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In Memoriam

Eric Schleef

16 December 1942 - 28 January 2009

A Recollection

Eric Schleef 66, was taken suddenly from this world on a winter’s Sunday, February 1, 2009. Born and raised in Lockport, New York, Eric as an adult living with his family in Indiana was a competitive marathon runner, Butler University basketball fan, an avid reader, and a member of Divine Savior Lutheran Church where he served as an Elder. Since 1987, he was self-employed, owning and operating Eric Schleef Illustration and Design, located in Indianapolis, specializing in architectural drawings and graphic presentation solutions. He was ably assisted with many business tasks by his wife Sandy.

He studied art and drawing at the American Academy of Art, Chicago, Illinois and completed a course in Commercial Art and Illustration from the Famous Artists Schools, Westport, Connecticut (where Charles Reid also taught and learned his watercolor skills). Eric developed a range of versatile techniques, including line/mixed media color illustrations and pencil with color sketches. An informal drawing, this pencil-with-color media - pastel, color pencils and/or watercolor – was applied to prints. The sketch was also often a component towards a finished drawing.

From the inception of his membership, Eric was an enthusiastic and active supporter of the American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI). He volunteered to run, and was elected to serve as a Board member, and then Treasurer for a few years. He was also a member of the Graphic Artists Guild (GAG) of New York.

Eric’s exceptional illustrations were selected and exhibited in ASAI’s annual international competitions and exhibitions Architecture In Perspective (AIP) – AIP 17, Brisbane 2002; AIP 16, Bozeman 2001; AIP 15, Kansas City 2000; AIP 14, San Francisco 1999; AIP 10, Seattle 1995; AIP 9, San Francisco 1994, winning the sketch Category Award; and AIP 8, Chicago 1993. He accepted an invitation to exhibit one of his pieces in the 1995 Japan Architectural Renderers Association (JARA) exhibition in Tokyo. Situated in one of the smaller urban markets for architectural illustration, he was always thrilled to have his work accepted into the national shows.

Besides his full-time practice and many awards, in January 2008, The Art Institute of Indianapolis announced the addition of Eric Schleef to their design faculty. Much to the delight of Madeleine Slutsky, President of the Art Institute of Indianapolis and wife of ASAI President Emeritus Rael Slutsky, having someone in Indianapolis with Eric’s thirty years of extensive professional

experience - as well as several years teaching seminars and workshops - made him a readily capable asset to the Art Institute’s already strong Interior and Residential Design program. Eric was highly regarded by his fellow instructors and his many students during what sadly became only a year’s position. Before his appointment, Eric mentioned to me his initial reticence about teaching drawing and illustration effectively, and organizing and presenting the course. However, according to Madeleine, excellent student reviews about Eric’s classes proved that reticence was for naught; his patient demeanor, commitment to excellence and his extraordinary illustration skills were a perfect combination.

I was not the only ASAI member who was taken with his unassuming, confident demeanor when I first met him some 20 years ago; he was always a pleasure to talk with at our many conferences in various cities - about his drawing work, creative interests, running, his small grey pickup truck with crank windows, his favorite NPR programs, or his grandkids.

During a visit last fall, which seems like only yesterday, I was at the Art Institute of Indianapolis for the AIP 23 exhibit, and had re-connected with Eric, sharing a sumptuous dinner with Madeleine and other friends at the Institute. I also shared an impromptu tour and laugh-filled lunch with Eric, Madeleine & Rael in the historic town of Zionsville, and then had a long, pleasant conversation with him as he drove me back to the airport.

There was much depth to this multi-talented man, which surfaced in response to a reciprocal kindness, and was always willingly shared. A key to this humble, but upstanding, man can be attributed to his appointed leadership role of Church Elder. The strength of his character emanated from the admirable (and tested) necessities this responsible position required – his having a good reputation, a love for God, a lifestyle consistent with Scripture, and a testimony of Faith. Many of these evident and other discovered qualities drew my greatest respect and abiding friendship.

Eric was a stalwart colleague, a dear friend and artistic inspiration to many of us in ASAI for nearly two decades. Everyone in ASAI shares deepest regrets for his wife, his three daughters and son, five grandchildren, and many relations at the closure of his earthly sojourn, and return to the Lutheran’s Throne of Grace. We were lucky to have shared our times with him.

Frank M. Costantino, ASAI Co-Founder, President Emeritus
Winthrop, Massachusetts

with assistance: Madeleine Slutsky, President, The Art Institute of Indianapolis
Rael Slutsky, AIA, ASAI President Emeritus, Chicago, IL

This picture was taken after the opening of AIP 23, hosted by Madeleine Slutsky's Art Instuitute in Indianapolis, this past October. Behind Eric is Connie & Helmut Keintz (who are from IND also) Madeleine, and the head chef for her cooking school and Frank Costantino.

The Indianapolis Star
Eric Schleef
FEBRUARY 1, 2009

Eric Schleef 66, was called home to be with the Lord on January 28, 2009. Eric was born in Lock port, New York in Decem ber 16, 1942 to Albert and Edith Schleef. He was self-employed, owning and operating Eric Schleef Illustration and Design, specializing in Architectural drawings. Eric was a marathon runner, Butler basketball fan, and avid reader. Eric was a member of Divine Savior Lutheran Church where he served as an Elder. He is survived by his wife Sandy; children Debra (David) Rhodes, Martha (Ron) Eiland, David (Tristan) Schleef, and Margret Schleef; five grandchildren; two brothers and one sister; and several nieces and nephews. Visitation is today from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., with a Celebration of Lifeheld at Divine Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church on Sunday, Feb 1st at 2:30 p.m. with Pastor James Schulz officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to Divine Savior Lutheran Church.

Friends may sign his online guestbook at:

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