Friday, June 01, 2007

Al Parker: 1969

The last paragraph of Al Parker's biography in Walt Reed's Illustrator in America says, "Parker moved to Carmel, California by 1961, and with the demise of many of the magazines, his output of illustrations was curtailed. He continued to do occassional assignments for publications such as Sports Illustrated and Boys' Life."

I had heard once that Al Parker became disillusioned with the way the illustration business had experienced such a dramatic decline in the early 60's, but when I asked Parker's friend, Barbara Bradley, about this she wrote back, "I did not hear him speak of disillusionment. He may have been but always seemed to be busy on something. The only time he had trouble is if he were not given a deadline. Western magazine (the Southern Californian AAA magazine, commissioned him to do a cover, the subject being wildflowers. I saw some of his sketches, among them a beautifully designed bouquet of wildflowers. He said that he'd never finished it because they told him to do it whenever he wanted. He NEEDED a deadline."

And David Apatoff kindly contacted Bernie Fuchs on my behalf with the same query and got this reply via Bernie's wife, Babe:

"I checked with Bernie and he said he had never heard anything about Parker ever being "disillusioned" with illustration. He thinks Al just wanted to try something different, and decided to move to California. At that time there was no FedEx or overnight deliveries and so it may not have been as easy to work for NY AD's from there. Bernie remembers a bunch of American Airlines ads Parker did in the 60's and of course he always worked for Boy's Life because the AD was such a good friend."

My thanks to Barbara, David and the Fuchs' for helping to clarify this point.

*The Norman Rockwell Museum is about to showcase Al Parker's work in a major retrospective. Go to the Rockwell Museum's site for more information.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks to all your contacts, you're giving us quite a lot of background stories!