This year the RAF is proud to present our annual Silver Award to Bob Young.
Before there was Photoshop, Freehand, Illustrator and Quark, the creative community was made out of many specialized individuals; typesetters, strippers, photo-retouchers, calligraphers, marker artists and so on. In the seventies and eighties, if art directors wanted chrome lettering, or a cut-a-way illustration of a piece of equipment, or a killer airbrush illustration, “the man” around this town was Bob Young.
Bob came out of high school in 1957 and entered the Pan-American Institute in Manhattan. His first job was as an artist/illustrator for Eastern Airlines, while he continued to take night classes at Pratt. By the mid-sixties, married and with a family on the way, Bob wanted to move closer to his hometown of Buffalo. That brought him to the art department of Case-Hoyt here in Rochester. In those days, the printers often had larger art departments than the studios or agencies, because everything was done by hand.
In 1978, after 12 years at Case-Hoyt, Bob left to form a new creative studio with fellow illustrator Steve Moskowitz and graphic designer Susan Wright. Moskowitz/Wright Angle/Young was born amidst a wild group of creative-types at 1239 University Avenue that called themselves “The Collection.” Long days and nights of work often resulted in even longer parties in those days. Bob laughs when he tells of rumors of a drug raid on some of their coworkers that caused he and Susan to move out suddenly one weekend.
Susan and Bob formed Right Angle/Young in 1980 at the familiar brick house at 78 N. Union Street. When Susan left the partnership a year later to get married, Bob formed Robt. Young Associates Inc. Their clients quickly became the big companies like Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb and Corning, the agencies like Rumrill-Hoyt, ICE, Winterkorn -Lillis, Hutchins, Blair and Northrup & Teel, the photographers like Don Nichols, Pete Steiner, Jamie Stillings and George Kamper, and the printers like Flower City, Great Lakes Press, Case-Hoyt, Tucker and Monroe Litho. Everyone came to Robt. Young Associates for design and illustration, and especially to Bob,himself, for his talent with an airbrush.
With the new popularity of the Apple computer in the mid-eighties, the business was changing. Desktop publishing software brought a quick end to the type houses, as art directors set their own type. The early versions of Illustrator and Freehand forced many illustrators to change or else. And Photoshop suddenly turned multimillion-dollar Sytec machines the printers used into dinosaurs.
Bob Young didn’t sit back and wait for the phone to ring. He jumped into Photoshop and Illustrator with both feet. He put away his airbrush and his paints and picked up the stylus and drawing tablet. He had a tough time at first, because the printers wouldn’t take his files or supply him with digital scans of photographs. They refused to color-proof his illustrations or retouching. That was traditionally their work and they didn’t want to give it up. But Bob Young persevered.
Robt. Young Associates Inc. is no longer, but Bob continues to do his illustrations today for clients in and out of Rochester, and he sells his personal work online.
Many members of the Rochester creative community started their careers at Robt. Young Associates Inc., or brought their rough pencil designs to Bob to give them life and sizzle. From horsehair brush and airbrush to Photoshop and the latest Macintosh computer, Bob Young continues to be an innovator and inspiration to us all. Congratulations, Bob.