Someone mentioned to me they had seen an illustration they really liked of one of the Supreme Court justices in the Baltimore Sun. I told them I had drawn it. When someone asks exactly what it is I do, I often say they may have seen my work and not even realized it.
Photo by Vince Lupo
Direction One, Inc.
An early work
As a young child, Hulteng's love for drawing was evident. His father, an engineer, passed along his talent for building and fixing things. It was a sort of "figure it out, make it work" approach. His mother, a talented artist, musician and teacher, spent hours drawing with her son and taught him the basics of line work, perspective and shading and how to use a wide variety of mediums including pencil, paints and even plaster for sculptures.
His early fascination with the macabre, storytelling art and anything with wheels was nurtured by artists like Frank Frazetta, Frank Miller, James Bama and Ed Roth, as well as the satirical art of MAD® Magaizine. The genres combined to fuel Hulteng's compulsion to paint and modify bicycles, to sculpt strange clay creatues and spend hours drawing intricate scenes.
I've always been attraced to tiki art. My mom painted an elephant chasing three tiki natives on the wall in our basement when I was a kid.
By the time he was in high school it was 1970 and Hulteng began to develop a reputation as someone with a steady hand and the person to go to for custom brush work on cars and motorcycles. He and his friends all rode bikes, and the group became known as The Vicegrips (a play on the name of an actual biker club in Montana at the time called The Vicelords). After high school, he drove his 1937 Plymouth to Bismarck, North Dakota where he graduated from Bismarck Junior College in 1977 with an Associate of Arts degree in commercial art.
Returning to Montana, Hulteng freelanced and worked for ad agencies and a design studio, and was the the art director for a local television station. He moved to Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1986 where he was the staff artist at The Grand Forks Herald newspaper. It was here that Hulteng was able to combine his storytelling and illustrative skills as a visual journalist. The frenetic pace of a newsroom allowed Hulteng the opportunity to create a vast amount of work over a wide range of topics. A flood in 1997 devastated the city and a fire destroyed the newspaper building where most of Hulteng's work was stored. The newspaper received a Pulitzer Prize for Public Journalism in 1998 for the work the staff did during the flood.
Hulteng has lived in Maryland since 1998 when he was offered a position in Washington, D.C. as senior illustrator for Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service (now McClatchy Tribune). Hulteng's visual journalism work has won many awards, including a bronze Malofiej in 2008.
He is currently available for magazine and newspaper illustration work, commissioned sculptures, conceptual work and logo design. Also offering individualized drawing instruction.
Graphic for McClatchy Tribune, Washington, D.C., 2010 Copyright McClatchy Tribune