Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Frank Soltesz Remembered

"Some people are born with a natural talent that, when nurtured and developed through hard work and determination, not only provides them with a comfortable means of living but elevates them to a position of prominence and respect in their community and among their peers. Frank Soltesz was such a person; a small-town boy who loved to draw pictures and grew up to become one of the finest commercial illustrators of his time."

So begins the first paragraph of Frank Soltesz' biography as written by his son, Ken, on the website he built in 2008 to honour the memory of his father. Yes, there is now a Frank Soltesz website!

When I first wrote about Soltesz' remarkable cutaway illustrations for Armstrong's Industrial Insulations it set off a firestorm of interest around the Internet. But Soltesz himself remained a complete mystery. Out of the blue, this comprehensive Soltesz website appeared last year. I was so pleased to be able to contact Ken Soltesz and let him know how his father has a new generation of admirers. Ken wrote back:

"Thank you for your email and the very kind sentiments. I wish you had known my dad. He loved to "talk shop" with fellow illustrators."

"I may someday decide to redo the website - with a better presentation and more illustrations [especially more of his commercial work]. This was my first attempt at making a website, and it's a bit amateurish. When I do, I might like to see what you have. My dad saved examples of all his work, but one day he got tired of all the piles of magazines and he went through them, cut out all of his artwork, and pasted them into scrapbooks - using rubber cement. The glue seeped through the paper, badly discoloring the artwork. So now I have boxes of almost useless material."

"I've enjoyed your website; especially the pictures of other artists workspaces."

Best regards, ...Ken Soltesz

Armstrong Insulations was certainly one of Frank Soltesz' major advertising accounts during the late-40's... another seems to have been TWA Airlines. Usually Soltesz illustrated large single scenes as in the example above...

... but here's an interesting variation where the client utilized Soltesz' skill at rendering complex architecture...

... and his expertise with cutaway illustrations.

I encourage you to visit Frank and read this lovingly presented story of an illustrator who produced some outstanding and singularly unique work.

* My Frank Soltesz Flickr set.


  1. Wow - these are really incredible! I hadn't seen the earlier post, so thanks for revisiting it - I love cutaway/infographic illustrations.

    By the way, incredible work on the blog(s) - amazing how you continue to keep them afloat!

  2. Fantastic. It's so great to finally get to learn something about the man behind such fabulous work!!