A native Chicagoan, Bert Hoddinott grew up as a typical, ordinary young man in America’s heartland. Ordinary, that is, until the day the world discovered he had an extraordinary talent — an innate ability to artistically wield pencil, pen or paintbrush.
After high school, Bert chose to pursue a Liberal Arts education at the college of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He left college early to enter the Army and served his country in Japan for two years. Upon leaving the service, Bert entered the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he spent four years majoring in Fine Arts and Advertising, the last two on full scholarship. While a student, Bert began his fledgling advertising career as an illustrator at the Hoover/Kern studio in Chicago. It wasn’t long before Bert’s portfolio of work attracted attention. He was soon hired by Foote, Cone & Belding, one of the leading advertising agency networks in the world.
A talented art director and engaging presenter, Bert was awarded numerous industry awards and promotions throughout his career. But it was his propensity for coming up with that unexpected visual element that made him truly legendary. A rare talent that caused copywriters to be in a never-ending line outside his office, waiting for their pedestrian words to be majestically elevated by a “Hoddinott” layout or storyboard.
In retrospect, long hours at the agency prevented Bert from devoting more time to his avocation of painting. In fact, the impressive array of pictures on the following pages makes one wonder where the real genius of Bert Hoddinott might really have been residing all these years.
It was Bert's wife, Barbara, who championed the idea for presenting his work in book form. As Barbara is wont to say, “I’ve had Bert and his wonderful paintings all to myself for ever so long. I decided it was time to share the two loves of my life with the rest of the world.”
An ever-youthful 85, Bert Hoddinott continues to pursue his passion in the bucolic village of St. Charles, IL. He also enjoys storytelling, woodworking and model trains.