Norman Rockwell was one of Americas greatest illustrators of this century who made many significant contributions to the field of graphic design with his works that promoted patriotic unity, conveyed the national scene, and often time just evoked or inspired emotions in his audiences. Ironically this painter was regarded as an illustrator in the eyes of other freelance artists due to his occupational limitations, and his supervisors restrictions characteristic of the Saturday Evening Post where he did most of his work from 1916 to 1963. Rockwell was born on February 3, 1894 and since his childhood years had always aspired to be an artist. Instead of finishing high school Rockwell left high school to attend classes at the National Academy of Design and later on the Art Students League in New York. Here Rockwell was recognized as an above average illustrator with good potential. Rockwell then after developing his skills and contributing many illustrations to childrens magazines, managed to muster up the courage to show his work to a bigger periodical, the Saturday Evening Post. Happy with the quality of Rockwells work the Post gave Rockwell a job creating illustrations and cover art for its periodicals. This would be his arena, revealing his works to thousands of people, for over forty years. During this period Rockwell painted portraits of various celebrities and persona. Rockwell was a "people painter" and predominantly worked with the depiction of emotions inspired by his models. Rockwell always took particular care in picking and choosing his models as he was very pragmatic and wanted them to exhibit characteristics that met with his peculiar standards. During his time with the Post, Rockwell often made illustrations that effectively conveyed events taking place on the national scene. During different periods in American history Rockwell used his special skill in detail to capture and portray illustrations that accurately reflected the emotions felt in the hearts of Americans at the time. Rockwell made several illustrations exhibiting events like the Great Depression and World War I. In fact during the second World WarRockwell was motivated by President Roosevelt himself to create one of his greatest projects, The Four Freedoms Paintings, illustrating each of Americas fundamental freedoms and revealing the reason behind the United States participation in the war. This Four Freedoms Project is one that reflects Rockwells great generosity and kindness as a person. Rockwell agreed to this project and devoted much of his time to this great endeavor not because of the money, which was not at all comparable to some of his other works, but because of the opportunity to unite and promote the national spirit that country needed to come together and win the war. Then during the sixties and the Civil Rights Movement Rockwell made illustrations portraying the cruelty of racial discrimination and prejudice. Even during his old age Rockwell still maintained a productive artistic life. As typical with most artists, there was no retirement with Rockwell. He still continued to create illustrations that touched the hearts and reached out to the emotions of his nationwide audiences. Although he eventually settled down and disappeared from the public eye before his death Rockwell was never given the appreciation and consideration he deserved until after his death. However, today Rockwells works are celebrated by almost everyone and serve as a reminder of his greatness in taking the life or emotion out of everyday people in everyday situations and capturing them on paper.
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