Anthony Ithurralde is a Salt Lake City-based artist best known for his historical illustrations that depict styles influenced by the 1920’s through the 1960’s. His art captures a certain essence of each decade and reflects a mix of Max Fleischer cartoons with vintage hand painted advertisements.
Ithurralde’s love for painting is intertwined with a love for history. “I’ve always liked history and research. Eventually they just came together,” says Ithurralde. “When I was a kid I was always painting in school. I was painting at home—drawing. I felt like I just kept it up.”
Ithurralde studied English History at the University of Utah. Just before graduating, he moved to Ely, Nevada, to assist with some historical art related renovations. There he became enamored with the city’s history and the aesthetic charm of classic Americana. Ithurralde says, “It’s a fun town. Kind of like Park City before Robert Redford’s Park City.”
Many of his paintings, such as his 1940’s Hotel Nevada, are inspired by the architectural designs of the town. He spent the next 8 years working there.
Ithurralde’s appreciation for the past is primarily for its sense of style and not through the rose-colored lenses of nostalgia for aspects that are conveniently overlooked.
“I’m a very modern man,” he elaborates. “The only thing I like about the 1920’s through the 1960’s is the style. But it definitely wasn’t the good ol’ days. I’m really giving these places creative license. I wasn’t born in 1900. I didn’t go to these places, but this is kind of how I visualize it.”
Back in Salt Lake City, Ithurralde spends much of his time painting commissioned portraits. One particular piece was on the roof of the Hotel Utah’s Roof Top Garden Club. For this piece, he subtly added a depiction of a same sex couple enjoying the summer air among the many other couples in the portrait.
This work was done during a time of the controversy surrounding the Mormon Church’s involvement with California’s Proposition 8 during the 2008 election.
The depiction isn’t one that is meant to shock, rather just to show a natural outing. “How great to have this club on the roof on the Hotel Utah, overlooking Temple Square, and having these couples—gay, straight, interracial, whatever— and they’re all enjoying the same music,” Ithurralde says.
In 2013, Ithurralde won a national award for his “Great Gatsby” illustration, inspired by Baz Luhrmann’s 2013 film of the same name.
Regarding future ambitions, Ithurralde flirts with the idea of doing an old Disney type of animation which requires a hands-on approach instead of one that relies on a computer.
For more on Ithurralde, he can be contacted for commission work through his website: ithurralde.com. While there, or via Ithurralde’s Facebook page, readers can also view his extensive collection of paintings.