Since 2003, David McLimans (1948-2014) contributed significant illustration art to these pages, most recently for the articles about Teach For America in Rethinking Schools’ spring 2014 issue (pp. 39 and 42). Tragically, David passed away on the first day of spring this year. He was the dearest of friends and a major contributor to my long career as an art director. It’s one thing to lose a close friend, quite another to experience the absence of a true collaborator, one I leaned on heavily while art director for Rethinking Schools. He was one of those rare illustrators to whom I could assign most any problem and feel confident that he’d respond with a smart and visually stunning graphic solution.
As close friends in Madison, we spent countless hours taking long walks, conversing, sometimes ranting, about our world and its problems. In spite of all the woe, David was never one to express anger. He preferred bemusement and humor, creating wonderful art that mattered. He invited the viewer to enter into an understanding through the deft application of typography, symbolism, texture, color, and a profound sense of form.
David McLimans the artist still lives, speaking through his art, still illustrating our human condition. Here are but a few examples of David’s graphic art, created in sympathy with the idea of teaching and the hope of a more just world.