Monday, June 29, 2009

Fred Ludekens, Close-up

The Summer 1964 issue of Famous Artists Magazine contains an extensive interview with Fred Ludekens (1900-1982), a member of the Famous Artists School's founding faculty.

Ludekens was born in Huoneme, California on May 13, 1900. When his father died the family moved to Canada and the artist grew up there, in Victoria, BC. After returning to California as a young man, Ludekens took a night class in art at the University of California Extension School. This would be his only formal training. Ludekens enjoyed drawing but was unsure of his ability to pursue commercial art as a profession - so he never submitted a single drawing until the last day of the class. His teacher, Otis Shepard, praised it highly, and this gave Ludekens the confidence to try free-lancing.

Ludekens worked for San Francisco ad agency, Foster and Kleiser painting billboards. In 1931 he joined another SF agency, Lord and Thomas, as an art director and moved in 1939 to that agency's New York office.

He returned to San Francisco in 1945 and devoted himself to illustration for the next period of his career.

He later became co-creative director of one of the most prestigious advertising agencies in the world, Foote, Cone and Belding (FCB).

With his extensive understanding of both the free-lancer's and the art director's perspective on advertising art, Ludeken's interview in Famous Artist Magazine provides the reader with some remarkably astute advice - as relevant today (dare I say, even more so) than when the interview was conducted nearly half a century ago.

This week, let's listen to what Fred Ludekens had to say about commercial art and artists. Along the way we will learn a little about this most distinguished mid-century illustrator - and about ourselves as well.

* My Fred Ludekens Flickr set.

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