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Enthusiasm to try it all motivates former executive turned sculptor/painter/writer
Story by Clare O’Shea, MA ’87 & BA ’84, with photo by John Emerson
UB degree BA ’61; Favorite sculptors David Boyajian, David Smith; Current project a book on sculptor/ painter Ted Egri Click here to see his work
Louis J. Slovinsky has spent his entire life creating art. His grandfather taught him to carve toys from wood; the nuns in grammar school asked him to draw intricate maps. “I was always drawing or copying something,” he recalls. Yet it wasn’t until he retired that Slovinsky took an art lesson.
Now 71, he is an accomplished sculptor and painter, with regular shows throughout New York State. Every bit of space in his Bauhaus-style home in Cross River, NY, is filled with art—by himself, his wife, Joan, and other artists—spilling into the garden and garage. “I’m doing really old-fashioned three-dimensional pieces,” he says of his work, “but I like it—I have the luxury of saying the hell with you if you don’t.”
Good-humored and frank, Slovinsky describes his life with an enthusiasm that makes you want to go out and do something. It is no surprise that he built a successful career in the art of communication. Starting off in the NBC mailroom, he worked his way up to become Time Inc.’s chief spokesman; he was senior vice president of corporate communications at HBO when he retired.
Slovinsky has been drawn to words since his childhood in Shenandoah, PA. A coal miner’s son, he used to visit the town dump for reading material: “I picked up magazines like the Saturday Evening Post and Life, shook out the crap, and brought them home. They introduced me to a broader world.”
UB opened up that world even further. Slovinsky enrolled in 1957, working nights at Buffalo General Hospital and summers at Bethlehem Steel. One of his favorite professors was Oscar Silverman (1903–1977) of English and the Libraries, “a man of sharp wit and great grace.”
After college, Slovinsky settled in New York City and eventually landed a job at Time Inc.—where he stayed for 30 years. “I was surrounded by great magazine writers,” Slovinsky says. “It was like being in perpetual graduate school.” He jumped at the chance to retire early, however—“I had so many other things I wanted to do.” He has taught writing, learned how to fly a plane and published a book, Alan Siegel: On Branding and Clear Communications (Jorge Pinto Books, 2007).
“There’s nothing I’m not afraid to try,” says Slovinsky. “I just have to live a long time.”
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