Henrik Drescher

  • Mountain Machinery, etching, aquatint, and chine collé, 52" x 40", Edition size 16, 2015.
    Mountain Machinery, etching, aquatint, and chine collé, 52" x 40", Edition size 16, 2015.
  • Black Mountain, relief from etched plate, 52" x 40", Edition size 12, 2015.
    Black Mountain, relief from etched plate, 52" x 40", Edition size 12, 2015.

Essay by John Foster on work produced during Drescher's Island Press residency

Accomplished artist, illustrator, and author Henrik Drescher served as the Arthur L. and Sheila Prensky Island Press Visiting Artist in fall 2014.

Drescher's current work is focused on painting and book arts, and his pictures are based on Chinese landscape painting (Shan Shui). One of his most recent projects, China Days—A Visual Journal from China's Wild West (Chronicle Books, October 2014), documents his ten-plus years of living in China.

In his artist statement, Drescher writes: "Since an early age I've been an image scavenger, my mind has always been alert to image debris, keeping ideas and images in books, which then spill into my painting and illustration. In my image making I try to register the idea of 'everything at once,' a sort of Sears & Roebuck mail-order catalog filled with an inventory of all that has ever existed in the course of organic history and human memory…scars, tattoos, cracks, memories, impressions, flashbacks, and forgotten instructions."

Born in Copenhagen, Drescher and his family immigrated to the United States when he was 12. In 1972 I was awarded a full scholarship to attend the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. After one semester at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, he left school and began to work as a freelance illustrator, traveling extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Central America. While traveling he kept "notebooks" filled with icons and ideas from his journeys, which eventually became his illustration portfolios. To this day, he continues to create such notebooks, and says most of his imagery grows out of them.

In 1982 he moved to New York to pursue illustration full-time, and published his first book a year later. Since then he has published more than 50 books and created two animations. He continues to work as a freelance illustrator for major publications in the United States and Canada, and also creates one-of-a-kind and limited-edition books and paintings, which are sold in galleries and included in the collections of major museums in the United States and abroad.

In 1992 the United States Library of Congress honored Drescher with a solo exhibition of his work, which also has been featured in solo shows in the United States, New Zealand, and Canada.