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5937 Carversville Road
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Michele Melcher Illustration, Philadelphia based illustrator, artist, painter.

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Illustration of The "Poe Toaster" for Baltimore Magazine.

Michele Melcher

Who IS the Poe Toaster and when will they show up?

Who IS the Poe Toaster and when will they show up?

I recently had the opportunity to work on a really interesting assignment for Baltimore Magazine about the "Poe Toaster" tradition. For anyone who is unfamiliar with this curious character, here is the backstory:

Beginning in 1949 (or possibly somewhat earlier), on the night of the anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth (as January 18th becomes January 19th), a mysterious stranger has entered the cemetery and left as tribute a partial bottle of cognac and roses on Poe’s grave. The identity of the stranger, referred to affectionately as the “Poe Toaster,” is unknown. Out of respect, no attempt is made to stop or hinder him. Several of the bottles of cognac from prior years are kept at the Baltimore Poe House and Museum.

On January 19, 2012, after three successive years in which there was no appearance from the “Toaster,” the tradition was declared officially over. However, in 2015, the Poe Society of Baltimore and the Maryland Historical Society held a contest to choose a new Poe Toaster. That person was selected in November and will make his/her first official appearance this January (2016). At this time, the Historical Society and the Poe Society refuse to divulge any details on the new Toaster including the person’s identity, what his/her costume will look like, what his/her tradition will consist of, etc. The only details that are given is that it will still take place at Poe’s grave at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground on January 18-19, 2016.

More information about Westminster Hall and Burying Ground can be found here.

Information about Edgar Allen Poe's Grave the Poe Toaster tradition can be found here.

Big thanks to Kellie at Baltimore Mag for the Art Direction!

 

 

Portrait of Chelsea Clinton for Chicago Tribune Printers Row Journal

Michele Melcher

Here is a portrait of Chelsea Clinton that I did for this week's Chicago Tribune Printers Row Journal. She has penned a book titled " It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired and Get Going!". The book, for young readers, discusses facts, charts, photographs and stories that give a deeper understanding of the world around us and how anyone can make a difference. It includes stories about young people who have made real changes big and small—in their families, communities, our country and across the world.

Chelsea Clinton portrait illustration for Chicago Tribune Printers Row Journal.

Chelsea Clinton portrait illustration for Chicago Tribune Printers Row Journal.

Chelsea Clinton Portrait

Chelsea Clinton Portrait

Portrait of Author, Mario Vargas for Chicago Tribune - Printers Row Journal.

Michele Melcher

I have really been enjoying creating author portraits for the cover of the Chicago Tribune Printers Row Journal. I never know who I will be drawing. When the art director sends me the reference to work from, it's kind of like opening a present. This week's author was Mario Vargas. Below is the final cover layout of the journal and under that, my final art sans background color. I send a white background for the final and the art director will then drop in a background color according to what color the book jacket is. 

Cover illustration of author, Mario Vargas for Printers Row Journal.

Cover illustration of author, Mario Vargas for Printers Row Journal.

Portrait illustrations for California Real Estate Magazine.

Michele Melcher

I wanted to share with you four portrait illustrations for this month's edition of California Real Estate Magazine for the article, "Reinventing Real Estate", by Jeannette Brown. The portraits are of top executives in the real estate industry: Joel Singer, CEO of the California Association of Realtors, Curt Beardsley, Zillow's VP of Industry Development, Luke Glass, VP of Industry Platforms for Realtor.com and Paul Levine, President of Trulia. Below, I have posted the spread as well as details of the portraits. The layout turned out great and the illustrations look fantastic! 

Spread

Spread

Joel Singer, CEO - California Association of Realtors

Joel Singer, CEO - California Association of Realtors

Curt Beardsley, VP of of Industry Development- Zillow.

Curt Beardsley, VP of of Industry Development- Zillow.

Luke Glass, Executive Vice President of Industry Platforms - Realtor.com

Luke Glass, Executive Vice President of Industry Platforms - Realtor.com

Paul Levine, President of Trulia.

Paul Levine, President of Trulia.

Medical Cannabis - Reefer Madness.

Michele Melcher

Medical Cannabis

Medical Cannabis

Whatever way you look at it pot has come a long way since the 1950's scare tactic days of "Reefer Madness".  Still classified as illegal by federal law, it has long been preached as a gateway drug to "worse things" by those who oppose it. Or is it?

More recently it has been gaining recognition for it's medicinal properties, ranging from help with chronic pain and chemotherapy relief to anti-anxiety and even as an anti-seizure medicine. Because of it's status as a schedule-1 drug, marijuana research is unfortunately less about scientific proof than it is word of mouth user accounts. As written in Time Magazine's June 23rd article, "23 states and Washington, DC, laws allow doctors to recommend cannabis products for their patients for medical reasons. But with little in the way of solid scientific evidence for which products works best, and in which doses, it’s up to the patients to adopt trial-and-error to figure out which, if any cannabinoids help to relieve their symptoms."