NORMAN ADAMS and THE DREAM TEAM
of the very best of the best artists:
ARTISTS ASSOCIATES, 1963-2000
When technology gave civilization its movies it changed everything.
Technology later then came along to give civilization the TV that
changed things radically in every facet of society.
This radical change really hit society after WWII in the late 1950's into the 60's with its popular music, art and movies.
These radical changes caused a complete upheaval in the publishing industry by ushering out the “Old” which created a vacuum for a “New” publishing industry to thrive. (Until the arrival of the computer.)
Original Image painted by Artists Associates' Michael J Deas.
Hollywood provides perhaps the best window to these radical changes.
The movies that Hollywood initially used on a large scale to
entertain the public were its “Western” movies, “Cowboys
and Indians movies.”
Hollywood's early western movies were with singing cowboys like Gene Autry and then Roy Rogers. They were to Hollywood what the Model-T was to the automotive industry. The public loved it, Hollywood's singing cowboys.
Hollywood then improved their Westerns with the likes of Errol Flynn, Randolph Scott, Jimmy Steward and then John Wayne. And the public loved it even better.
TV then came along and more or less crippled the movie industry with shows like Bonanza and Gunsmoke.
This set the stage for an explosion in cinematography when an Italian writer/director by the name Sergio Leone came along. He started to make movies outside of Hollywood that TV had crippled. Hollywood and the Press reacted quickly with pejorative labels like “Spaghetti Western.”
In the early 1960's Sergio Leone took the best actors he could get from Hollywood and started to make movies that would radically changed the movie industry. Indeed his movies were so entertaining that they changed the public's perception of what a “good-movie” was. The overall result: Sergio Leone's Clint Eastwood made all of Hollywood's previous cowboy stars, especially the singing cowboy, like Autry and Rogers, look pale if not pathetic by comparison.
The exact same radical change happened in the publishing industry. The patriotism and propaganda of endless wars had turned the public away from the Old-magazines. And then TV came along for another blow. The Old-illustrators connected to the Old-magazines were like the Model-T was to the automotive industry, what the singing cowboys were to the movie-industry. The New-illustrators would be like the Ford Mustang, Pontiac GTO and the Dodge HEMI, and what Clint Eastwood was to the movie-industry.
When TV's more or less added the final blow to the Old-magazines it left masses of the Old-illustrators unemployed. (For example, when the Old-publishing industry was thriving the Charles E Cooper Studios alone had over 60 Illustrators.)
When even the best illustrators of the Old-publishing industry were either gone, dead; or, like Norman Rockwell, more or less “unemployed”; one of Charles E Coopers Studios employees, Bill Erlacker, did what Sergio Leone had done.
Erlacker recruited the best of the very best illustrators he could and formed a proverbial “Dream Team” of commercial artists with his Artists Associates, 1963-2000.
This Dream-Team would not only survive but thrive for another three decades after the best of the Old-illustrators were all long gone or dead. Four of Erlacker's Dream-Team are already in The Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame: Mark English 1983, Robert Heindel 2011, Fred Otnes 2011, Murray Tinkelman.
One of the first artists Erlacker recruited in 1963 for his Dream-Team happened to be also working for the Charles E Cooper Studio at the time, Norman Adams.
The New-publishing industry succeeded with the New-magazines because they returned to entertain the public. These New-magazines were like Readers Digest, and outdoor magazines like Sports Afield, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life, that entertained the public mostly with entertaining stories about ordinary living, often with images from nature and the sports and hobbies connected with nature.
Norman Adams' realism in his wildlife paintings was so impressive on the cover of these magazines that they more or less became the standard that all other artists had to compete.
Indeed it was the popularity of these outdoor magazines and their realistic wildlife images that set the stage for the Wildlife Art movement that followed in the 1970-80s.
The Artists, like Robert Batement, Carl Brenders, John Seerly-Lester, might have made Wildlife Art popular but it was not with their original paintings but with their reproduction so called “Limited Edition Prints” that printing companies, like Mill Pond Press, made popular. Many of these prints were often if not routinely photo-edited to look better than their original. And often these Limited Edition Prints were not very limited because not infrequently the printers would give unlimited numbers of so called “Artists Proofs” for the artist to sell as a bonus.
But when it came to impress the public with original paintings Norman Adams did what he had been doing all his professional life. Since his earliest days he instinctively knew that, when it came to painting and drawing, competition could only motivate him to do better. It was his relentless drive for perfection that had originally impressed the professionals of commercial art and the companies that used commercial art.
This inbuilt drive towards perfection is not unique in human history. Mozart and Beethoven had it in music, Michael Jordan and Pelé had it in sports.
When it came to submitting a painting for an art show Norman Adams did what he had been doing all his professional life: he first measured his competition and then he painted a master-painting that would impress the public like no other.
And thus it was: Norman Adams' master-paintings at art shows always came across like a proverbial Ferrari that made all the other original paintings of the other artists look like Fords, Chevys and Dodges.
Norman Adams on... Facebook … Flickr and Charles E Cooper's Babe Ruth Story