Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Ben Jaroslaw: “one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.” - Bernie Fuchs

From David Apatoff's issue-long article on Bernie Fuchs in Illustration #15, we learn that Ben Jaroslaw "was already an accomplished car painter when Bernie arrived in Detroit." I asked David if he had anything more on Jaroslaw, and he very kindly contacted Bernie Fuchs, who provided the information that follows...

(Below, the earliest example of Jaroslaw's work I could locate, circa 1954.)

Ben was good at whatever he chose to do. He didn’t start out painting cars, he started painting figures and one day decided that he was going to do cars. When Ben started painting cars, it was customary to paint them with airbrush. Almost everyone in Detroit painted them that way, and Ben was very good with airbrush but Ben and fellow painter Al Wilson decided they wanted to try painting cars using a real brush.

They got rid of the airbrush and did such a beautiful job that clients couldn’t even tell the difference.

Bernie was younger than Ben, and Ben was “very encouraging.” They worked together as a true team. Bernie was responsible for doing the background figures, but both artists worked together on the whole ad, going over and over how the figures should look, or how the lighting should be arranged.

(Below, a 1957 piece by Fuchs and Jaroslaw)

Ben had extremely high standards and he was very involved in the photography and the whole look of the picture. Bernie learned a great deal from him.

Ben was a fantastic golfer, and almost turned pro. He taught Bernie how to golf (including his trademark swing) and continued to play golf all his life. Bernie thinks Ben was never sure he made the right choice in picking illustration over golf.

(Below, two ads by Ben Jaroslaw, both from 1960)

After Bernie left Detroit for New York, Ben stayed in Detroit and became involved in sales and management of The Art Group, the studio that Ben, Bernie and a few other artists founded.

* My Ben Jaroslaw Flickr set.

* Many thanks to David and Bernie for their assistance with today's post.


  1. Interesting to see the boat in the background on that last image. That's the National Park Service boat, Ranger III, which is still in service taking visitors across Lake Superior to Isle Royale National Park.

  2. Anonymous7:23 PM

    Ben's company was called Art Staff.

  3. Actually, the studio was Art Group & Artstaff. My first job in the business was there in 1964 as a mat room apprentice working for minimum wage which at the time was $1.25/hr. Great foundation for my now 50 year career in advertising as both an art director and illustrator.--Big Al Gruswitz,

  4. I worked for Ben Jaroslaw too at ArtStaff (and yes, it was originally ArtGroup) as an Illustrator from 1984 - 1994. It was an amazing experience to work there producing art for the big ad agencies. Ben was an amazing artist with an unbelievable eye. By this time he was "off the board" as it were and assumed the role of representative.
    You can see some of the work I did there on my website at particularly the Chevy truck stuff.