Dear ASAI Membership,
My wife and I just returned home to The Sea Ranch from a 5200 mile driving trip over 8 states, the focus of which was the yearly ASAI/AIP Conference, this year AIP 32, held in Houston, Texas. For those who couldn’t make it this year and didn’t hear my story, I attended the University of Houston, College of Architecture in 1961, smack dab in the middle of Hurricane Carla. It was at the U of H that I started my long journey in design and presentation drawing and, as fate would have it, here I was returning there, now 56 years later and at the tail end of Hurricane Harvey, to humbly accept the Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize just across town from where it all began for me. It is the very best, professional honor an architectural illustrator can hope to be awarded. I can only imagine myself there at school, the quiet but ambitious 17 year old with dreams of becoming an architect, utterly incapable of even hoping that such an honor could lay ahead for me.
I mentioned to the crowd in attendance the night of the award presentation that it was so very special to speak to a gathering of renderers because virtually everyone there would know the effort and the struggle it takes to complete one of these art pieces we create, day after day, year on end for a lifetime. Unlike the fine artist, our art has a responsibility, first and foremost, to depict and display the built environment as a product for sale in the very best light while engaging the viewer to join in the experience and visit this creation we have staged and arranged just for them. Each effort needs to be a homerun. Some of them are not. And so we fall short and we learn to be better at our craft over time. If we are successful in that effort then we hope that it results in more work, better projects, involvement with bigger and more experienced firms and some success and recognition by our architectural purveyors and our peers. And with all of that comes responsibility, the kind that can weigh you down and break you or the kind that can make this skill we’ve learned the impetus for a lifetime’s dedication to being the very best we can be at what we do.
I have been so very fortunate to remain busy with wonderful clients and inspiring projects these last 5 decades. I am proud and humbled now to be considered worthy of the Hugh Ferriss Memorial Prize and to be able to share the stage with a distinguished and legendary group of my contemporaries who have won the award in year’s past. For me it is a culmination of a lifetime of hard work and dedication to my craft and it is truly an honor and a thrill to receive. As a member of ASAP and ASAI for some 22 years I have been presented with a professional forum to exhibit and compare the results of those projects alongside the best of the best in architectural illustration. It seems, therefor, that I have spent this lifetime of mine chasing the perfect rendering. I think I’ve come close two or three times but never quite there. So I must continue the chase and hope for success one day. The Ferriss Prize has convinced me I am on the right path and worthy of the pursuit…..and just in the nick of time!
I salute this year’s class of fellow award winners and all the members at large. It is an honor to be in the same company of people with such skill and talent. I marvel at your work and seek it out as inspiration and example each time I begin a project. I look through this year’s AIP 32 Catalogue and feel blessed to be included among such gifted and hard working illustrators. And from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank all the dedicated people in ASAI who do all the heavy lifting behind the scenes in the day to day running of our organization and, especially, in the effort to put on a Conference each year. Thank you Tina and your dear daughter Grace, special thanks to Corey and the hardworking Tiltpixel folks, the judges, the sponsors, the venues, certainly Frank, Steve and Jon, all the volunteers and helpers who always seem to go unnamed and everyone else I missed who did all that it took to arrange and execute this wonderful event. You have made this an unforgettable experience for me and for my wife, Gayle. Thanks to all.
Finally, and not counting all the many dozens of illustrators who’s work has inspired me over my lifetime, I have dedicated this award to 5 people who got me to that podium; Mr. Moore, my high school Mechanical Drawing teacher who’s class forever change the course of my life, my grandfather, Robert S. Anderson, who directed me towards architecture and gave me my first drafting tools, my dad, Al senior, who remains my true north, Doyle Jenkins, one of my U of H design and drawing instructors who sits on my shoulder each day of my life and does not allow me to settle for anything but my best effort and my dearest Gayle, without whom there would be no me!
Most Sincerely, Al Forster, Architectural Illustrator
PO Box 326
The Sea Ranch, CA 95497