gratitude-a-thon day 17: debby lucke

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Debby Lucke’s “Fresh and Hot Tortilla Portraits.” Ya gotta love her, right?

Last night on Facebook, my friend Debby Lucke posted something that reminded me why I am so grateful that 28 years ago, the creative director at my first advertising job paired me with this girl. The post was of tortillas with faces burned onto them. “Fresh and Hot Tortilla Portraits” is what she called them. And it’s part of what makes her one of my absolute FAVORITE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD (and a genuine one-of-a-kind, there-will-ever-be-another person). First of all, I LOVE the idea that debby has found a whole new way to make art. This is what I love about art in general, that people take the time to make beauty out of nothing. I believe it’s vital to what makes us human, and I literally BOW AT THE FEET of anybody who creates art in any shape or form. Because I think that the world can’t be as bad as it often sounds like it is, if people are taking time to make tortilla portraits. I’m pretty creative, but I must admit to having never considered creating anything with tortillas, except a big fat burrito (with lots of guacamole, DON’T YOU JUST FREAKING LOVE GUACAMOLE!). Anyway, Debby is hands down THE most wildly creative person I know. She draws, paints, writes, and apparently now does tortilla portraits. i met her at my first copywriting job at a small Boston agency. With exceptional intelligence, a quirky sensibility, an insatiable curiosity, a bunch of advertising awards and an insane work ethic, debby was the perfect person to be my partner, and teach me about advertising. Together we: did some amazing work, smoked cigarettes (until my mother called and told me she had lung cancer and I quit that very day, never to pick up another DISGUSTING cancer filled killer again), drank coffee, discussed every aspect of our childhoods, survived her marriage and divorce, my break-up with a serious boyfriend, and subsequent meeting of my husband, sang the entire Carole King album Tapestry instead of doing work, lived through my moving to another agency, and then to New York to get married, and then back again, where we freelanced together, stayed friends through her move to New York, my infertility, both our career successes and woes, her new boyfriend, my kids, her dog, the film she wrote and directed (and paid $100,000 of her own money to make), the horror of 911 (I instantly called her over and over the minute it happened, but couldn’t get through, and finally did by accident, and helped her call some other people to let them know she was safe), her moving out of the city and into the country, and becoming a children’s book author, and eventually a tortilla portrait artist.

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The completely original, totally unique, and amazing Debby Lucke.

Our lives are such that I never see her anymore, except on Facebook, but I can’t tell you how much I LOVE HER, HOW MUCH SHE HAS INFLUENCED ME, AND HOW GRATEFUL AND LUCKE (I couldn’t resist!) I AM TO KNOW HER.

16 thoughts on “gratitude-a-thon day 17: debby lucke

  1. Toni, I love you too! And I miss working together and just being together. I don’t sing enough these days. Although I still maintain singing Tapestry was work! Who knows what will spark an idea.

    I’m overwhelmed by your caring and your ability to put your feelings into words. I’m putting it in my will right now that your blog entry shall be inscribed on my tombstone even if I’m cremated. (It will have to be a very large tombstone.)

    1. i really miss you. and it’s probably hard to believe, given that i never see you, just how much. you are someone i’m desperately grateful to have had/have in my life. the way you see the world and live in it, has influenced me enormously. morbid as it is, i like the tombstone idea. but you’re gonna need the side of a barn! xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  2. Everyone should be so Lucke to have someone like this in their professional and personal life! Can’t wait to read the Gratitude a Thon about Guacamole!

  3. I was privileged to work with Deb once at a small, mighty Cambridge agency called Altman & Manley.
    I do not remember the client, nor the project.
    But.
    She suggested potato printing.
    Really.
    Yes.
    Really.
    Love her.
    Never forget that.
    Lucky me.

  4. Wow Toni, That was amazing. You are so great at putting it all into words. Love that about you. I have a question for Deb. How did she do it and how big is it? I love Deb’s illustration style! So fun!

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