College Park Community Newspaper : CPCN 020117
FEBRUARY 2017 COLLEGEPARKPAPER.COM 16 Features Artist Spotlight: Al Carroll FEBRUARY ARTS CALENDAR Mr. Richard 3 Music and singing for toddlers Infusion Tea (1600 Edgewater Dr.) 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Free event. 407-999-5255 The Gazebros 7 Local band playing contemporary mix The Gazebo at Albert Park, 6:30 p.m. Every Tuesday night (February 7, 14, 21, 28) Free event If you have a March arts, music, theater or creativity-fostering event in College Park, please send details to firstname.lastname@example.org by February 12. When the Sanford Historic District first approached Al Carroll in 2014 to lend the classic appearance of old Florida to its street signage, the artist behind Winter Park’s iconic peacock was hesitant to accept the job. Representatives of the district called nearly every phone number at the city of Winter Park for the opportunity to convince Carroll to recreate the timeless feel of Park Avenue’s plumed bird. Then 78 years old, Carroll was unsure if he wanted to abandon his oil pastel Florida landscapes to pick the design pencil back up. But Sanford’s separation after the shooting of Trayvon Martin moti- vated the artist. “Al saw his signage as a chance to bring beauty and a subtle message of unity to a city that was divided,” wrote Carroll’s daughter, Hannah Welch. When Al designed the signs for Winter Park, he featured “a peacock (a very regal bird, and a sign of wealth),” said Welch. When he designed the signs for Sanford, he featured an ibis. “He never voiced his reasoning for choosing the Ibis to the historical society,” his daughter reminisced. “But behind each of his logos and design creations his artwork has meaning. He puts his heart into” his old- school workmanship. Carroll, 80, died December 6, 2016, after working as an artist in Orlando since 1966. You probably know more of his work than you realize. Carroll’s careful, historically accurate hand designed notable pieces like Church Street Station, Rosie O’Grady’s, Dubsdread Golf Course, Ivanhoe Row, Disney’s Grand Floridian Restaurant, Mead Gardens and streetscape signage at Universal Studios. “He would often say how lucky he felt to be an artist,” said his wife, Jan Carroll. “Color and design were his passion. He built a name for himself in the Orlando area, which is how he got many of his jobs; or people who might not know his name would often see work he did and inquire who the artist was.” What was one of Al Carroll’s most recognizable de- signs? The University of Central Florida’s Pegasus logo. which he created as Shattuck/Roether Advertising’s senior art director. In an era where you can’t walk into a design agency without glimpsing a Mac, it’s hard to imagine a precom- puter graphic designer. Carroll sketched rough designs of every new logo on tracing paper, a process Welch described as “letting his hands do the ‘brainstorming.’” A bartender watching a patron peel the label from a craft beer bottle might chalk the action up to nervous energy. In Carroll’s case, he would have been amassing inspiration for what later might become a pub’s signa- ture. Welch said her father’s “personal reference and design archive” included 18 four-drawer filing cabinets of design ideas and a sea of boxes organizing each project. Neatly titled with permanent marker, these boxes housed sketches from every stage of Carroll’s design process, color swatches, typeface samples, references and final designs. Welch described these as meticulously “hand drawn and hand painted with surgical precision.” Each box told a story, his daughter recounted, and stood as a visual memory of his artis- tic process. Away from his sketchpad, Carroll seemed a true Renaissance man, though the term would have made him blush. Politically active, he was a gar- dener, painter, home cook, photographer and poet who took to scribbling meters in dozens of spiral notebooks. He also dabbled in sculp- ture and carpentry. “He was a man of many passions, and he was good at so many things,” said Jan Carroll. “He was an avid reader and loved to write, or maybe had to write is more suiting. There are shelves of notebooks full of his poems, stories, sketches and ideas, not to men- tion boxes of index cards.” Carroll carried “index cards and pens in his shirt pocket,” his wife recalled. “They were as essential to his wardrobe as shoes, [and] almost all of his shirts had ink stains in the pocket where he forgot to put the cap on a pen,” she mused. After Carroll’s cancer diagnosis in May 2016, Welsh, along with Carroll’s good friend and fellow graphic designer Scott Shepard, came across an old poster her father designed for the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival in 1997 but never submitted. After digitally color enhancing the original black and white silhouette design, the duo submitted the poster for the 2017 festi- val; it was chosen as this year’s official poster. “It is a bitter sweet feeling that he is not here to see his poster in use, but I am so happy and honoured that something we worked on together was chosen,” wrote his daughter. “His legacy will continue on through his art.” Carroll’s family will soon publish his work on a new website, www.AlCarrollStudio.com. 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