Hartford Art School announces Doug Andersen's Retirement

July 12, 2021
Submitted By: Rebecca Zablocki / Bill Thomson

Professor Doug Andersen retired after 32 years of teaching and service to the Hartford Art School. After earning a Master’s Degree in Painting from San Jose University, Doug was working as an art director at Lockheed Space Systems when former Professor Dennis Nolan called in 1989 and invited him to apply for a position in the University of Hartford’s new illustration program. After creating artwork for the International Space Shuttle, Space Station, Space Telescope, and Manned Missions to Mars, Doug boldly embarked on his own distant journey to an unknown place, the Hartford Art School.

Professor Nolan left to pursue children’s books a couple of years later, and Doug has guided the illustration program ever since. Professor Bill Thomson said of him, “Doug Andersen is the heart and soul of the illustration program and is the rock that the department was built on. The program has undergone countless changes in the last 30 years, but the one constant has been Doug.”

Doug’s incredible versality and diverse professional experience equipped him to teach a broad range of subjects at the very highest level. At one time or another, he taught every course in the illustration program and integrated new technologies into the curriculum and when Dr. Richard Freund approached Doug about developing an archaeological illustration course, he studies archaeology, took students on trips to Israel to draw artifacts, and then he did areological illustration himself.

Of Doug’s devotion and impact on students, Professor Emeritus Dennis Nolan remarked, “The students lucky enough to have received Doug’s guidance have taken his words and training out into the world to forge highly successful careers and create beautiful works of art.” Associate Professor David Calabrese said, “I met Doug twenty years ago when I was his student. In those few short years, he taught me many lessons that have stayed with me these last two decades.”

In addition to his work with undergraduate students, Doug served as a thesis advisor to the MFA in Illustration graduate program since 2007. Both former Program Director Murray Tinkelman and current Director C.F. Payne lauded Doug’s vital role in the MFA program’s success. Mentoring students, improving curriculum, installing exhibitions, and solving technical difficulties, Doug’s contributions have been critical at every level and in every way.

Doug is a highly accomplished artist that has created book covers for Doubleday, Penguin and Scholastic; magazine illustrations for Popular Science, Scientific American and Aviation Week, and countless illustrations for the gaming industry. His work has also appeared on CD covers, technical illustrations, advertisements, bookplate designs for packaging artwork. Doug has depicted science fiction, historical, mystery, scientific, archaeological, and automotive subjects for his clients across the United States. Doug’s artwork has also appeared in countless exhibitions including those conducted by the prestigious Society of Illustrators and Spectrum: Best In Contemporary Fantastic Art, and is also in the permanent collection of The Norman Rockwell Museum.

The Hartford Art School, the Illustration Department and his many grateful students express their appreciation to Doug for his many years of hard work, selfless dedication and inspiration. We also wish Doug, his wife Linda and their son Sean much happiness in their next great adventures, a retirement in Simsbury and creating beautiful plein air oil paintings of New England subjects.