Faculty Focus: The Remarkable Expressions of Age in Illustrations by FIDM Graphic Design Instructor and Fine Artist William Fogg

Self portrait by FIDM Graphic Design Instructor William Fogg.

Self portrait by FIDM Graphic Design Instructor William Fogg.

Whether the portrait emanates a maniacal grimace or a serene expression, FIDM Graphic Design Instructor William Fogg’s mesmerizing fine art will have you second-guessing whether you’re gazing into a photo or a drawing.

Working mainly in charcoal, graphite and oil on canvas, Fogg’s portraits capture deep emotion, with details that breathe life into his subjects through the fine lines, crevices, and shadows of each face.

“There is a story behind every face, and a universe supporting every story,” says Fogg.

Fogg has spent more than 40 years painting faces, and you won’t find a youthful subject among his collection. Some might say he’s been ahead of the curve by focusing on elderly subjects who are well into their Golden Years.

If fashion trends are any indication of shifting cultural perspective, it’s clear that America’s obsession with the beauty of youth is shifting to favor ageless style. Marketers are catering to demographics such as the 85-and-older market (the wealthiest and fastest growing demographic sector), and the 10,000 Baby Boomers who turn 65 each day, says David Wolfe, creative director of leading fashion trend forecast company, Doneger.

“Youth culture [has become] a contained niche market sector, not a group leading fashion trends for other generations, as it did in the past,” says Wolfe, in his Big Picture Fall/Winter 2012 Fall/Winter 2012 report.

Age begets experience, which makes for a more interesting art subject for Fogg.

“Real people who have the evidence of their experiences etched into their faces are the ones who interest me,” he says.

More recently, Fogg’s interest has shifted to masks as a new variation on his favorite subject, as well as colorful, mosaic-style pieces that focus on Goddess figures. As for inspiration– he simply follows his instincts.

Acrylic on canvas by William Fogg.

Acrylic on canvas by William Fogg.

“I don’t care about all those burning questions and controversies that surround ‘the making of art,’” he says. “At this point, I’ve been drawing and painting for so long that I really would not know what to do with myself without it. It’s personally therapeutic more than anything else.”

A graduate of Art Center College of Design with both a BFA in Illustration and an MFA in Fine Arts and Painting, Fogg has exhibited at more than 100 galleries and museums nationwide, including the Long Beach Museum of Art, Arnot Art Museum, and the Laguna Museum of Art.

Acrylic on canvas by William Fogg.

Acrylic on canvas by William Fogg.

Reviews of his work have appeared more than 70 publications including the Los Angeles Times, Artweek, and ArtScene. He is also a regular, contributing writer on art, film, and popular culture for periodicals such as Outré Magazine and Filmfax. He has illustrated several limited edition books, including Medusa at Rest, published by Grey Beard Press, and The Conqueror Worm, published by AJ Press.

Fogg has served as an instructor abroad at Centro Colombo-Americano (Bogotá, Colombia), Art Center Europe (La Tour De Peilz, Switzerland) and Anadolu University (Eskisehir, Turkey) and domestically at Otis College of Art and Design, and Art Center College of Design (Pasadena). He has taught in the Fashion Design, Interior Design, Graphic Design, and Visual Communications departments at FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising since 1980.

Various fine art portraits by FIDM Graphic Design Instructor William Fogg.

Various fine art portraits by FIDM Graphic Design Instructor William Fogg.

Questions/comments? Email the editor, Mani O’Brien at mo’brien@fidm.edu

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Author: Mani O'Brien

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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