A Brief History
I was born in San Francisco and grew up, mostly, in the Bay Area, and a little in Southern California and the state of Washington, close to the Canadian border. We moved around because my stepfather was a career military man.
I was undistinguished in school. I was the kid drawing in his notebook, getting into mischief, and not paying enough attention to assignments. But my high school art teacher, Mr. Walsh, took an interest in me and had me pegged.
The story I got is that one day in the faculty room another teacher, Mr. Gentile, asked if anyone knew of a student who could work with him on the set for the senior play. Mr. Walsh said, "There is a kid, Logan Franklin, who is pretty good with a pencil or brush—but he's just wasting his time fooling around!" The exclamation point is mine, but I'd bet heavily that it came out that way. (I learned of this years later when Mr. Gentile became a columnist for the hometown newspaper and told the story.)
After high school I enlisted in the Marines and they quickly got my attention. When my tour of duty was completed, I took a few false-start jobs, and then entered my family's printing and publishing business and went to school nights. I stayed twenty years (in business, not school) and eventually led the company.
The art rumblings were dormant but not absent. For a long time I kept the beast at bay by doing newspaper editorial cartooning under a pen-name (see cartoons). In 1980, I sold my ownership interests in the company and planned a cartoon feature I hoped to syndicate.
That changed when I was out for a walk one day and wandered into a college art department. It was as if I had been living in a dark room and someone switched on the light. I decided on the spot I would paint. I enrolled, stayed two years, and by 1985 I was devoting most of my time to painting. Later, in 1992, I added printmaking to painting. There's symmetry in that, I think, my having been in the printing business all those years.
I knew from the start that only a few artists make a handsome living from the sales of their work alone. Others teach or manage by working in related creative fields. I had made investments that allowed me to focus on painting, and experiences early in life taught me to live within my means. Fortunately, the subjects and manner in which I paint have a following and there are sales.
I use lots of bright, undiluted primary and secondary colors. There was a time when I was timid about color, and when I finally opened up, I really opened up. There is a cartooning influence in my work, too; and sometimes I play around with cubism, or something like it, to deal with depth and space. In the style spectrum, I'm not sure where I fit in.
I live in California and most of my travel has been in the West, and naturally that influences my perspective. The subjects I choose range from landscape to musicians to street scenes. Jazz and country musicians are fascinating to me. I think you have to know something about jazz and country music to fathom American culture.
My themes are invariably upbeat. Grievance art has its place, but I don't fit in. Matisse had a good time and, to me, the right idea: Fill a space with fun and color and good passions.
I've been represented in galleries here in Northern California and in the Southwest. For various reasons the alliances ended and I've made no effort to cultivate new ones. And I doubt that it will change at my age. Yet never say never, as the saying goes.