Born in 1927 on Chicago’s South Side, Ted Coconis was a child prodigy; awarded a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago at the tender age of twelve, he abandoned his formal education at fifteen and hoaxed a baptismal certificate in order to train as a pilot with the US Air Force in World War II. He went through training in Texas, but fearing that he would actually be sent to the European front his father “blew the
whistle” on him and he was released with an honorable discharge. He originally returned to his studies at the American Academy of Art using the G.I. Bill, but soon joined the Merchant Marines and ended up in Russian-occupied Romania.
By the time he returned to America he found that Chicago “seemed pretty tame”; at 19 he had taken a job illustrating recruiting and publicity materials for the Fifth Army, but after transferring to the Sixth Army in San Francisco he began doing freelance work and abandoned the idea of a military career.
It wasn’t long before the Chiate art studio in New York recognized his talent and he quickly established himself as one of this country’s preeminent illustrators of books, album covers, magazines and movie posters. His paintings have appeared in every major magazine from Playboy to Ladies’ Home Journal and Good Housekeeping; he was
commissioned for movie posters such as “Fiddler on
the Roof” and “Man of La Mancha” among others.
In the early 1980’s Coconis decided to concentrate on his own work while living in Paris and the Greek Islands. The figurative paintings born of this effort have been widely exhibited at galleries, museums and other institutions of fine art. His own paintings as well as his portrait and illustrative commissions have received numerous awards from major art organizations and associations of art directors and designers.
Today he works from his secluded, solar powered studio in rural Maine; he isn’t “online”.
“I deal with
the outside world when I go to town every few days. It’s a bit of a
nuisance for others, maybe, but it suits me just fine.”
www.tedcoconis.com -official website
Ted Coconis -exotic ladies (HighFructose.com)
Living Off The Map With Artist & Illustrator Ted Coconis (Art Nouveau magazine)