FRED STONE

Fred Stone - 1930-2018

Fred Stone was born April 13, 1930 in St. Louis, the second son of Sam and Dorothy Stone. When Fred was three years old his family moved to the Fairfax district in Los Angeles, where Fred grew up loving both art and baseball. Even though art was in his soul – gathering butcher paper from the local deli to draw on, taking the streetcar to art classes on weekends and summers – he dreamed of being a professional baseball pitcher.

But at age 16 Fred’s baseball career was cut short. After winning the 1946 state championship, his semi-pro team Burk’s Giants were invited to play an exhibition game against the St. Louis Browns. After eight and two-third innings with no hits, Fred's arm gave out. He was told he would never pitch again. But even as his baseball dream faded, his artistic dream had just begun.

Attending Art Center College in Los Angeles and doing stints at Choinard and Otis, Fred was well on his way to a career as a commercial artist. Landing a job at the Advertising Agency Stevens-Gross on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Fred began honing his ability to tell stories through art working on illustrations for various clients. Grueling deadlines and a "Mad Men" lifestyle just didn't fit with Fred's style, so he and his wife, Norma, moved back to California, where he parlayed his artistic skills into Hollywood. Painting background flats for such TV shows as 'Gunsmoke', 'Rawhide', and 'Laugh-In', Fred loved the creativity and large scale that scene painting for the Studios gave him.

But by 1956, after the birth of both his daughter Laura and son Russell, finances were tight. Though painting was his true calling, making a living as an artist was tenuous and Fred wanted more for his family. An opportunity arose at Monogram Industries - a company his brother was CEO of - and Fred saw the importance of financial stability and accepted a full-time position. Working his way up to National Marketing manager in the Marine division, he helped shape federal laws regarding boat and pleasure craft pollution in America’s waterways.

But it was the business skills he honed during his time at Monogram that helped shape his return to the art world, and gave him the confidence to start his own company with his wife Norma – Equinart Inc. in 1975.

During this time his daughter, Laura, had become an assistant for famed trainer Charlie Whittingham and it was through her that Fred was introduced to the world of Horse Racing. Working on the backside of the Santa Anita Racetrack, Fred meet many of the greats of horse racing – Shoemaker, McCarron, Delahoussaye, Pincay and Stevens. Soon Fred was painting again and getting commissions.

But his real breakthrough came with his painting "The Final Thunder" featuring the horse Man O'War and his beloved groom, Will Harbut. Deciding to make prints of the painting, Fred and Norma’s fledgling company Equinart was soon swamped with orders and quickly sold out. That set the ball rolling for the business, and finally gave Fred both the artistic freedom and financial stability he had been looking for.

Since that time, Fred has painted the greats of racing history – Barbaro, Secretariat, Zenyatta – and the men and women that helped make that history happen – Shoemaker, Laffitte, McCarron – all with a unique style and passion. With a catalog of over 150 paintings, many have been prized by collectors and horse enthusiasts alike. He has had the great honor of having his work presented to the Queen of England, the President of the United States, and hobnobbed with the celebrities both on and off the track.