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Award-winning artist Robert Grossman’s (1940 – 2018) career spanned nearly 60 years. He grew up in Brooklyn, NY, attended Yale University, and after a stint at The New Yorker, embarked on a trailblazing career. Employing his signature airbrush style, he went on to illustrate over 500 magazine covers alone. National publications that featured Grossman’s distinctive, whimsical, and satirical caricatures, cartoons, illustrations, and sculptures include Time, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, The Nation, Esquire, New York Magazine, Mother Jones, National Lampoon, The New York Observer, The Atlantic, The Realist, Forbes, and many others. Grossman also illustrated numerous album covers, book jackets, and movie posters. including the iconic poster for the film AIRPLANE!. In the 1970s, he was a contributing editor at New York Magazine, and at the end of the decade, he began a successful career as an animator. His short animated film Jimmy the C received an Academy Award nomination, and he produced several Television commercials in the 1980s. As an author, Grossman’s 1975 children’s book What Can a Hippopotamus Be? is still widely read in Japan, and his epic illustrated novel, Lite on the Moon was nominated for an Eisner Award some four decades later. His artwork has been widely exhibited, including a solo show in Zurich, Switzerland, and at the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. His work has been both critically acclaimed and widely influential. In his own words, Grossman said he liked to “illustrate the un-illustratable”, and found the process of drawing “endlessly magical”. The idea that there are “an infinite number of little worlds waiting to be created on a piece of paper” forever excited him, as much in his final years as when he was a child.

Image credit:

Robert Grossman
Paramount Pictures, 1980.

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