The Art of S. Neil Fujita

 Cover art for Charles Mingus: Mingus Ah Um, 1959. Columbia Records

Cover art for Johnny Eaton: Far Out Near In, circa 1950's. Columbia Records

S. Neil Fujita (1921-2010) was an american graphic artist and painter known for his book and album cover art. He also designed many famous logos and graphics including, the Today show rainbow logo; the typeface for Billboard Magazine; The Godfather typeface/logo; and the Shubert Theater logo.

Cover art for Dave Brubeck Quartet: Time Out, 1959. Columbia Records 

Cover art for Glenn Gould, circa 1950's. Columbia Records

Cover art for Reeds and Percussion, 1961. Command Records
Cover art for Enoch Light: Big Bold and Brassy, 1960. Command Records

Cover art for Dick Hyman: Provocative Piano, 1960. Command Records 

Art from United Aircraft Corporation advertisement 

Art from Alco Aluminum Company advertistment 

 Fortune Magazine, October 1954

Fortune Magazine, April 1953 

Cover art for Philosophical Sketches by Susanne K. Langer, 1964. Mentor Books 

The Godfather typeface and logo design

Sadamitsu Neil Fujita was born in Waimea, Hawaii on May 16, 1921.  He moved to Los Angeles when he was 17 to study at Chouinard Art Institute. During WWII he was forced into a Japanese internment camp in Wyoming. However he volunteered to serve in the Army instead of staying in the camp. He returned to Chouinard after the war to complete his studies. Columbia Records hired Fujita in 1954 to work in their design department, where he created many iconic album covers. In 1963 he joined the public relation firm Ruder & Finn and created a design division, which later became know as Fujita Design. It was here that he began a long career in book cover and graphic design.  He taught in various art schools including Parsons School of Design.  He passed away on October 23, 2010. For more information on S. Neil Fujita see these articles by AIGA, here and here.

9 comments:

El Gato Gomez said...

Thank you so much for the inspiration. My favorite artist and designer!

Greg said...

Very nice uncle too..he was my dad's oldest brother...

Mid-Centuria said...

Hey Greg- Thanks for stopping by and commenting. If you have any images of other works by your uncle Neil. send them to me as I would love to post them!
Cheers!

Art Burack said...

It was and still is an honor to have known Neil and be his friend. In 1999, I followed Neil with my digital camcorder while he was working on his very inspirational portrait painting project "Seeing Is feeling: American Faces Of The North Fork" It was a much celebrated exhibit in Greenport Long Island, that September of 1999. It's in studio these past several months being made into a documentary called MR. FUGITA. It seems that there is not very much ,if any, motion picture footage of Neil over the years. He went through his noted free and easy going artistic process and also reflected of the days he did not the right face, eyes and name while interned in Heart Mountain, Wyoming in 1942-43. Eventually he served with the famed Nisei 442nd Combat Regiment and had done duty in the Pacific theater in WWII. He was very candid and genuine. I had the opportunity to see him last July 2010 when I returned from deployment in Afghanistan in his Southold home. This time we became fellow veterans along with being friends. I look forward to complete this documentary in the fall. Neil was and still is my hero.
Art Burack
buracknorth@yahoo.com

Mid-Centuria said...

Hi Art,
Thanks for sharing. Good luck on your documentary about Mr. Fujita and please keep us posted.
KInd Regards,
Kevin

Bozeman Montana said...

Here is a sample of an illustration of Mr. Fujita's... the cover of Modern Packaging Encyclopedia, 1961.

http://newhousebooks.tumblr.com/post/12161095917/cover-of-modern-packaging-encyclopedia-1961

Mid-Centuria said...

Wow, that is a great piece, thanks for the link!

Dick Frizzell said...

has there ever been a book published about Mr. Fujita?

Mid-Centuria said...

Hey Dick, I am not sure if there has ever been a book about Fujita, but there should be!