Friday, July 03, 2015

Frank Furlong on Ardy Kazarozian, "the least commercial artist I've met."

It started with a comment on an old post I'd written about a series of 1960 Dodge truck ads that stood apart from the vast majority of car illustrations of the time. My friend Harry Borgman determined these beautiful stylizations were the work of Charles Wysocki. But then someone named Frank Furlong added a comment to that post that intrigued me... so I went looking for him on the internet, found his website and contacted him. Frank soon replied, and so began a most remarkable correspondence. I'll share much more with you next week, but for today, here's a little teaser from Frank Furlong. ~ Leif Peng


"I'm a great fan of Wysocki's Detroit days. Given I, of course am an admirer of his New England stuff, having most of his books, feel his work prior to that deserves more attention."


"When Wysocki left his Detroit studio I was hired to fill his spot. For very good reason I don't say 'replace him'. Seeing as [Bernie] Fuchs was the dominant illustrator in town I was trying to come close to what he was doing. But when I saw what Wysocki was doing I made a complete u-turn and gave up what was an uncomfortable quest, needless to say an impossible one.


"I guess the studio wasn't too disturbed by my switch as they kept me on as my work got more and more decorative and eventually whimsical."


"I'll start recollections as they meander thru my mind but first off I want to enter my theory that involves Detroit's Unknown Artist. I was working at a studio that hired(?) Ardy Kazarozian. I say hired(?) because they offered him no money, just a place to work and supplies. Ardy was the least commercial artist I've met but WOW! what an artist he was."


"The only real success he seems to have had were some jobs for Playboy but he was hired away from this studio by Art Group, Fuch's home. Maybe it's a coincidence but I'm convinced that the fact that Fuch's work steered away from his Austin Brigg's-type stuff to the more experimental pieces that brought him such deserved fame came shortly after Ardy joined his small studio."


"Ardy himself moved on to N.Y. and seems to have disappeared but it was a great pleasure to share space with him and call him a friend."

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