Born in Seattle in 1920, Abe Blashko was a self-taught artist whose specialties were pencil drawings and lithographs of Depression-era figures. He dropped out of school to pursue his obvious talent for drawing and by age 18, he had his first one-man exhibit of prints and drawings at the Seattle Art Museum. His drawings and prints from the late 1930s and 1940s depict the “gritty edge of street life during the Great Depression in Seattle and New York” (Swann). After coming to New York City in 1943, Blashko made a career in illustration and was a contributor to The New Masses. He also taught at the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Art, New Jersey, from 1988 to 1991.
Musicians, workers, writers, and politicians were all subjects worthy of depicting for the artist. Inspired by Mexican muralists, Blashko focused his critical eye on all facets of daily life. In 1995, Blashko published a collection of prints and illustrations from New York City, entitled Saint Marks Place, East Village Scenes. These prints included several jazz musicians, like the print featured below.