Ilona Royce Smithkin and her Mermaids

Today I went to visit my friend, 91 year old Ilona Royce Smithkin, to take a look at her mermaid drawings. Ilona has been drawing mermaids for about two years and she would like to make a book of them someday. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. If you are interested in purchasing one email me at and I’ll contact Ilona for you.
  • she is so cool!

  • she is lovely…and talented!

  • Al

    How sweet and very special this post is! I was an art director in magazine publishing for many years in NYC. I see that Ilona has great talent. Ari, you should help her get to a book publisher asap! I'm sure they could match her up with someone to tell a terrific story about the mermaids. Good Luck. As always, love to visit your wonderful blog. P.S. What is the going rate for one of these lovelies?

  • Oh, pleeease tell us your story, Ilona!
    Thank you, Ari, for another fine vid.

  • What a lovely treat!
    The one of the mermaid floating in the current…I think that is my favorite!
    …but then the thoughtful mermaid…
    yes, please, make a book from them, then I won't have to pick just one!
    I would love to meet this lady, she certainly sounds very interesting and wise 😉
    A side note…I have been to two places recently and saw a wonderfully stylish woman at each…but no camera and rather at a loss as to how to ask to take their picture if I had one…and how to ask so they didn't smack me with their handbag!!
    How do you do this? Or are New Yorkers simply more open to this?

  • I like her. I like everything about her. Thank you so much for bringing Ilona into my life this way.

  • These mermaids are so sensual!

    Would it be possible to print some mermaid post cards signed by Ilona of Advanced Style? This way the mermaids could still be in the book and on postcards as well. I'd love to send such postcards to friends!

  • I can't believe how beautiful Ilona's mermaids (and HERSELF) is – does she alsway draw using red?

  • she is lovely :X:X:X


  • Anonymous

    Again, Ilona makes my day! 🙂

  • Ben
  • Anonymous

    I love the idea of the postcards! That way, those of us who don't have much money could afford them. I know Ilona deserves to make decent money from her artwork – she is, after all, a professional artist – but it's also nice when there's a range of ways to afford her work… (This reminds me very much of when Edward Gorey did postcards books of some of his works. Such a great idea!)

  • Thanks! I understand that Ilona might not like the idea of printing postcards. And yet, as I saw her mermaids I thought they were calling for being sent as messengers to long lost friends or greatly missed friends. Ilona's mermaids would give solace to those who are sending them and to those who are receiving them. That's what I think and that's what I would tell her to convince her.

  • Definitely agree with the two previous comments that suggested Ilona make a set of postcards from the drawings! I would love to buy one of the drawings that show the mermaid from the back, especially the one with the large fish, but I'm sure I can't afford one. They are just gorgeous, like Ilona herself! Thanks for sharing them with us.

  • I am so very inspired by your blog! I think Ilona is a true inspiration in every sense of the word. All these lovely ladies are full of so much creativity,life, grace, and beauty. I am 27 years old and I aspire to be exactly this way- confident in myself and taking every joyful moment in…and the not so joyful with a postive attitude. Thank you for sharing all color and life!

  • I am so inspired by your blog! I think Ilona is a ture inspiration in every sense of the word. All these lovely ladies are so creative, bold, beautiful, and charming. I aspire to have a ounce of the grace and elegance they do. I hope in my life, like these women…I am able to experience the joy and the not so joyful with a postive attitude. Thank you for sharing all the color and life!!

  • Anonymous

    is she hungarian? like a name called Ilona? It's a hungarian name

  • I spend the summer of 1989 living next to Ilona in Provinetown. I manager Poor Richard's Landing. She would come in ever morning while we all read the NY Times and had our coffee, around 730am, with flowers that she would be painting that day. The light means everything in her studio. Some times were for painting, others for teaching, others for rest. We would swim in the artic cold water in the afternoon, good for the heart she would say. Her mink eye lashes a signature, she always speaks of love and color and finding beauty in everything around us. She worked that summer on large canvases, Monet style, as well as a series of only "eyes." One of my few regrets has been not visiting with her more often. She is an inspiration to humanity to have survived the war, almost starving, and building an amazing art career and always embrasing life with love and positivity. Refreshing, isn't it? I think I will book a flight today!