An interview with Alain Moreau

One of the great things about this site is that people can often offer feedback and help identify some of the artists we have featured here. Alain contacted me to identify himself as the artist of a couple of Damac posters that we didn't have a name for, and he also very kindly agreed to an interview and to reminisce about his time working for NFL properties. After receiving an MFA from the School of Decorative Arts in 
Grenoble France, Alain moved to the United States in 1964 where he  began his career, first as a graphic designer and later as an illustrator. He worked for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, painted numerous Album covers for Angel, ABC, Paramount, United Artists & Warner Brothers Records. He also made countless contributions to NFL Publications. His Fine Art career started in 1978 and ran parallel to his 
commercial work.           

Illustrated NFL: How did your working for the NFL come about, and when did it happen?
(i.e. did they approach you, etc)

Alain: I believe it was some time in 1969, Mike Gaines who was then the art director of Creative Services contacted me, having seen the work I  had done for Capitol Records, in the Society of Illustrators' show that year.

Illustrated NFL: Roughly, how many pieces did you do for the NFL in the time you worked with the League?

Alain: It is hard to say; during my 13 years of involvement with NFL Properties, I worked for both the Creative (with Dave Boss and Cliff Wynne) and Licensing (with Mike Gaines and James Farrell), two different divisions. I would have to estimate roughly the number to be over 100 pieces.

Illustrated NFL: Your style of work is quite unique from the examples I've seen. What materials do you tend to work with, and what kind of sizes did you generally work to?

Alain: In the early years, I was working a lot with acrylic on board and later on, switched to oil on canvas and sometimes, I would collage some other material to it. Sizes would generally be close to double the printed one.

Illustrated NFL: In your work for the Damac posters, did you have tight deadlines to work to, and did you have access to the NFL's photographic library for reference, or were you given a fairly free reign to use any references you liked?

Alain:As far as my work for the Damac posters was concerned, I usually could choose my own material and deadlines were reasonable.

Illustrated NFL:Did you retain any of the pieces you painted for the NFL or it's poster range, or were they sold on or kept by the NFL?

Alain: Prior to the mid-nineteen seventies the NFL kept most pieces but after that, the copyright laws changed and they had to give back all the artwork unless a separate price was negotiated to purchase the original paintings. So I have been able to keep most of my later work.      

Illustrated NFL: Do you have a favourite piece that you did in this period?

Alain: I would have to say that the latest series of portraits I did for PRO! Magazine, toward the end of my tenure, is perhaps the best work I have done for the NFL

Illustrated NFL:Did you have any dealings with some of the other prominent NFL artists of the time?

Alain: I had a lot of contact mainly with George Bartell, who had already established a strong presence with the NFL at the time I began to work for the League. I also recall meeting Chuck Ren at the NFL Offices in Westwood, early in our careers, we were both looking for pictures and he turned to me and said, "I really like your work!"
            
Illustrated NFL:Do you still like to paint any football related art, or did you move on once you'd finished working with the NFL?

Alain: have to admit, I did move on. For a while, I wanted to move to New York and do more editorial illustration but finally decided against it instead, I concentrated on developing a fine art career which I have been pursuing ever since at great financial perils! From time to time, I 
think back on those years with a bit of nostalgia! It was great to be an illustrator then, it was the right place, a time for growth and full of energy!

Thanks again to Alain for a fascinating and informative interview. Alain's current work and information can be seen at http://www.myartspace.com/artistalain/