Barbara Nessim briefly worked in the textile industry after graduating from Pratt Institute in 1960. That same year, Nessim entered the Society of Illustrators’ 2nd Annual, and received recognition for her monotype etchings “Man and Machine”.
With this prestigious accolade, Nessim began receiving commissions and became a professional illustrator, appearing in such notable publications as Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire, Rolling Stone, TIME, Ms. Magazine, New York Magazine, and The Boston Globe, among others. Working as one of only a few women illustrators during the 1960s, Nessim paved the way for generations to come. Nessim’s art was also featured on album covers, calendars, various corporate projects, and international magazine covers. In the 70’s alongside doing illustration she designed shoes for Carber, as well as her own line of clothing Lady Vantastic for Lady Van Heusen. In 1980, Nessim was one of the first illustrators ever to experiment with digital art and illustration, using TIME Inc’s Time Video Information Services’ computers, serving as their Artist in Residence. Nessim has taught at the School of Visual Arts, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Pratt Institute, and from 1991 to 2004 she served as the Chair of the Illustration Department at Parsons The New School For Design, introducing computers into her curriculum which launched a school wide initiative. In 2013, a body of Nessim’s work was featured in an extensive retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. In 2015 she received Pratt Institutes’ Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to her illustration and teaching work, Nessim has also created several large-scale installations for public buildings in New York City. She is now working on a major show of paintings for the Malin Gallery in NYC opening October 15, 2020. Throughout her professional career, Nessim continued to create personal work which greatly informed her illustrations.
Barbara Nessim, The Bride As Groom & Groom As Bride. Ink and watercolor, 1968.