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Classic Posters Interview With Penelope Fried by Michael Erlewine

Classic Posters Interview With Penelope Fried by Michael Erlewine

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Published by Michael Erlewine
These are articles on concert-music posters and poster collecting from the site ClassicPosters.com founded by award-winning archivist of popular culture Michael Erlewine who founded All-Music Guide, All-Movie Guide, Astrologyland.com and many other popular Internet sites. All articles copyright and written or produced by Michael Erlewine. Do visit ClassicPosters.com in its current incarnation.
These are articles on concert-music posters and poster collecting from the site ClassicPosters.com founded by award-winning archivist of popular culture Michael Erlewine who founded All-Music Guide, All-Movie Guide, Astrologyland.com and many other popular Internet sites. All articles copyright and written or produced by Michael Erlewine. Do visit ClassicPosters.com in its current incarnation.

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Published by: Michael Erlewine on Jan 09, 2011
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Classic Posters Interview with Penelope Fried by Michael Erlewine
 
Classic Posters Interview withPenelope Fried by Michael Erlewine
 
Background and Training
Wednesday May 9th, 2001San Rafael, CaMichael Erlewine: When was Bob born?Penelope Fried: Okay, he was born inApril 7, 1937 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, NewYork.Eric King: Well, he and Victor
Moscoso…
 Michael Erlewine: Is that how they kneweach other?Penelope Fried: They met here, but they
had… I think Victor was a little older or 
ahead of Bob at Cooper Union. Bobwent to school in Brooklyn and wantedto go to art school. His father insistedthat he go to commercial art school, sohe went to New York City College andstudied graphics.Michael Erlewine: What do you call him,Robert or Bob?Penelope Fried: Bob.Penelope Fried: So after that, he didwork for a while at an agency, but he got
a scholarship to go to Cooper Union …
 Michael Erlewine: Can we back up?Penelope Fried: Yeah.Michael Erlewine: To the best that youknow, how did he get into art as a kid?Penelope Fried: Oh, he was an artist.He took classes at Pratt, you know.Michael Erlewine: At what age are wetalking about?Penelope Fried: Probably between 11and 14.Michael Erlewine: Really.Penelope Fried: Yeah, Yeah.Michael Erlewine: So he's alwaysdrawn?Penelope Fried: Always.Michael Erlewine: Do you know whatkind of stuff?Penelope Fried: Well, figurative a lot ofthe time, although Bob's father originallywas a clockmaker and a horologist,actually.Michael Erlewine: Really!Penelope Fried: Which is a person whostudies time. And he's written many,many books and dictionaries of timepieces and mechanisms and he createdmechanisms. Well, he did all of his ownillustrations, but he also taught Bob.One of Bob's jobs in the family was todo these very, very precise illustrations.[Henry B. Fried, "The WatchEscapement," "Bench Practices forWatch and Clockmakers"]]Michael Erlewine: Wow.Penelope Fried: So even as a youngperson, you know, his father wastraining his eye.Michael Erlewine: When you say
precise… What would be a picture… of 
what? An Illustration?Penelope Fried: You know the inner
workings of ancient… antique clocks …
 Michael Erlewine: Do any of these existanywhere? Are there any copies of thiskind of work?Penelope Fried: Well,
you know what…
I think there are, but when Bob's father
died, about five years ago, his… Bob's
sister dispersed the books and gavethem to other members of the family, notto my son. And that was a
 
Classic Posters Interview with Penelope Fried by Michael Erlewine
 
disappointment, so I think they exist withother Frieds.Michael Erlewine: I see.Penelope Fried: Clifford Fried in Florida,I think has some there.Michael Erlewine: I'd love to get some
pictures of that, just to show folks…
That's amazing!Penelope Fried: Yes.Michael Erlewine: At an early age, hecould do technical illustrations?Penelope Fried: Oh yes! And I mean hisfather Henry did the first prototypetalking clocks and watches for a Swisscompany. And he did gyroscopes formissiles and all..Michael Erlewine: In high school, whatwas he doing? Was he doingillustrations for his father then?Penelope Fried: I think he was doing a
lot of … I mean I haven't seen a lot of 
those works, but he did, how am I goingto put this: He liked figurative works. Hedid a lot of figure work, a lot of portraits.Eric King: What media was he going towork in?Penelope Fried: He worked in charcoal
and graphite, and he did also…What
else? Umm.Michael Erlewine: Was he involved in
school, like high school… A lot of these
guys did high school publications,cartoons, etc. It doesn't sound like hewas a cartoonist.Penelope Fried: No, no. He didn't dothose. He was more into his personaldiscovery.Michael Erlewine: When we were atVictor Moscoso's, we saw one of myfavorite Bob Fried pieces, would be oneof the ones he did on acetate, theGrateful Dead poster of skeleton onstilts walking across books. I saw it forthe first time in person.Penelope Fried: Oh yeah.Michael Erlewine: I mean I've seenpictures, but I've never seen the realthing. Really pretty amazing to me, theconcept. The concept of time, clocksand so on. Did he ever talk about that?Did he ever have anything to say aboutthat particular poster that you know of?Penelope Fried: I don't really remember.
I remember sort of the time, the era… I
mean he's called a visionary artistMichael Erlewine: He is that.Penelope Fried: I mean. In his work so,you know when you say 'conceptual', it's
 Michael Erlewine: Well that he was.
Penelope Fried: Yes, I mean… but that's
what he played with.Michael Erlewine: When I saidconceptual, really that's what I'm talkingabout.Penelope Fried: Yes.Michael Erlewine: The reason I liked himso much is because he was visionary,and also was a master, to me, of a kindof understatement, you know gestures,like in that Euphoria poster.Penelope Fried: Yes.Michael Erlewine: It's one of my very
favorites, but it's just… a little
understatement.Penelope Fried: MmmmMichael Erlewine: So high school wasn'ta big drawing event for him, like for theschool paper or any of that stuff.
 
Classic Posters Interview with Penelope Fried by Michael Erlewine
 
Penelope Fried: No. I would say he wasa little shy, you know. He pushedhimself out into, you know, sort of moregregarious situations, although he was avery funny, sort of very humorousperson. So in high school, he probablywasn't a great student, but he wasreally, you know, sort of focused on hisown work and discovering what his ownwork might be.Michael Erlewine: So even then, you'resaying in high school his work was art!Penelope Fried: Yeah, yeah.Michael Erlewine: That's something.Penelope Fried: Always.Michael Erlewine: What kind of moreformal art-school training did he have?Penelope Fried: Well, as a youngperson he went Pratt. He had classes orwent to classes on the weekends andhe continued to do that. He went to NewYork Community College and studiedgraphics.Michael Erlewine: Do you have any ideawhat years these are?Penelope Fried: That must have beenabout between 1957 and 1959 orsomething, as far as I know, because Ididn't know him then.Michael Erlewine: Somewhere we needto know how he came from the Eastcoast to the West Coast. When did youknow him?Penelope Fried: I met him, I think, in thelast year that he was at Cooper Union.At that time, he also had anotherscholarship to do printing at Pratt. Hedid stone litho work at Pratt, in Brooklyn.
And at Cooper he did… one of his
teachers was Nick Corone. I don't knowif you know him?Michael Erlewine: I don't.Penelope Fried: It's interesting, becauseI just read something about himrecently, so you know it came back intomy mind., Nicholas Corone was a highlyregarded teacher at Cooper Union atthat time, and he was a figurativedraughtsman. And I think it, that's whereBob became very involved in abstractwork, very large abstract paintings.Michael Erlewine: I've seen some ofthem.Penelope Fried: Very large.Michael Erlewine: I should ask you whatyou mean by very large.Penelope Fried: Probably 8x10 feet.Michael Erlewine: Very large!Penelope Fried: Yeah. These wereexpressionistic, abstrac
t expression…
big.Michael Erlewine: What ever happenedto them, you don't know?Penelope Fried: You know, I don't,because, we were out of the country forsome time. And I think they just gotdispersed. I don't know where thosevery early pieces are. I don't know ifthere's anything at the BrooklynMuseum. Maybe they gave him a show,
you know a local show in 1967… 1968
maybe, or 1970. Maybe later. Oh yes,maybe then! But anyway, so hegraduated from Cooper Union, I think, ifmy memory serves, in 1962. And hethen got a Fulbright Scholarship to studyin Spain.Michael Erlewine: Really!Penelope Fried: And he actually had twoFulbrights, one after the other.Michael Erlewine: That's great!

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