Art, Illustration, would have had a Babe Ruth then it would have
been Norman Adams.
Babe Ruth was so
good at Baseball that he could pick the professional team he wanted
to play for. He chose the best team at the time, the New York
When Norman Adams
graduated from Art School in LA his technical skills and artistic
versatility were so impressive that the managers of the three top
Illustration agencies in NY wanted him. Norman Adams chose the most
preeminent Illustration agency in the world at the time, the Charles
E Cooper Studio that was like the “New York Yankees”
could pick the agency he wanted to work for when Commercial Art was
the most lucrative profession and there were thousands of perfectly
good illustrators in the world that would have given anything to get
an interview with Cooper Studios, let alone get a job.
technical skills were not the main reason the major Illustration
agencies wanted him, it was his artistic versatility. Back then most
successful Illustrators specialized, just like most doctors today
When Norman Adams
went to work for Charles Cooper he could do any job Cooper gave him.
Indeed Cooper hired Norman Adams because he knew that Norman could
do any job as well as if not better than his specialized “major
league “ Illustrators.
technical skills were at their best Norman Adams did something that
few artists could afford to do. In the mid 1980's Norman Adams was
paid to paint the most impressive paintings that would impress the
public, at art shows.
For nearly five
years Norman Adams was paid to paint … the best he could. Not
only did many of these paintings win all sorts of Best of Shows but
they were “show-stoppers.”
Adams is alive these major paintings are for sale by the original
owner who paid him to do these paintings. After he has gone these
original paintings and many drawings will also vanish from the open
market …. just like all the other original paintings of all
the other professional illustrators have vanished from the open
Golden Grand, 36”x76” oil on canvas painting by Norman
Grand Canyon painting with a life-sized Golden Eagle is by far the
most significant and stunning painting of Norman Adams. He painted
it for its current and original owner to be a “show-stopper”
for the most popular Wildlife Art Shows in the country during the
mid 1980s. It was far more than just “Best of Show.” It
was a routine show-stopper.
takes a genius to spot a super-genius.”
Most of us are
blind to all the creativity, talent, work and effort
hidden behind what pleases us, what entertains us.
Often only those
“entertainers” who must compete with each other
realize all the creativity, talent, work and effort
it takes to
entertain better than anyone else.
History gives us
example after example of how a genius is dumbfounded or awed by
greater genius, a super-genius.
Perhaps the best
example comes with the movie Good
Will Hunting. In the movie a Fields Medal winning math professor
discovers that a janitor, Will Hunting, played by Matt Damon, is a
genius far far beyond anything the math professor can imagine. The
professor tells the janitor that perhaps only five people in the
world are smart enough to be dumbfounded by the super-genius,
the janitor, Will Hunting.
the same. While the rest of the world was, at best, entertained with
Mozart's music it took one of the greatest composers of his
time, Antonio Salieri, to be literally dumbfounded by the
So too with Johann
Sebastian Bach. For over two hundred years Bach was unknown
to the world until two geniuses of music Franz List and
Frederic Chopin came along to be dumbfounded at the
super-genius of Bach.
When Norman Adams
was still a youngster he obsessively bought and procured
every magazine/ book that had illustrations by great Illustrators,
especially Robert Fawcett. Fawcett was so super-successful at
selling products, magazines and books with his images that the
less-successful Illustrators called him the “Illustrator's
Fawcett is buried deep under the hundreds of billions of dollars
that make “Modern Art” look good. But when Norman Adams
was awed by Robert Fawcett he was exactly like Mozart was to music:
Robert Fawcett was so super-successful at selling ideas, products...
magazines and books with his visual-images that he was the standard
by which “the most creative, successful, wealthy and famous
Artists School) the world has EVER known” would be
When it came to creating images that sells ideals, ideas,
products, books and magazines to the public
Norman Adams was not
just a genius but a super-genius.
And it took a genius –
the Illustrator's Illustrator, Robert Fawcett – to realize it.
By the time
Norman Adams arrived on a “red-carpet” at the Charles
E. Cooper Studio, in New York, Robert Fawcett was an old man.
Norman Adams met this old man, Robert Fawcett, only once. It was at
of Illustrators meeting.
The young neophyte
Norman spotted the Old Man, Robert Fawcett, at the other end of the
auditorium and was so intimidated by his idol/god that he had
around and lose himself.
Then what was
unimaginable to Norman happened: Norman’s idol,
Robert Fawcett, came up behind Norman and touched him on the
shoulder and -- just like Salieri must have introduced himself to
Mozart – the Illustrator’s Illustrator introduced
himself to the new kid on the block: Norman Adams.
Only after watching
the movie Good Will Hunting, and Amadeus, can one realize why Robert
Fawcett -- the Illustrator’s Illustrator -- would
go up and introduce himself to a neophyte, a relative unknown, like
Robert Fawcett had seen Norman Adams'
paintings, so he knew exactly why Charles E. Cooper rolled out the
proverbial red-carpet for the youngster Norman Adams. It was because
he had the technical skills and the artistic versatility to create
images that could sell ideas, products.... magazines probably better
than anyone else in the business.
Adams' legacy: I CAN DO BETTER
four words that work as the driving force behind all genius: “I
CAN DO BETTER.”
who cannot "do better" do not become geniuses.
Adams learned at a young age
that when it came to working with
visual images he had what it takes to: “do-better.”
matter what anyone else painted … no matter what he himself
painted, these four words always drove Norman Adams to bring images
alive on paper or canvas: better and better.