ART FITZPATRICK & VAN KAUFMAN
Illustration|Illustration No. 73
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.
Rob Keil

Automotive illustration of the 1965 Pontiac Grand Prix. (The car was painted by Dale Gustafson.) Gouache on board

L to R: Van Kaufman, John Delorean, and Art Fitzpatrick, 1968

As a ten-year-old, I had no knowledge of car marketing, no internet, and no way to figure out who AF/VK was. What I did know was that I loved car advertising and that the most stunning examples usually had those four initials written on them.

Fast forward to my first class on my first day of college. I had enrolled in a course called “Advertising Layout and Book Design.” The instructor talked about what an advertising art director does. It all clicked. Within 90 minutes, I had decided what I wanted to do for a living.

Many years later, I tried Googling “AF/VK Pontiac.” Not only did this reveal the names Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman, but the fact that Fitzpatrick was selling prints of his artwork. Along with my print order, I sent him a letter describing how his work had inspired me and ultimately helped shape my career. He wrote a nice letter back, and we kept in touch.

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