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Arnold H. Skolnick was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1937. His mother, a competitive game player, Esther Skolnick (née Plotnick), won many bridge trophies, and shuffleboard trophies. His father, Samuel Skolnick, was a typographer, while music was his passion. He played hammond organ, piano, harmonica, mandolin & ukulele. He also sang, was a songwriter, and poet. The young Arnold was fascinated with pretty rainbows in the street left behind by leaking cars. This led him to want to create art for himself. While his father had been unable to make a living through the arts he did all he could to discourage his son from it as well. They were never able to see eye to eye. Although he was proud of his son in later years as Arnold became successful. Arnold graduated as an art major from The High School of Music & Art in 1955. His schooling continued as he attended the Pratt Institute in Manhattan's Greenwich Village. Upon completion he worked for Young & Rubicam, winning them 12 awards for best 'artistic' ads. While never feeling appreciated there he left to embark on his own company for as an artist his refusal to compromise his professional standards and his vision brought him out of the commercial advertising field, replacing it with art book publishing.
1969 Woodstock poster
Arnold Skolnick's 1969 Woodstock poster showed a white dove perched on the neck of an acoustic guitar.
Woodstock Ventures asked Skolnick to design a music and art fair poster. Skolnick's son Peter remembers watching his father cut out the words and bird from paper. He also remembers his father trying out different layouts. Skolnick was hired on a Thursday and delivered the poster the following Monday at about 11am. Although much money has been made from Skolnick's symbol, he received only one royalty check of about $15. While Skolnick has won many awards and many of his design solutions have become famous, perhaps his 1969 and his 40th anniversary Woodstock posters are his most famous.
Skolnick next started a company, Imago Imprint, that published, designed, produced mostly art books. It was established at 150 Fifth Avenue in New York City and led to a number of published books such as: Lightest Blues (Great Humor from the 1930s) and Paul Cadmus. His later company Chameleon Books led to many more art books such as: The Lyrical Constructivist: Don Gummer Sculpture, The Girl With The Watering Can, Hyman Bloom, Times Squared (Photographs by Toby Old). He also worked on projects with companies such as Carl Little, Pomegranate, Down East Books, Potter, Rizzoli, First Glance Books, and Chronicle Books.
Skolnick worked on titles and credits for To Kill A Mockingbird. He also worked with Linda Yellen as her assistant storyboarder, and with her on Playing For Time (1980) and Prisoner Without A Name, Cell Without A Number (1985).
Skolnick's drawings, paintings, and photography have been exhibited in Massachusetts at the Oxbow, Michelson & William Baczek Fine Art Galleries and also in various galleries in New York City.
- 1976 Rolly Michaux Galleries, 943 Madison Avenue, New York, NY
- 2010 Antique and Artisan Center, Stamford, Conn
Articles and reviews
- Hennessy, Christina, "Woodstock poster designer's paintings on exhibit in Stamford", Stamford Advocate, Friday, October 15, 2010