Bob Schulenberg was born and bred in Los Angeles, moving to Fresno for his father’s business when he was a teenager, then back to L.A. to attend UCLA where he forged some relationships that have been lifelong. After college, Schulenberg did what all able-bodied healthy American boys did in the 1950s – he went into the service. After the service he returned to L.A., living in the family’s hillside cottage in Beverly Glen, back in the days when it was still a rustic enclave.
Although he was always fascinated by his hometown, in 1961 he made the leap from Southern California to New York, hoping to get work as an illustrator in order to support himself. These were the years of the Mad Men, when the advertising industry was glamorously creative and its world centered in New York. It was a mecca for creative men and women fresh out of college. Its influence on the culture was dominant; Andy Warhol’s Pop Art was a reflection of that.
For the young man in California, all ears, all eyes, New York was calling. The following are two dozen pages from Sketchbook #3, in the winter of 1961. America, New York was on an up note. John F. Kennedy has been inaugurated the week before in a freezing cold snowy Washington. New York too was frigid and cover in snowbanks After a young lifetime in the fragrance and the palms of Lotusland, he was in thick of the metropolis.
These pages are from one week only – January 27th through February 5th. They are the young artist’s diary of where he went and what he saw.
Schulenberg is a garrulous, loquacious individual who loves people and has almost infinite curiosity. Without a doubt, many, if not all of these drawings, were done while sitting with friends in conversation over a lunch or dinner table, in a bar, or on the subway, or the bus. New York was a feast for his eye. The precision of his drawings belie the fact that when in the company of others – which was usual – he was listening and contributing while he drew. It must be that that outside energy transferred to the artist who was fresh and prolific day after day …