ATLA January 2012 : Page 48

48 | the RADAR | Art What a Character! It took him more than 20 years, but after delving into his father’s belongings, Mark Redman was surprised to find more than just boxes and bills. | By Wendy Bowman-Littler | | Photography by Sarah Dorio | When his father, caricaturist Leonard “Lenn” Redman, died of pancreatic cancer in 1987 at age 75, Mark Redman didn’t have the heart to go through the 100-plus boxes and varied pieces of furniture bequeathed to him. Instead, he asked a cousin to pack up all of the belongings in his father’s Los Angeles apartment and ship them to him in Georgia. After moving around a bit, everything eventually ended up at Redman’s home on Lake Lanier, where it sat untouched in a storage room for 20-plus years. “My father gave what little money he had to charity, so I thought I was just stuck with boxes and bills,” Redman says. A busy executive in the throes of raising a family over the years, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that Redman found some downtime to sit and go through everything. That’s when Redman realized that his father had left him the things he loved the most. From 200,000-plus caricatures he drew of people from all walks of life to thousands of other pieces of art (including vintage Hollywood movie star pictures, many autographed) and other collectibles, Drawn to it Mark redman Redman realized he possessed the maintains his entire outcrop of his father’s more than father’s archives 50-year career from the 1930s to ’80s at his home on Lake Lanier. as a caricaturist, animator and artist in L.A. and Chicago. “The good stuff,” as Redman likes to say. “I sensed he was looking down on his only son—24 years after his death—finding out what he was hoping to have communicated to me: It is my legacy to bring his artwork to the public,” Redman says. Since he discovered the treasure, the 59-year-old information technology salesman has used his spare time to inventory, digitize, frame, archive and organize his father’s collection to create various exhibitions. He also hopes to pursue licensing opportunities and to sell reproductions, if needed, to help fund the massive project. A legend in his field, Lenn Redman started drawing cartoons for his high school newspaper | Jan/Feb 2012

After Decades, Mark Redman Discovers His Father’s Buried Treasure

Wendy Bowman-Littler

What a Character!

It took him more than 20 years, but after delving into his father’s belongings, Mark Redman was surprised to find more than just boxes and bills.

When his father, caricaturist Leonard “Lenn” Redman, died of pancreatic cancer in 1987 at age 75, Mark Redman didn’t have the heart to go through the 100- plus boxes and varied pieces of furniture bequeathed to him. Instead, he asked a cousin to pack up all of the belongings in his father’s Los Angeles apartment and ship them to him in Georgia.

After moving around a bit, everything eventually ended up at Redman’s home on Lake Lanier, where it sat untouched in a storage room for 20-plus years.

“My father gave what little money he had to charity, so I thought I was just stuck with boxes and bills,” Redman says. A busy executive in the throes of raising a family over the years, it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that Redman found some downtime to sit and go through everything.

That’s when Redman realized that his father had left him the things he loved the most. From 200,000- plus caricatures he drew of people from all walks of life to thousands of other pieces of art (including vintage Hollywood movie star pictures, many autographed) and other collectibles, Redman realized he possessed the entire outcrop of his father’s more than 50-year career from the 1930s to ’80s as a caricaturist, animator and artist in L. A. and Chicago. “The good stuff,” as Redman likes to say.

“I sensed he was looking down on his only son—24 years after his death—finding out what he was hoping to have communicated to me: It is my legacy to bring his artwork to the public,” Redman says. Since he discovered the treasure, the 59-year-old information technology salesman has used his spare time to inventory, digitize, frame, archive and organize his father’s collection to create various exhibitions.

He also hopes to pursue licensing opportunities and to sell reproductions, if needed, to help fund the massive project.

A legend in his field, Lenn Redman started drawing cartoons for his high school newspaper In the ’20s. He went on to become not only a caricaturist—drawing clever renditions of everyday people and well-known personalities from Sammy Davis Jr. To J. Edgar Hoover—but also an animator, artist, author, poet, illustrator, entertainer and civil rights activist.

“He loved to entertain and make people laugh, and he could knock out a live caricature in 10 to 15 minutes from a picture,” Redman says. While he knew drawing caricatures was a big part of his father’s work, he had no concept until recently of all the other art his dad produced in his lifetime. He discovered animation for movies such as Fantasia for Walt Disney, Oswald Rabbit drawings for Walter Lantz and the book he wrote How to Draw Caricatures that has inf luenced numerous aspiring artists both then and today.

He was most surprised to uncover sketches of his family in Chicago, Miami and Atlanta, as well as a large oil painting of Salvador Dalí that seemed to reveal an entirely new art form: abstract fi ne art caricatures or “articatures.”

In the past year, Redman has scanned and framed around 100 pieces of his father’s work and placed them onto almost every wall of his 5,000-square-foot home, complete with related pictures and documents from the diff erent eras.

“I know he’s smiling down, watching me go through all this,” says Redman, adding that he still has boxes downstairs he has yet to touch. “Both the main level and fi rst fl oor levels are completely fi lled,” he says. “I will defi nitely be at the top level before it all is done.”

The Lenn Redman Collection

Mark Redman has broken down his father’s collection into the eight portfolios listed below. He plans to create a family foundation with his daughters—Lauren Crump and Jacque Redman—and to assemble a team of supporters and curators to help take the collection to the next level. Vanessa Grubbs, the gallery director for Brenau University in Gainesville, Ga., has agreed to assist in these efforts. Lennredman.com

1 Caricatures More than 200,000 everyday people (his son’s favorites) and celebrities (including one of Muhammad Ali standing over Sonny Liston in the ring after knocking him out) drawn from the 1930s to ’80s.

2 Animation Various characters drawn through the ’60s for L.A. studios Hanna-Barbera Productions Inc. and Filmation Assoc., plus cels and roughing sheets.

3 Fine Art Includes paintings in oils, pastels and acrylics, showcased by oil paintings of Albert Einstein and the Harry James Orchestra.

4 Abstract Art Caricatures Drawings incorporating caricatures of artists like Salvador Dalí, Picasso and Henri Matisse into their own artwork.

5 Commercial Art Ads created in his Chicago studio in the ’40s for top American companies such as Walgreens and Westinghouse.

6 Civil Rights Movement Sketches of U.S. activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. And James Baldwin drawn in the ’60s.

7 Illustration Art Includes the What Am I? Series based on a poem he wrote in the early ’70s to help off set national and ethnic prejudice and later illustrated in books and largeformat color prints and published in 1980.

8 Collectibles Reference materials Redman saved from the ’30s to ’70s, from Hollywood celebrity photos to magazines and art books.

Read the full article at http://digital.modernluxury.com/article/After+Decades%2C+Mark+Redman+Discovers+His+Father%E2%80%99s+Buried+Treasure/929589/94353/article.html.

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