Boston area artist responsible for Pink Flamingos
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Published on June 30, 2015
If you think of pink flamingo lawn ornaments you may imagine that they are the product of an artist in Florida. Yet they are the unlikely product of a Boston area artist, designer, and inventor Don Featherstone who died last week. Born and raised just west of Boston in the city of Worcester, in 1957 he graduated from school at the Worcester Art Museum. He quickly put his art and design skills to work at a maker of plastic lawn ornaments, Union Products, located just outside of Worcester, which is located west of Boston. He used his training as an artist to design hundreds of plastic sculptures, which were primarily used as lawn decorations. Although he was trained formally as an artist, he found opportunities in places where art and business overlap, and eventually rose to the role of president of the company where he had started after art school. Despite his hundreds of designs, the one enduring piece of work is the pink flamingo, which has been copied and also inspired things ranging from floating pool toys to clothing, and even found a home in the Smithsonian museum.
Many modern artists tend to gravitate towards digital design tools and online art. Learning Photoshop and Illustrator, they frequently think of all commercial art or design requiring skills to build websites or create PDF flyers and code email campaigns. Yet there still are roles for traditional artists, and these roles can even be enhanced by modern techniques, such as learning Illustrator and using a modern 3D printer to prototype a design for testing before moving forward with production.
Like many artists, Featherstone signed his original artwork. In this case, the signature appears in the mold for the flamingos, and you can still find it there to this day, in those that are produced a short in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, not far from where the originals were designed and created.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.