PETER PALOMBI 1970-1975
Rosenfeld, Wilson, Palombi and Dilts, Inc.? Sounds like a law firm from a John Grisham novel. But it was the name of the studio that Peter Palombi organized with two art directors and a rep, while he was still in art school. They quickly got so busy that he dropped out of school, and I don’t know if he ever got his degree. Who cares? He got famous instead, and did some really amazing work. He only stayed at the studio for about five years and left around 1974 I think. He was well known in Los Angeles, but when he left the studio to go out on his own, he became one of the best known California illustrators of the period. He did national advertising, Playboy Magazine illustrations, Rolling Stone Magazine covers…he was the first one I know who was able to make it work, even before FedEX, Fax machines, and computers.
I was friends with Peter in Chouinard Art Institute and we were in the same class. In the first class we ever took, the teacher invited students to paint murals on the walls. Peter and his roommate Pat Nagel did a mural about the Watt’s Riots that were going on at the time. It must have been about 25 feet long by 14 feet tall in black and white and sepia. This was the first time I realized that being the best artist in grammar school, junior high school and high school, didn’t count for much. Everybody in the school had been the best in their previous schools, and they were just better.
When I graduated, I went to visit Peter, to see what work he was doing, and he asked me to help do a storyboard that night. I stayed and I wound up staying for five years. Peter was just starting, but I got to move up with him. He had always had a way of working with Rapido-graph pens and magic markers on vellum, where you would wipe it and smear it with toilet paper. It was mostly for comps and storyboards, but Peter was so good with it that he used it for finished art as well.
Here are some examples of finished work and comps he did with the markers. Only the bears at lunch was a comp. The 1920’s football player was done in dyes on vellum, and the Leyendecker style football player was oils.