EARLY YEARS & OVERVIEW
Born in Glendale, California, artist Cindy Hadden dove eagerly and early into her own art and world reality. At age four, she remembers thinking about the brightness of color shapes and many multiple shades of black, simultaneously. Crayons and paint with water books were not enough to hold her interest.
At age five, Cindy garnered attention to her creative approaches by her artist father, Norman Ingersoll. He noticed her desire to watch him work for hours. Thus, her father supported her creative side by teaching her about paints, how to use brushes and tools for effect, along with a wide variety of boards and papers.
Her paternal side of the family came to Ellis Island from Scotland and England. All of them were musicians. Her great grandfather Reeves, a proud Scot, was a master wood carver; once commissioned by Sir Victor Hugo to make furniture pieces for his castle-like home. “My grandparent’s home was filled with music, a piano and carved wooden claw-foot dining and end tables, and chairs, all hand crafted by my great grandfather” she says.
Over the years, her father introduced her to the performing arts, museums, art history and cultures, piano, tennis, swimming, boating, and other social activities. Hadden’s mother was ten in 1945 when her family moved from Indiana and Kentucky to Southern California. Her mother was a dancer in her youth.
“Around the age of six, I remember the arguments that ensued against my father’s decision to quit working at The Los Angeles Herald Examiner,” says Cindy. [The Los Angeles Herald Examiner was a major Los Angeles daily newspaper. It was part of the Hearst syndicate. The afternoon Herald-Express and the morning Examiner, both of which had been publishing in the city since the turn of the 20th century, merged in 1962. For a few years after this merger, the Herald Examiner claimed the largest afternoon-newspaper circulation in the country. It published its last edition on November 2, 1989.]
“I recall him saying he could not survive being a paste- up* artist in the papers’ art department. Little did I realize at the time that he meant he couldn’t survive creatively, as like the air he needed to breathe.” [*Paste-up definition: an assembly of typeset matter, illustrations, etc., pasted on a sheet of paper or board and used as a guide or layout in the production of a publication.]
Hadden’s father left the Herald to embark on his own studio business in commercial art. He never went back to work for others, but remained true to himself all of his life in providing for and raising his five children, which was not an easy road for the family. Hadden explains, “He was the emotionally frustrated antithesis of gifted, misunderstood artists.” Consequently, it would be solely on the issue of art appreciation where both Hadden and her father connected up until a few years before his passing in 1996.
Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, Cindy’s father employed her during summer breaks and weekends as a designer and paste-up artist, turning some of his clientele over to her.
Cindy explains, “My father was extremely talented in the arts and music. As a gifted painter, illustrator, wood carver and graphic designer, his creativity commanded my attention endlessly. He earned dozens of awards given to advertising artists in those years, primarily from the corporate marketing needs of cities like Las Vegas and Reno. His billboard designs and graphic publications flooded the market. He also illustrated the very first children’s pop-up books. I am fortunate to have apprenticed under his vast knowledge and guidance.”
Hadden’s father enhanced her understanding of graphic art as the methodology of visual communication. He taught wood carving, collage, linoleum cutting and techniques in all the painting mediums. “So much so,” the artist says, “that by the time I graduated from San Gorgonio High School by extension at Herbert Hoover High School, my advanced art instructors told me I was doing second and third year college artwork.”
Grammar School in the 1950’s was encouraging as well as a blow to Hadden’s artistic side. She was rewarded by having her art hung in the halls of Atwater Elementary School and Parent Teacher nights. She there learned about criticism, as well. In second grade, she finished a crayon drawing of Five Little Girls in a row Holding Hands, each with different hair color. Later, she found the large 20” x 24” newsprint drawing torn up into little pieces on her desk when she returned from lunch. When Cindy inquired what happened, her teacher confessed she had done it because “there was no such thing as little girls with green or blue hair.” Of course, her father came to her defense, defying the school to discourage his daughter’s creativity. From then on, Cindy began to understand the vision of her art work, and that she might be rewarded or hurt. The artist believes this was a good and early experience to her reality, and the eventual letting go of the fear of what people think.
Her experiences at the grammar school level continued to mold the artist at many levels. The introduction of Sunday school and choir at Atwater Park Baptist Church opened a path of discovery in Christian corporate religious policies as found in Protestant, Non-Denominational and Catholic churches, as well as multiple faith traditions. She recalls having to perform two morning pledges to two flags; the flag of the United States, and the Christian flag, instilled by Congress in the 1940’s. Since then, the Christian flag and pledge has been removed and remains still debated.
Twice a month, Hadden grew up with the experience of air raid drills, a practice of the cold war, being blasted through the elementary school hallways. She remembers fearfully hiding under desks. Notable also in Hadden’s growth, her first oil painting was that of the A-Bomb exploding on a half circle that represented the Earth.
Finally, Hadden recalls how grammar school taught her about being a citizen. Before she was allowed to graduate to the seventh grade and go off to junior high school, she was excused to go to the principal’s office. There, she had to stand in front of the principal, while he was seated at his desk, which was the size of a small car, and recite the very progressive document; The Preamble to the Constitution. “I never, ever forgot it or the passion it ignited in me” Hadden says. “I remember thinking back that Conservative Progressives who supported the arts did exist, which seems much more rare to see today. It seems that modern far right Conservatives, whose social and academic policies indicate an adversity to The Arts, have a stronger sentiment that ‘the arts will not prepare one for life.’
“That’s just crazy,” the artist contests.
JUNIOR AND SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL
Instantly, in junior high school, the artist was swept up in studies of Egyptian Hieroglyphics and initial basic Lithography. Her sketchbooks were filled with practicing various font printing styles, and with pen and ink calligraphy, whose messages were embedded into her designs; which was influenced by colorful growing “hippy” poster art. And later artists, such as Andy Warhol, came into the scene of influence for Hadden.
Just two or so months into junior high school, President Kennedy was murdered. Hadden remembers all classrooms being dismissed, and for what seemed like an eternal dream, the students and teachers where walking around the quad in tears. She remembers wondering about the Preamble. She would sit on the floor next to her maternal grandfather’s chair for the evening news that night, and every night, the news would broadcast about the civil rights, and of people being attacked by police dogs, and hosed down in the streets somewhere in America. Sequentially with Martin Luther King Jr’s and Bobby Kennedy’s assassinations, she continued to be shaped as an artist and a person by the relevant and historic issues of her day.
Through twelve years of public school, Hadden moved at least once and sometimes twice a year. Inverting herself to create was a way to process the complex times she experienced. Hadden produced volumes of early artworks, many of which were lost in the shuffle of family moving.
In the ninth grade, Cindy was awarded an Honorable Mention in the National Competition, for exhibit display in the Southeastern Section through Scholastic Art Awards. The piece was Kinetic Art, an upcoming new effect she was riding in on. We favor examples today of Kinetic art on the internet. This kept in line with the artist’s feeling and need to incorporate movement into her graphic designs. Kinetic art is using any medium that contains movement perceivable by the viewer or depends on motion for its effect. Canvas paintings that extend the viewer’s perspective of the artwork and incorporate multidimensional movement are the earliest examples of kinetic art. Scholastic Art became the owner so the work was never returned to the artist.
Hadden’s work was selected twice for print in her high school’s 1968-69 Year Book – The Summit. In addition, Hadden was the first student to be asked by the school’s Art Department to design the large sign above the doors to the gymnasium entrance. In 1968, the theme was “Camelot,” so her practice in Old English Caligraphy paid off. Prom banners and signs were typically something the art instructor’s rotated doing among themselves. The poster was shaped as a shield and very “King Arthur and Harry Potter looking” she says.
Hadden took third place in the regional Glendale Days of Verdugo Carnival & Parade’s highly competitive poster contest in 1969, and that carnival and parade continues today. She continued designing business logos for travel companies, Vegas hotel brochures and newspaper and magazine ads for bell bottom jeans, etc., while working part time with her father Norm Ingersoll Design Studios.
Cindy continued to sketch and paint almost daily, carrying a journal everywhere. At fifteen, Hadden began her working career in retail at Sunset House, and then in customer service and retail management at Aaron Brothers Art Mart on Santa Monica Blvd in Hollywood, CA. The original Aaron Brothers were friendly, funny and art supportive, allowing her to exhibit and sell her pieces in their main store. Abstract Expressionism, Jackson Pollock, Art Nouveau, Modernism, Willem de Kooning, M.C. Escher, Andy Warhol, Picasso, Impressionism, Peter Max, just to name a few, intrigued Cindy, making strong impressions on her thought process.
Being young in the 60’s was an exciting time. During her employment at Aaron Brother’s, she met many prolific actors, selling to them art supplies and frames. She also sold paintings at several Sidewalk Art Tours, as well as attending LA City College, taking psychology and Advanced Design courses (having the instructor’s permission to bypass the Basic Design courses).
Lastly, Hadden remembers her thinking being influenced by the people with flowers in their hair heading for San Francisco, sneaking into the Whiskey A Go Go, college professor Timothy Leary telling the youth “to tune in, turn on and drop out,” as many heroes were lost in battle. She witnessed history when police and Army National Guard shot and killed American students at Kent State. The Viet Nam War protests, bra burning, the stage productions of HAIR, TOMMY and Jesus Christ Super Star were all happening, as well as the growth of posters, black lights and “head shops” all over southern California. She has not forgotten that $10 could buy a ticket to any concert, including those she attended; The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Iron Butterfly, The Chambers Brothers, Spirit, Crosby Stills and Nash, Fleetwood Mac, Heart and on and on.
“Music sets us on fire in every way…”
In the summer of 1969, the artist moved to Michigan with the opportunity to continue college there. She attended Grand Rapids Jr College (now Grand Rapids City College), and there she studied European History and various art and painting classes. Hadden was the first student in the college’s history to be asked by the art department to design their 1970 Fine Arts Poster and Brochure. After a year, and encouraged to do so by the art instructors at Grand Rapids, Hadden returned to the Los Angeles area and applied to Art Center College of Design.
In the two to three years of returning to California, Cindy married, and applied to Art Center. By a panel of judges, she was accepted three times/trimesters to the small Art Center College of Design, the nation’s number one art institute at the time – and running. For over a year, however, there were no student loans for artists, largely due to deepening costs of the Viet Nam War. While seeking money for art school, Hadden took a couple of classes again at LACC and three semesters of private study under Glenn Vilppu in Portraiture, Life Drawing and Life Painting. Vilppu had taught at Art Center and was offering private lessons in Hollywood. He took to Cindy within her first five minute oil portrait and five minute model sketch. He told her if she kept up that work, she could become a fine artist, which she found to be very uplifting.
With funds running out, Hadden gave up on her chances to attend Art Center. Cindy, her husband (who always supported her art) and two best friends from high school, took a six week vacation driving up and down the west coast and interior to Canada and back. They camped at every National Park and traveled the remarkable and unique natural settings. This trip ignited a sense of awe and passion for nature that the artist has never forgotten. Still, it was a hard decision to pour more effort into landscapes, trumping Life Drawing and Painting. Ultimately, the four friends moved to Washington State in the early 1970’s, remaining family to each other for some eighteen more years.
Right away, there was interest in her work in the unincorporated south end of Seattle. Cindy exhibited at Highline Community College, and was exhibited twice in future years at the Black Diamond Gallery and Museum, with newspaper revues and write-ups. The artist took several more classes in design, painting, ceramics and sculpture at Highline Community College and Green River Community College.
As Hadden continued working in retail management for a paycheck, she did advertising design out of her home studio for over a decade. She painted landscapes as often as possible in oils and acrylics, as well. In 1977, she became the business owner of Nite & Day Graphics in a strip mall in Federal Way, WA. Later, her sister Terry joined her in that business endeavor. Together, they created dozens of business logos, graphic designs, posters, banners, multi-medium paintings, as well as serving as printing solution consultants. They worked for Seattle’s infamous James Jeans Inc. with arranging photographers, models and design brochure and ad layout work.
Cindy Hadden primarily works in acrylics, gouache or oils. Her paintings are presented over the last eleven years through the annual “September Studio Tours” with ARTrails of Southwest Washington. She intermittently exhibits in various local area businesses.
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