Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Max Turner is an instructor at the California Art Institute; other faculty members include artists like Tony Pro, Glen Orbik, Ryan Wurmser, and many other greats. I first saw Max's work several years ago in his self-published book Faces. When looking at his charcoal head studies, I instantly thought they were reminiscent of Nicolai Fechin.
Max's world is all about faces. As a child, he would rummage through the trash, looking for the popular fashion magazines of the day, just to get a glimpse of the latest cover illustrations by Harrison Fisher or Jon Whitcomb. He was born in the small, and art baron, town of Bingham Canyon, Utah, and was a soldier in World War II, a printer, machinist, foundry worker, and eventually an instructor, artist, and sculptor.
There isn't much about Max or his work on the web, but after seeing the below photo on Tony Pro's Facebook profile, I was reminded of his drawings and set out to find his book and to see more of his work. His books, which now include Faces2, and Figures & Faces are not available through any means other than from him directly.
Without knowing any of his contact info, I stumbled across a site called Bonanzle which was selling some drawings and paintings under the name Max Turner. After contacting the seller, I found out that it was actually Max himself and I was able to purchase a book and a head study from him. The below image is a photo taken of my new drawing which I just got put in a frame.
It amazes me that Max, along with probably hundreds of other great artists are fairly unknown and unrecognized for their work. It may be the cost of being a teacher, and not a gallery artist, and perhaps they just live on through their students (Tony Pro, Jeremy Lipking, Aaron Westerberg and others in Max's case), but in any event, I wish they were more known and rewarded.
For me, my most influential teacher in art school was Brian Jekel. I can't imagine the sacrifices he has made just so young artists like myself could be set on the right path . . . I hope to someday make him and my other instructors proud by becoming the type of artist they dream of for their students.