenn Tunstull remembers Carol LaBrie

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Glenn Tunstull remembers meeting James Baldwin

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Glenn Tunstull talks about Toyce Anderson

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Glenn Tunstull remembers his nostalgia for African American culture

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Glenn Tunstull describes his return to the United States

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Glenn Tunstull describes his transition to teaching

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Glenn Tunstull remembers his guests in New York City

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Glenn Tunstull describes his teaching career

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Glenn Tunstull talks about his students

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Glenn Tunstull recalls being honored by Fashion Outreach

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Glenn Tunstull recalls his address to the Society of Illustrators

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Glenn Tunstull recalls his transition to painting

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Glenn Tunstull describes his decision to show his paintings

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Glenn Tunstull talks about his partner, Joe Steele

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Glenn Tunstull lists the collectors of his art

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Glenn Tunstull talks about his friendship with Robert C. Hayden

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Glenn Tunstull describes his painting technique

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Glenn Tunstull describes his commissioned artwork

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Glenn Tunstull talks about his children's book illustrations

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Glenn Tunstull reflects upon the field of fashion illustration

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Glenn Tunstull reflects upon his legacy

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

5$2

DATitle
Glenn Tunstull recalls his interview at the Simplicity Pattern Company, Inc.
Glenn Tunstull recalls his transition to Women's Wear Daily
Transcript
How long was the program at Parsons [Parsons School of Design, New York, New York]?$$It was a three-year program, of which I only did two years.$$And why did you only do two years? What did you end up (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I got a job.$$Where'd you work?$$Simplicity Patterns [Simplicity Pattern Company, Inc.] was my first job. My neighbor across the hall--there was a campaign at the time and it said, during that period, and it said, "I got my job through The New York Times." And so this--my friend across the hall, her name was Linda Merritt [ph.], came to me one day and said, "Here's a--I was looking through the ads in New York Times, and here's a job for--looking for a sketcher at Simplicity Patterns." So, I went to the interview. And I always tell the story to my students because when I left Pa- Parsons and I didn't go back for the following year, I created a whole different portfolio from what I had developed in class. It wasn't enough for me to just show what I had done in class 'cause then your work looks like everyone else because you're solving the same problems that everyone else was. So, I created a whole 'nother portfolio. And then, I thought I was gonna be something like an illustrator or work for a toy company or something like that. That's the kind of things I was interviewing for. And, so I got to this job interview, and the guy says to me, his name was John Young [ph.], he said, "We like your work. We want to see how you work in our format." They had a certain size format and--which was like eight and a half by eleven [inches] and I drew large at the time. So, I said, "Okay." And then he took me to the side and he says, "If you really want this job, you'll do two." Well, I did three, and I got the job. That has always stayed with me, and I always share that with students. You have to show an effort above and beyond what's expected for--of you for people to take you seriously, or to get that you really want it. That's as much a part of it as being qualified. 'Cause there were other people that were equally qualified, I assume. So, I got this job. I now teach with the first person that I worked with there. Her name is Josephine Vargas, and we both teach at Parsons, the same type of class, and she's li- 'cause I consider her my longest known professional colleague, and we have a very good relationship. And I worked there for about a year.$How long did you stay at Vogue Patterns, and what did you do next?$$I was there about two years at Vogue Patterns. The--it was funny thing. I had gotten that job because in my effort to find another job when I was at Simplicity [Simplicity Pattern Company, Inc.], I went on a series of interviews and I met these women that said to--at this company that said to me, "We can't use what you're doing, but we have a friend that does what you're doing. His name is Stephen Cervantes and we know him from home," which was like Salt Lake City [Utah]--or Kansas City, sorry Kansas City. He was an illustrator for Women's Wear Daily. So, they said, "Here's his number, call him up and tell him, you know, to--we said come see you." So I went to see him. And this was like walking through a portal. He became my best friend. He was already an illustrator at Women's Wear Daily, introduced me to all the other illustrators, and then told me about another friend of his that worked at Vogue Patterns, which led to my going on a interview there, which led to my getting that job there. In the course of, of working at Vogue Patterns, I became very friendly with the artists at Women's Wear. We just were like all hangout buddies. So, as a result, when they had a, a position available at Women's Wear, I knew about it. And, this was wonderful, because they were so supportive of me, the artists that worked there already, and part of my thing was, you want a new job? You do a new portfolio, so they helped me put together my portfolio. Stephen was--had a habit of posing for all the artists 'cause he could affect these poses and move, just stuff like that. He just had that about him and he had long hair and you could draw him like a woman. So, he posed for me for an entire portfolio. So, when I submitted it to the art director, there must've been, I would imagine thousands of artists who wanted that job, and I got it. And I would've probably done the job for no money, but they wound up paying me more money than I was accustomed to and more money than I definitely was getting from Vogue Patterns, and my life changed in an instant.