The man born as John W. Hamm and known to the world as Jack Hamm had an incredible impact on the world of art and literature. On August 16th, 1910 in St. Louis, Missouri, his life began and, typical among greats, it has remained timelessly influential even after his passing on April 21st, 1996 in Laguna Beach, California. Jack Hamm was known primarily for his collection of books about drawing; most notably Drawing the Head and Figure which stands respected even today as a timeless classic.
Hamm began his artistic journey as a creator of advertisements and quickly grew unsatisfied with the industry. In order to delve further into his art style, Hamm went on to study at the St. Louis School of Fine Art and the Art Students League in New York. Subsequently, he made the leap to California where he furthered his knowledge at the Chouinard Art Institute, now known as the California Institute of the Arts.
In 1953, the world of art was forever changed with the publication of Drawing the Head and Figure, an instant classic from Hamm. This book has been a staple for artists worldwide, finding its way to many languages and editions, and continuously staying in print since its much-sought-after debut.
According to Hamm’s publication, it’s critical to capture inspiration from real life instead of relying strictly on photographs. Similarly, he advises employing basic shapes and figures to model a face and figure, as opposed to including too much minutiae.
Producing works such as Drawing Made Easy, Drawing the Human Figure, Drawing for Pleasure, and How to Draw Animals, Hamm is well recognized for his contribution to the art world. He has also had several of his essays featured in various art magazines.
In 1983, Hamm was deemed deserving of the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Graphic Arts, marking his recognition as a part of both the National Academy of Design and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Many renowned art institutions throughout the world are proud to display the work of Hamm, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.
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