Monday, May 22, 2006

The Art of Phil Hartman








I loved Phil's art before I ever knew him and I watched him on T.V. and movies way before he became my brother in law. Phil died May 28, 1998. A day that changed the trajectory of many lives. But I don't want to talk about the day or way he died, I want to talk about his art. John and Phil were very close and they were born in Brantford, Ontario Canada. There were 8 Hartmann children all together. They came to California in 1959 and John went to work in the mailroom at William Morris in 1961 and worked his way up the ranks in the entertinment industry. When he became an integral part of the music business he was able to help Phil get job's doing album covers of many of the seminal rock bands that changed music as we know it. John managed the bands and Phil did the album covers. I have posted a few samples of some of the now famous covers that you might not realize Phil created. He was a very talented graphic artist as well as just an all around talented artist and he was good at pretty much anything he put his mind to. He spent 9 years on SNL which is probably the longest of all the comedians, he cowrote Pee Wee's Big Adventure with Paul Reubens, he played Captain Carl on The Pee Wee Herman Show, for the Simpson's he did the voices of Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure, he was in over 2o movies and he played a wonderful character on News Radio as part of a great ensemble cast. Back to the art, you can see from these paintings that he really had a creative mind and hand and the Poco horse and CSN logo are sheer genius! Their Mom, Doris had a real creative spirit and was a wonderful artist herself and owned a very cool shop in San Juan Capistrano for many years. We really miss Phil , but he lives on in reruns on t.v., movies, his artwork, his children, brothers and sisters and friends and fans.
You might have noticed on the picture of Phil, he signed it to John using the name Chippie. That is because everybody in his family called him Chippie, John's daughter (my stepdaughter ) Ohara named him this when she was a very little girl

1. America's Greatest Hits 2. Poco Seven 3.Poco Legend 4. CSN logo used on many album covers and this was a patch they made for Jackets 5. Poco Cantamos

16 comments:

RHoward said...

Thanks for sharing this. I had no idea that Phil had created those album covers. This is a nice tribute.

Janet said...

Nice tribute,Val! I knew that he did album covers, but I didn't ever know which ones.

shawn said...

Oh Val. First, I need to say I'm deeply saddened for you and your husband .. for suffering such a huge loss. I didn't know about Phil's wonderful graphic designs skills, or that he cowrote that hysterical movie "Pee Wee's Big Adventure" which now I'm so honored to know about. But I DO know he was this huge talent. Larger than life huge. And that he left a huge void with this world when he left it. And a flood of tears.

Thank you for this post. And, in honoring "Chippie" the way you have.

I think I'm going to get off the computer now and just be silent for a moment in honor of him.

My heart and thoughts are with you and John and the rest of the family during this last week of May.

Aravis said...

Val-

Thanks for sharing this side of Phil, one I never knew. I was always impressed by his talent, and now I'm even more amazed. My heart goes out to you all during this week. May his memory bring more smiles than tears.

Always,
Aravis

Brian the Mennonite said...

Whenever a Canadian makes it big, we feel a certain sense of pride and ownership in the fame. Phil is part of a very special group who have had sustained success. Now he is even bigger that what my imagination allowed, because of your post. Thanks for telling. I was very sad when he died. And you're right about the reruns...he still makes me laugh out loud.

Amy Zaleski said...

Val, this was such a nice post. I wasn't aware that he was a graphic artist at all! I was a big fan and remember 'Captain Carl' very well. I always like hearing his voice in "Simpsons' reruns.

Roz Foster said...

Interesting story. What a horrible tragedy that was. I loved him in _News Radio_. He was just fantastic. Seems like few people knew he was an artist, too, including myself. Thanks for sharing this, Val. Be well this week.

flossy-p said...

Of course we all know Phil. You were lucky to know him so intimately. Like everyone else here I also had no idea about his wonderful art. Thank-you for sharing it, it's a very special way to remember him. Take good care of yourselves this week. We'll be thinking of you.

Michael O'Connell said...

thank you for sharing this story… i know how much i miss his work and he was only a tv friend… i cannot imagine your loss… i believe that he was the most talented SNL has ever had… and that, as you well know, is saying a lot…

vicci said...

I didn't know who had created these album covers...and some of them happen to be some of my favorite albums! I love CSN...and POCO has always been a favorite of mine! I haven't heard anyone talk about Poco in a long time! Cool Val! I am so sorry about your loss...life is soooo sad sometimes!

michael dailey said...

Wow, Phil Hartman and Poco, never would of guess he did the art work on those ablums. He truely was a talent and is truely missed. Thank u for sharing that wonderful tribute to your bother-in-law Val. Even though he is gone he still touches and brings laughter to us all though what he accomplished while he was here with us.

camera shy said...

amazing
i love news radio
and phils voiceovers
for the simpsons

and integral part of my adult childhood

amazing that you knew him
amazing to know this about him

thank you for sharing

Lois said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing your story about Phil Hartman. I believe it's true, that myself and many many people feel saddened every time they hear his distinctive voice, or silly face mostly because we know there was so much more art in him. You having known him on an intimate level must feel that so much more intensely.

miriam grace said...

What a great, great thing to share! I came here by way of illustration friday and the name Phil Hartman caught my eye immediately. My husband and I still cry about him being gone, and we certainly didn't know him personally. He was a favorite, favorite with us! I am amazed to find out that he did those album covers that I know so well! I can't wait to share this with my husband. Wow.

Glen said...

I first found out Phil Hartman was an album cover artist when I suggested Poco modify their horse logo (from "Legend" to be combined with their horseshoe logo (from "Seven"). Mary Young (Rusty's wife) then informed me Phil had created the logo, and since he had already passed they were hesitant on modifying anything about it, preferring to leave it as is. Now that I know from this website that he created _both_ album covers (as well as the beautiful "History" album cover for America), I have to say he had an absolute KNACK at creating iconic covers. I dare say he rivals Kosh in eye-catchiness, and would almost say he compares to Hipgnosis (whose legend has grown over the years due to their involvement with Pink Floyd). Phil is definitely up there as one of the most talented and consistent cover artists from my favorite era.

Anonymous said...

Here's what the CSN logo looked like in print: http://i.imgur.com/H9AgL.jpg