Gerald McDermott Anansi the Spider
Arrow to the Sun Jabuti the Tortoise

Gerald McDermott, born on January 31, 1941, was the creator of over 25 books and films. His unique approach of balancing modern art and traditional folk design was inspired by his work in film.

McDermott began taking classes at the Detroit Institute of Art at the age of four. He studied at a public high school for the gifted with an art curriculum based on Bauhaus principles. He was awarded a scholarship to Pratt Institute where he pursued interests in graphics and filmmaking.

He became interested in archetypal mythology and integrating their cultural symbols into art. The result was a combination of stylized figures and abstract motifs that combined ancient imagery with contemporary design. McDermott’s first book, Anansi the Spider, was written and adapted from his own animated film. It received the Caldecott Honor in 1973. Arrow to the Sun, his second book, was awarded the Caldecott Medal. He continued exploring myths and traditional tales and retelling them with bold strokes and dramatic flair. McDermott died December 26, 2012.


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