Time, Sports Illustrated, the NFL, the PGA, the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea all have this much in common: They’ve each featured artwork by Bart Forbes.
Forbes is a North Dallas-based illustrator and painter who has created masterful works of art for a list of clients that includes magazines, sports-team owners, corporations, and the U.S. Postal Service.
During the past 40 years, Forbes has painted his way through a successful career that did not go unnoticed. This year, members of the New York Society of Illustrators inducted Forbes into their Hall of Fame.
“After having done it all these years, I was really surprised that the Society of Illustrators decided to put me in,” Forbes said.
The New York Society of Illustrators is the oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of illustration in America. The Society’s HOF was started in 1958 with Norman Rockwell as the first inductee and remains a fairly small and exclusive club with just more than 200 members.
According to the society’s website, artists are elected by former presidents of the society and are chosen based on their body of work and the impact it has made on the field of illustration.
“It is a real honor to think that they would value my work that much because it is a small hall of fame,” Forbes said.
The road to becoming a celebrated artist began when Forbes was a young boy.
He remembers drawing on any blank page he could find, and he can’t remember a time when he didn’t love to draw.
He pursued his love for drawing at the University of North Carolina and graduated with a B.A. in Art in 1961. After a brief time in the military, Forbes returned to his passion and enrolled in the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena, California.
Advice from one of his professors brought Forbes to Dallas in 1965 to begin his career in illustration. The advent of overnight postal service allowed him to remain based in Dallas while still acquiring clients in other parts of the country. Soon, Forbes was widely sought after for high-profile projects.
With incredible modesty, Forbes recalls his many projects from over the years that range from album covers and U.S. Presidential postage stamps to the Olympics and the Dallas Cowboys. And even though he has earned a place in the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame, an honor he calls a “lifetime achievement award”, he isn’t putting up his paint brushes any time soon.
With his focus more on gallery painting now, Forbes can be found in his home studio transforming blank canvases into beautiful landscapes, always searching for his favorite painting: the next one.