Tom Funk Mid Century Illustrator
Tom Funk was born in Brooklyn on 18 July 1911, and attended Amherst College, the Art Students’ League and the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design, New York.
He was working in a display studio when he met Edna Eicke, later a celebrated New Yorker cover artist. Here’s a little of Edna’s work for ‘ The New Yorker ‘ in the late 1940’s and 50’s.
They were married in 1943, and until 1953 they lived in Greenwich Village, New York. Like many other artists, writers and actors, they then moved to Westport, Connecticut – considered an artists’ community, and at that time regarded as being way out in the country. Here’s some of Tom’s black and white etching style work.
Tom’s career included freelance book, magazine and advertising illustration. His work appeared regularly in the New Yorker and the Dramatists Guild Quarterly, and frequently in Harper’s, Woman’s Day, Gourmet, House & Garden and LIFE. He designed Christmas cards, and for many years contributed the Amherst College New Year card; he illustrated books and activity kits for children, textbooks, and many cookbooks. His grandfather and great-uncle had founded the dictionary publishers Funk & Wagnalls, and Tom illustrated four books on word derivations written by an uncle, Charles E. Funk, the firm’s former head lexicographer.
After nearly fifty years in Westport, Tom moved to Norwalk, Connecticut, where he continued to draw and paint local scenes and was happy to prepare artwork for many local organizations. His last major project was a collaboration with the late William G. Cahan of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY, on a series of anti-Big Tobacco cartoons. His hobbies included folk dancing – until his death, on 9 October 2003, aged ninety-two, he was an active member of the Nutmeg Folk Dance Group – and playing banjo with friends. He sounds a great character as well as an amazing artist.