In 1960 Dodge Trucks ran an ad campaign that was very forward-looking. Smart, colourful, stylized illustrations were featured in a series of magazine ads (and for related brochures and catalogues) positioning Dodge trucks in a distinctive, contemporary light.
Kudos to the art director who sold the client on this approach - and to Dodge for going out on a limb by agreeing to such a unique presentation of their product line! This must surely have been a risky decision.
Charles Wysocki, a first generation American of Polish heritage, was born in Detroit in 1928. He describes the early years in Detroit as "tough times
" and says, "I didn't have a perfect childhood. Nobody does because it's not a perfect world. I did have a wonderful childhood because I made it a wonderful world.
The community that Charles grew up in consisted mostly of immigrants who took great pride and pleasure in celebrating the traditions of their new homeland. These joyous opportunities and celebrations offered by American freedom became the theme of what Charles would remember and portray in his artwork.
Wysocki's father wanted Charles to become a mathematician. Charles graduated from Technical High School in 1946. He enlisted in the Army and did duty as a sign painter. In 1954, Wysocki enrolled through the GI Bill, at The Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles. He began a career as a commercial artist in Detroit. He soon abandoned it for the more independent life of freelancing. Returning to California, he married and established his home there.
When Wysocki was a commercial artist, he longed for a more creative outlet. In 1960, on a family vacation to New England, his wife, Elizabeth, urged him to pursue a career in fine art. With his wife's steady encouragement Wysocki started painting. He took some of his work to a gallery and was offered a one-man show. Within a month, all of the 40 paintings sold.
Wysocki has been designing and painting an award winning annual Americana calendar since 1971. He contributed his painting. The White House Fourth of July Picnic
, to the presidential art collection in 1983 during the presidency of Ronald Reagan. In 1987, he was awarded the Medal of Honor from The Daughters of the American Revolution for artwork that "exemplifies our heritage and for the values that have made our country strong.
" The Richard Nixon Library's exhibit of Wysocki's work in 1991 drew thousands of visitors. Included in this display was his commissioned piece, "The Young Nixons
", and his open edition print, "Home Sweet Home
has named Charles Wysocki one of the ten most influential artists since he first entered the print market in 1979 (March, 1999). US Art
also named him, Master Artist, (January, 1999) and was placed amongst America's Top 25 Best-Selling Artists by Decor, June, 2002.
Charles Wysocki passed away July 29th, 2002. Wysocki has two published books, "An American Celebration
" and "Heartland