Thursday, October 25, 2018

Remembering Jack Juratovic

Jack Juratovic from Hemmings Classic Car

An Icon Passes On

written by Mark J. McCourt, with additional words by Ken Eberts and Jacques Vaucher, edited by James Karthauser

On October 16th, we lost a good friend and great Automotive Artist, car designer and wild character, Jack Juratovic. He left us due to cancer at age 79. He had a good life and we have great fun memories of our time spent together. Our deepest condolences to his friends and family. In memorium of this lost icon, we have dedicated this article to our friend and compatriot Jack.

Ken Eberts had this to say about his friend and business partner;
Jack was a character. Larry Wood of Hot Wheels fame said it best (Larry was one of our gang at Ford Styling in the mid 60's).  Every story that Lwood tells today about the wild and fun days at "Fords" and Detroit in the 60's has Jack at it's center.  Yes, Jack was wild but he was also a damn good designer and promoter not to mention wheeler/dealer. The Automemories Calendar that Jack illustrated for 30 plus years is a good example of his artistic abilities.  The calendars evolved from what Jack said were cartoons to exquisite renderings.  He loved Automotive Art and his wonderful collection of it featured all the great automotive artists and illustrators.  Jack always kept in touch with his friends and earlier this year he organized a reunion of the Ford gang of former Stylists.  Jack drove us all over the southern California mountains, valleys and coastline at breakneck speeds in a new Lincoln Navigator with 7-8 passengers but never missing his line.  Jack liked to drive fast and when I first met him he was racing a Jag E Type at Waterford Hills raceway.  Jack was not only one of the original 6 artists who formed AFAS but he also wrote our Preamble.  From the Preamble he went on to edit the premiere edition of Automotive Fine Art AFAS with a forward by Dean Batchelor and an introduction by Jacques Vaucher sandwiching my President's message.  He edited and published our AFAS Quarterly (print version until digital took over).  He was just as interested in AFAS today and was contributing not only his artworks but also his ideas.  But best of all he was to me a loyal friend for over 50 years.  I will miss him very much.

Marc J. McCourt wrote this fantastic Article about Jack in Hemmings Motor News in 2005;

"I'm a practicing old-car hobbyist," says automotive fine artist Jack Juratovic. "Some artists could care less about old cars on a hands-on basis, and while I'm by no means a certified mechanic, I do like to get under the hood. I consider some of my cars to be rolling sculpture, and I love to drive them as well as simply look at them." From the 1947 Mercury convertible and 1932 Ford V-8 five-window coupe that he wrenched on in high school to the restored 1939 Mercury convertible and 1946 Lincoln Continental that he enjoys driving today, Jack's always-present passion for automotive form and function has fueled his need to create artwork that celebrates the beauty and speed of fine automobiles. 
PIII and the Mallard giclee print by Jack Juratovic
PIII and the Mallard giclee print by Jack Juratovic
"Like many kids, I drew pictures of cars all through school-I thought I wanted to become an architect. Because my guidance counselor didn't know about the field of industrial design, he steered me towards mechanical engineering, but that didn't last long," he says, with a laugh. Jack switched colleges: "Before you could study industrial design, you had to take two years of fine arts-so you're skilled to go either way in the fine or practical arts." After graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 1965, he went to work in the Ford Motor Company's styling studios. He became disenchanted after two years and left, racing an SCCA B-Production Jaguar until his funds ran out. Jack went on to work at Chrysler styling, then with William Schmidt Associates, a highly regarded independent automotive design firm, before founding his own, BORT, Inc. "At William Schmidt, I learned how to run a respected design firm," he recalled. "BORT was a small design shop run by myself and Jack Purcell, a Ford stylist and my old college buddy. We hauled in professional clay modelers as moonlighters on our projects, which included the Mustang II Cobra and the Monza Mirage. Those years of generating and presenting vehicle ideas-of making sketches into 3D forms-this is how I illustrate an idea. And it's only one step further to fine art." 
"Twenty years after graduating, I started painting to keep my skills sharp. I'd always admired famed automotive illustrator Peter Helck, and when I struck up a friendship with him in the early 1980s, he gave my paintings the nod," Jack recalls with a smile. "I was involved in the first Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance fine arts show in 1982, and I've pursued art full-time ever since then. I don't pound it out in quantity-I don't think I have that many good ideas," he laughs. "Painting is abstraction, but it has to have a good idea behind it or there's no justification." 

Road and Track November 1935 Duesenberg print by Jack Juratovic
Road and Track November 1935 Duesenberg print by Jack Juratovic

Jack works with water-based paints, including watercolor and gouache. "Peter Helck also inspired me to try caseins, which are milk-based paints that are very permanent," he explains. "When I start a painting, I do color rough thumbnail sketches, then I replicate them on to full scale on 300-pound illustration board or gessoed masonite. I'll create a wash background to set the tone, and then paint in colors from transparent to opaque. Nearly all of the work I do is freehand. The only time I'll take a picture is if I need it to reference the details. Sometimes I'll set up 1:18-scale promo models to act as foils to other models-it's a quick check to make sure I'm drawing the perspective correctly," he explains. 
In addition to his own inspirations, Jack has created concours and historic race event posters, series paintings and an annual vintage car calendar, along with the commissioned pieces for corporations and individuals.  No matter the project, Jack celebrates all facets of the automobile: "In the end, many of my paintings express how a car looked to me instead of how it looks to a camera-it's how my mind's eye imagined it. A good artist captures the essence of a car.  Personally, it's an esoteric thing, the emotion of how it makes you feel."

Jack and I, at the ranch with Luba
Jack and I, at the ranch with Luba  

We here at l'art et l'automobile, as you may know, are quite keen on artists and designers who contribute to and elevate the form of the automobile, and capture it's essence in their work.  Jack Juratovic was most assuredly one of those, with the work he did for Ford and Chrysler, his independent work modeling at BORT, definitely his paintings, but more importantly his spirit.  He brought liveliness and character to everyone around him, and his loss has removed a little bit of the light from the world.

Jack, we will miss you, but thanks for all the memories,


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