October 23, 1948-December 28, 1986

Shirts raise a T-hee

From The New York Post
Wednesday, June 1, 1983

By France-Michele Adler

"I don't know if I should say this but it originated with my mother and my aunts," explains Joel Resnicoff, the cartoonist and fashion illustrator whose fashion victims--those rotund caricatures--reside not only on his cards but now on his T-shirts.

   Humor, it seems, really is the best revenge. After hobos and bag ladies punched serious fashion in the nose, pachiderm-sized dames in tacky-wacky get-ups are shattering "la mode" on 34th Street.

   Since last Friday, the cartoon windows he designed for Macy's have stopped traffic on 34th Street.

   "It's fun.  It's so New York," exclaim passers-by, pointing to the cardboard silhouettes and reading the cartoon captions inserted in bubbles.

   The windows celebrate the opening of Resncoff's shop on the fourth floor where white T-shirts silkscreened with his caricatures sell for $13.

   "They're for anybody with a sense of humor," says Resnicoff who, unlike his cartoon characters but very much like his fashion illustrations, is all skin and bones.

December 1, 1960 -- 7th Grade

...In School, I take directions, hand in my work on time, but I have one very big problem: that is my mouth. I love to talk. I make friends wherever I go and sometimes that isn't good, because then I am inclined to talk to them, and maybe it's during class....

...I know I'm no angel, but I try, and that's good....

...I try my my art room, shop room, core room, and math room. I hope my friends like me for what I am...because I won't pose as someone else. I'll be what I am, and that's good enough for me.  I am what I am, and I am not a bit dissatisfied.  
Page under construction,
in honor and memory of my brother,
Joel Hirsch Resnicoff

If friends have photos or comments to contribute, please email them to me (Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff), at
Click here for more of Joel's
   wonderful illustrations and art.

Click here for Joel's "ResniCards"

Click here for Joel's Ads and commercial designs.

Click here for Joel's Esprit creations.

For old photos of Joel himself, click here.

Click here for 1981 Hit Parade article on Joel.

To read the eulogy
delivered at Joel's funeral, click here.
    Joel was the middle brother, 2 years younger than Arnold and 4 years older than Steven.  He, like his brothers, was born in the Columbia Hospital for Women, in Washington, DC.  When he was only 2 months old, the family moved from SE Washington to Hyattsville, MD -- the suburb of Lewisdale -- where he would grow up, first attending Lewisdale Elementary, then Mt. Rainier Jr. High, and then Northwestern High School, Class of '66. He studied for one year at the University of Miami, in Florida, then at Parsons School of Design in NYC for two years.  He worked first as a fashion illustrator for Women's Wear Daily for seven years, later branching out with a career that included water colors, oils, and paintings--including commercial paintings and displays for stores like Macy's and Bloomingdales; "ResniCards" -- a series of greeting cards, often poking fun at NY City and its people; the 1986 summer season of clothing, including shirts and scarves, for Esprit, plus various t-shirts, sweat shirts, and even beach towels, for a number of companies--and his own NY shop; a series of  mannequins, unlike any others(!), for Discoveries, Inc.; and even some eye-catching billboards in Scandanavia. Two Japanese books that listed "avant garde" artists in America included Joel -- as the only artist listed in both books.

     Joel's life was always touched by hope -- and fun-- because he loved life and loved his friends; he loved Manhattan --his adopted city; and he loved and treasured his ability to use colors and form to create art that reflected his unique way of looking at the world... But his life was also marred by tragedy and pain. At his Bar Mitzvah, in 1961, a tragic car accident took the life of his uncle and permanently injured his aunt, who lost her hand.  In 1984, when countless opportunities were opening in terms of his career, he was diagnosed as HIV+, and began a valiant two year struggle against the diseases that his body could no longer fight, while AIDS was still a relatively unknown condition.  He tried everything, even moving to Hawaii for awhile, because friends thought that "clean air and clean water" could help. When he returned, frail and physically weak, he moved back to his old room in Lewisdale, to live with is mother, Blanche, for his final six months -- and she lived 24 hours a day in his hospital room for the last three weeks of his life.

     On December 28, 1986, Joel died in the Washington Adventist Hospital, in Takoma Park, Maryland. He was buried Dec 30 in his mother's family plot, in Mount Ararat Cemetery, in New York, alongside his Uncle Sol, who died the day of Joel's Bar Mitzvah.

May he rest in peace. May his memory -- the memory of his smile, his conversation, his ironic observations about our world and its people -- and his art, which we, thankfully, still have with us -- continue to be a blessing to the living.


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