Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Lowell Hess (1921 - )
Lowell Hess attended the University of Oklahoma and was working toward completing a four year program in art, but WWII was in progress and Uncle Sam had other plans for the young artist. Hess never got to finish his degree. After his induction he served mainly stateside, but was shipped overseas near the end of the war. "We were among the last to go," says Hess.
Six months later he was back in America and attending Pratt in Brooklyn. He spent a year studying there before working in a small studio for six months, then trying his hand at freelance illustration. "It wasn't easy to find work."
Hess signed with an artist's representative and began getting assignments from major magazines. "Argosy, Collier's, Bluebook, American, Coronet, Boy's Life," he rhymes off the names, "but not the Post. I never cracked the Post."
Did you ever try going up there, I ask. "No, no... it was understood that if you worked for one, you didn't try to work for the other," he says. "I worked for the Collier group of magazines."
He moved to Connecticut and worked from home. I asked him if he had had artist friends to socialize with, remembering the famous artist's colony in Westport in those days. "No." says Hess, "That was my biggest regret about working with the rep. You end up working in isolation and they make all the contacts."
Today, Hess enjoys a weekly get-together with several local cartoonists, including Bob Weber Jr., the creator of Moose & Molly for the King features Syndicate.