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Hanna-Barbera background artist Art Lozzi – Page 2

Art Lozzi talks about how he got his start in cartoons, and working for Hanna-Barbera in the 1950s and 60s...

READERSVOICE.COM: Where were you born and raised?

ART LOZZI: Everett, Massachusetts, about four miles north of Boston. From the age of eight I attended Saturday morning art classes at the studio of a cousin of my mother’s in Boston, the De Benedictis Studio.

RV: Were you always interested in animation and drawing for animation? What kinds of comics or drawing or animation were you interested in, growing up?

AL: I never animated, except for a period at MGM and Disney’s where I worked as an in-betweener… which is not actually animating. Never worked on comics. I still, however, enjoy doing humorous drawings… that kind of cartoons, a number of which I’d submit to magazines such as The New Yorker, others. I also enjoy designing my own holiday cards and printing them.

RV: What sorts of projects were you working on as an in-betweener at MGM?

AL: Mostly Tom and Jerry. I also did a month of outlining Gene Kelly, frame by frame (in a darkroom) for him to dance with the mouse Jerry. Daylight was wonderful after that.

RV: Did you ever happen to meet Walt Disney while at the Disney Studios?

AL: No. I’d see him walking on the grounds though. I was a mere temporary in-betweener.
RV: Where did you study and how did it lead to working at Hanna-Barbera?

AL: My excellent grades in high school allowed me to enter MIT without having to take the entrance exams. But, as I already mentioned to you before, there was no money to see me through.

That’s when I switched to something I could afford ($50 a semester instead of MIT’s $3500, if I also found a job): Massachusetts College of Art. Joined the Navy upon graduation, where I was placed in the Naval Training Films section of Washington, DC, doing storyboards.

After the Navy I ended up in California and went to UCLA to study Theater Arts.

That summer, 1955, needing a job, I applied at MGM animation department. They were interviewing about 300 people but needed only three. Bill Hanna, as you know, liked my portfolio very much, and I was in. I never returned to UCLA. He was the one who found a place for me at Disney’s (Sleeping Beauty), to stay until the new studio was ready (at Charlie Chaplin’s). Smooth, like a dream. Why would I go back to UCLA?

RV: When did you start working in architectural interior design for the Hilton hotel chain?

AL: While still at H-B. 1964. That’s when I was allowed a leave of absence for a year and a half in Europe.

RV: How did that start?

AL: While at H-B, I started also working afternoons and on my own time with an architectural design group who contributed to hotels, etc.

Mr Conrad Hilton opened his new office in Beverly Hills and the main designer liked my color work, and asked if I would put together some schemes of materials and colors. Gladly. (He later admitted that he was color blind). Hilton’s chief architect, a Russian named Dim Gran, liked it all. I was ”in”.

RV: Did you do much of this while working for Hanna-Barbera?

AL: Yes, I did.

RV: How long have you been living in Athens?

AL: First in 1964 for the Hilton International group, and stayed for a year and a half, originally to do interior design layouts and color schemes for the Cyprus Hilton. It was put on the shelf because of the Cyprus-Turkish flare-ups.

Met the owners of the Greek Epirotiki Cruise Lines and went on to do same for a new cruise ship, the Argonaut, [the first of 12 ships Art Lozzi worked on] which had me go to London for three weeks to work on laminate designs for table tops, wall panels.

To Rabat for the Rabat Hilton, to Malta for preliminaries of the Malta Hilton, for which I also painted an enormous classical wall painting for the dining room (Preparation for the Hunt, ca. 2 m by 6 m); Moved to Lugano, Switzerland for a year, until the end of 1965.

My normal work day had little to do with routine; designing fabrics, furniture, carpets, art work, going to factories, visiting contractors, sitting with the clients… endless.

At the end of 1966, I returned to Hanna and Barbera for six months. Went back to Greece for another six months to do layouts and schemes for another cruise ship (the Apollon), then to Italy for more laminate design panels for the stairways of the Apollon.

Returned to Hollywood, but with Filmation Studio, for a year, and then permanently back to Greece in 1969.

-continued next page.