Sixties illustrations have always caught my eye. The simplicity and realism of a drawing – no retouching, no printing, just pen to paper.
This post is about a couple of commercial artists; introducing Art ‘Fitz’ Fitzpatrick, Van Kaufman and their team. During the 60s, one of the dominating US car producers Pontiac gave them the task of producing their brochures and advertising materials. These images were set to depict scenes of ‘glamour and sophistication populated by suave, cosmopolitan and well-attired individuals, always accompanied by a larger-than-life Pontiac with shimmering chrome and glistening paintwork’.
Although this illustrative style was not uncommon in automotive brochures and clothing advertising alike, Fitz and Van were the acknowledged masters of this style. The automotive game was no stranger to the pair as they had already been working for Mercury and Buick prior to joining forces. Fitz was in charge of layouts, rendering and details of the cars, while Van fleshed out characters and backgrounds.
These backgrounds were put together by the duo each year after having been away visiting the most glamorous watering holes around the globe: Rome, Paris, Monte-Carlo, Acapulco, Hawaii, Puerto Rico… They left no stone unturned. After this they decided which of the model’s available colours went best with the palate of the selected locale.
The effectiveness of the Fitz and Van advertising illustrations helped propel Pontiac from sixth to third place in the U.S. sales derby by 1962; outsold only by the more mass-market Chevrolet and Ford lineups. From then on Pontiac held the third-place position till the end of the decade.