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Phillip M. Perry Interview: Brushware Anniversary


As part of our 125th-anniversary celebration, Brushware is offering an article related to the history of the magazine in each edition for 2023. For our third installment in the series, we have the following interview with long-time Brushware correspondent, Phillip M. Perry.

Current location?

I still live in New York City, but long ago moved downtown to the Soho area.

When did you start with Brushware and how did you get connected with the magazine?

I have many fond memories of my early days working as a freelance writer providing material to Brushware. I had just moved to New York City in 1977 a few years after I launched my freelance writing career fresh out of college, and had set up shop in a small windowless office. It was just north of Times Square at 1600 Broadway in the Studebaker Building — so named because many decades earlier it had served as an automobile factory and showroom. I think the rent was $120 a month. (By the time I took up residence in the building it had become a center for motion picture editing). I got wind of Brushware through its listing in Writer’s Market — a directory of magazines using freelance work. I began writing profiles of brush makers for Carl Wurzer.

What is your favorite aspect of working with Brushware?

My favorite part of working for Brushware is the interviewing that I do for my stories, most of which center around employee or financial management. The magazine has published my annual economic forecast story for seven years running. I hope readers get some useful information from it.

Do you have a top highlight or favorite story of working with Brushware?

One time I had the pleasure of meeting Carl when he visited New York. Another time when I traveled to Washington, D.C., we enjoyed a visit to a brush manufacturer with his editor William Magnus. Most of my profiles were of companies in the New York City area. I also took two train trips around the United States, writing up profiles along the way for Brushware as well as a half dozen other trade magazines, taking pictures with a twin-lens Yashica camera using Kodak 120 film. The film was processed by a fellow from Malta who had established a photo studio a few blocks away. What fun!

What do think is the key strength of Brushware?

I think the key strength of Brushware is the in-depth industry knowledge of everyone involved.

How do you think Brushware can best serve the brush industry community going forward?

Ask brush makers about their key concerns, then address them in the stories.

Do you have any final thoughts or comments on the 125-year anniversary of Brushware magazine?

I love how the magazine has changed over the years. It has continually grown in sophistication and in its devotion to reader service. Here’s to another 125 years!

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