ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rob Keil is an award-winning advertising art director and filmmaker from the San Francisco Area. A lifelong fan of Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman’s work, he met and became friends with Fitzpatrick in 2010. The two began collaborating on a documentary film project that would eventually evolve into a book. With the help of Fitzpatrick and Kaufman’s families, as well as other collaborators and collectors, Rob has created an informative career retrospective of these remarkable illustrators. This is his second book.
MY JOURNEY WRITING THE BOOK
AF/VK. These four initials were my only clue as to the source of the fantastic Pontiac ad illustrations I found in my dad’s old National Geographic magazines. As a ten-year-old, I had no connections in car marketing, no internet, and no way to figure out who AF/VK was. But the images were so spectacular that I never forgot them. In fact, I ended up becoming an advertising art director, probably in large part because of them.
Many years later, thanks to the internet, I found out that AF was Art Fitzpatrick. He was alive and well in the San Diego area and we corresponded via US Mail and e-mail. Soon I approached Fitz (as his friends called him) with the idea of doing a biographical video about him. He agreed, so I videotaped many hours of interviews with him, and he provided me over 100 digital images. VK turned out to be Van Kaufman, who had died in 1995. But Van’s son Kris graciously agreed to be interviewed, and revealed that Van had saved hundreds of artifacts of his career, including proofs, tear sheets, sketches, slides, and tools. Soon I was poring over these treasures, like an archaeologist who’d just found the holy grail.
When the project evolved into a book, the resolution of the images that I needed was much higher than what I originally needed for the video. So I decided to seek out and photograph as many original pieces of AF/VK artwork as I could find. Original advertising artwork is very hard to come by, but some pieces had somehow found their way into the hands of collectors and museums. And luckily, Fitz, Van, and a few other individuals had kept some original art.
I made several trips around the country photographing original AF/VK illustrations, over 100 in all, in high resolution, calibrated for color accuracy, many of which appear in this book. Every person and organization I contacted was glad to help. And every one thought that a book of Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman’s incredible work was overdue. I agree– half a century overdue.
Art Fitzpatrick & Van Kaufman: Masters of the Art of Automobile AdvertisingAuthor: Rob KeilISBN: 978-0-9779236-2-5Binding: Hardcover with dust jacket200 pages, 196 illustrationsDimensions: 11.25″ x 8.75″ x 0.8″Publisher: Advection MediaPrice: $55.00 + $6 Shipping USA
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