About me: I was born in Germany, but spent most of my childhood in Austria. As far back as I can remember I enjoyed drawing and other forms of visual expression.
After my basic education I entered the Bundesgewerbe- schule in Linz, Austria, where four years of study at the Department of Graphic Design prepared me for a career in advertising. In my senior year there I won a competition for a poster design; it became my first printed job.
I started as designer at an advertising agency in Vienna. My professional work revolved around graphic design and art, but I had always loved classical music equally well, and in Vienna I became fascinated with the viola d’amore, a baroque string instrument. For a year I studied with
Karl Stumpf at the Academy of Music; on the evening before our family moved to the United States I gave a performance of a Vivaldi viola d’amore concerto. That was in May 1959. My father, an aerodynamic engineer, had accepted a position with the Wernher von Braun team in Huntsville, Alabama, where he eventually played a key role in the development of the Saturn V, the rocket that propelled man to the moon.
My career in America began in Huntsville, but New York offered better prospects for graphic design and advertising, so I moved there in the fall of that year.
With a secure job as graphic designer, I got married and started a family. After four years in New York, I moved back to Huntsville to work at the Space Museum at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. This project involved planning the overall interior of the museum as well as creating and finishing exhibits and displays. In 1969 I moved back to New York.
Evening classes at the School of Visual Arts with
Seymour Quast and James McMullan prepared me to become an illustrator and open my own studio, Blumrich Illustration, in 1974. My illustrations were published in New York Magazine, The New York Times, GQ, Fortune, on book covers and record jackets, and in a number of trade publications. I also designed posters for UNICEF, created annual reports, company logos, and various advertising brochures and catalogs for corporations and many other clients.
In 1981 I accepted a position as information graphics designer at Newsweek Magazine, a position I held until 2002. At Newsweek I specialized in scientific and
medical diagrams, and transitioned from pens and brushes to mouse and monitor. Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and QuarkXPress were added to my arsenal of tools. I also taught an evening course for information graphics at the New School in 1982/83.
In 1982 I joined the Push Pin Group, an internationally renowned illustration and design studio. I was a member of the Group until 1993. Illustrations I created for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin in Germany turned into a very fruitful 17-year collaboration with art director Pospischil. He and I also collaborated on a number
of medical illustration projects for Hoechst Marion Roussel and Aventis.
Presently I like to paint when time allows, mostly in oil on canvas. My first paintings were landscapes done on Long Island, in California and in Colorado. Since then I have also painted portraits and still lifes, and more recently abstract paintings. Painting trips have taken me oversees to Italy, France, Germany and Austria. I have taught workshops at the Staatliche Akademie in Stuttgart, Germany, and near Florence, Italy.
Around 2005 I also became interested in building musical instruments. I read a few books about violin making, then designed and built a small baryton, a baroque instrument mainly known today because Joseph Haydn wrote some 150 compositions for it. Only three small barytons are known to exist in the world, and mine is the first in the United States. I also built a medieval vielle, a forerunner of the violin. For me these instruments are pieces of art as much as paintings and illustrations are. I am now busy building a second baryton.