Like most of the rest of us—according to Henry David Thoreau, anyway—Artist Saul Lambert lives what he believes is a life of quiet desperation, imprisoned at a drawing board in Princeton, N.J. while yearning to roam free. Saul has illustrated stories for us on fishing in Yugoslavia and on big-game hunting in Africa, but his exotic subjects never seem to take him to exotic places; his work on both articles was done at home.
"Why don't you ever send me anywhere?" Saul asked our art director recently. So we sent him to Florida to illustrate the story on retirement communities beginning on page 52.
To some—most notably Saul Lambert himself—this may seem like pretty feeble roaming for an artistic spirit, but the fact is that Lambert has been around. After graduating from Brooklyn College in 1949 with a degree in design, he headed for Israel with $8 in his pocket. He stayed there for two years, living in a kibbutz, picking oranges and just roaming around. After a two-year stint in the Army, he returned home to marry an advertising copywriter named Emily and the two of them headed for Europe. One year later, after a sojourn in Italy, they found themselves in England dead broke and had to borrow money to get home. After all that trekking, we are just as glad to have Saul and his family settled in Princeton.
A lot of SI art comes from Princeton these days; not only Lambert but four more of our artists live there. Every week Arnold Roth, Mike Ramus, John Huehnergarth, Bob Velde and Lambert—each afflicted with enormous talent and a kind of benevolent madness—get together to eat lunch and presumably, like all self-respecting free-lancers, complain to each other about assignments.
We had a spy in their midst last week, but the artists must have seen through his disguise. "No magazine gives us more freedom than SI," said Lambert, and the others agreed. "We're allowed our point of view, and that's why we knock ourselves out on each assignment."
The kind of freedom we grant our artists is not, to be sure, the freedom of living under palm trees and eating the coconuts that Bob Velde sometimes dreams about. As Lambert says, "It requires a lot of real self-discipline." As a matter of fact, one of the first sentences ever written by his 7-year-old daughter Katherine reads: "There is a lot of work in working."
Saul Lambert has that statement pinned on his studio wall, for to a true artist, as his daughter may have suspected, work is the real adventure.