Art Squad
About Us

The Art Squad originated in San Francisco in 1973 (or thereabouts) with Robin La Fever, John Gaccione, David Moore, Bob Vogel and Mason Fong. Malcolm Lubliner joined us in 1995. Mason Fong moved to Texas but still honors us with his input periodically.

We meet once a week, usually on Thursday, and are now in our 43rd year. Our primary strategy is to fix each others' drawings so few, if any, of the artworks seen on these pages is the work of any one individual.

Our plans for the future include living well into our 90s and continuing to hone our skills.

To see an interview/article in the Richmond Confidential, click HERE >>

   
 

August 9, 2018

Remembering My Friend Bob

Long ago I met Bob at Mason Fong’s Divisadero Street studio apartment in San Francisco. David Moore was also living in the same building in a back apartment. I had known David from the Graphic Arts Workshop and he invited me to come over and visit. The year was 1973 or 1974.

Mason was making his living as a sign painter and would occasionally host informal drawing and bullshit sessions. At one of these sessions I was introduced to Bob Vogel. Immediately I could see that Bob was different from the rest of the guys in the room.

He had recently returned from touring Europe and was regaling us with tall tales of his adventures living in a women’s college dormitory somewhere in Denmark. Not to mention opening an American style café in England, and hoping to strike it rich serving hamburgers to the locals. Then the money ran out and he headed back to the USA.

His attire was continental with an English flavor. He smoked an expensive brand of cigarettes. And he seemed to know everything about whatever the subject of our conversation touched on. I thought to myself, this guy is really something.

Beside his wit, charm and loquaciousness, he could draw pretty good too.

Over the years, Bob’s life had many twists and turns, ups and downs. The constant was that he was a consummate entrepreneur. The list of jobs Bob had is a mile long. The common thread running through all his jobs was that he was a terrific salesman. Beside his artistic skills, his ability to engage people and sell them on something was one of his great talents.

Bob enjoyed many triumphs with his endeavors. When he was manufacturing ceramic gift items he developed a gooseneck lamp. It featured a flexible support holding a light fixture with a ceramic shade in the form of a goose head. He wrote many orders for his lamps at the trade shows he attended and his gooseneck lamp proved to be a hit.

At one show a very large well know lamp manufacturer approached Bob with an offer to produce his lamp in exchange for a modest royalty. Bob considered the offer and made a counter offer for a much larger royalty and design control. The lamp manufacturer said no deal. Some time later the manufacturer made his own version of the gooseneck lamp and usurped Bob’s original. This was at least 30 years ago and still to this day someone somewhere in the world is making a version of the Bob’s gooseneck lamp.

Another of Bob’s successful inventions is the Gloom Report. Certainly a lot less well know than the gooseneck lamp and more conceptual, but just as innovative. One of the members of the Artsquad (no names) had an inclination to consistently view the world and it’s problems in a very negative light. Bob would expend much time and energy to reason with this Artsquad member (no names) but failed to win him over. It was always the highlight of our drawing sessions to experience the exchange between Bob and this member. I am laughing now just thinking about all those sessions.

As a result, Bob created the Gloom Report. Whenever this Artsquad member (no names) would start in with his litany of the evils in the world, Bob would whisper to the other members present to brace themselves because a Gloom Report was forthcoming. It was just beyond hilarious; it had us laughing all night.

Over the years we enjoyed so many memories of good times and great adventures that we shared. Fortunately after meeting once a week for so many years, we have a treasure trove of Artsquad artwork to remind us of those wonderful, inventive, raucous sessions. Our respect for each other’s talents it seems to me is one of the things that held the bonds of friendship together all these years.

Our friend Bob was planning to be visiting with us here in California just about now. Sadly, we now find ourselves having to collect our memories from years ago and write remembrances of Bob. But I’m glad I met him all those years ago and got to know as a friend.

My dad once told me as you age one of the most difficult things to experience is when you start losing your close friends. I now know what he was saying.

John Gaccione

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