With the 2020 Chowderfest only six months away, we have already completed the process of coming up with the logo design.

Long-time area artist, Hud Armstrong, is the man responsible for the uniquely creative designs we have had year after year.  We have relied on Hud’s artistic talents since our very first Chowderfest back in 1999!

Our VP of Membership Services & Events, Connie Crudo, and I met with Hud recently to get a little bit of background on the man, his accomplishments, and the thought processes he employs with each design.

Hud Armstrong in the service

Born in Chicago, Hud's family moved to Saratoga County in 1946. He developed an early interest in art and began his artistic endeavors at around the age of four. Largely self-taught, he did also take some private lessons in his early years. He attended the State University College at Buffalo until 1966 when he was drafted into the Army, and served his country until 1968. Following his discharge, he attended the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts where he studied anatomy, drawing and painting. Hud returned to Saratoga for several years, then spent a decade working in Huntington, Long Island, and ultimately returned to Saratoga in 1987 where he remains.

SCTB staff caricature

His first job in Saratoga, while still in high school, was at the Gideon Putnam Hotel where he operated the elevator. In addition to getting the guests to their rooms, he was also responsible for loading tables set for dinner in the downstairs kitchen area onto the elevator and delivering them to the upper floors, and then later bringing them back down.

Wishing Well 50th anniversary caricatures

Hud's first Saratoga art job was for the early years of the Caroline Street block party where he did caricatures of event attendees. Although small at its inception (in the 1970s), the block party later grew into a much larger affair in the 1980s.

He became known for his caricatures, illustrations, murals, portraits and cartoons. He created and illustrated a comic strip from 1991-1999 for Poor Richard’s Saratoga Journal which became quite popular, particularly in August during track season.

Some additional examples of Hud's work

Hud Armstrong Travers party invite with text on left and photo of jockey on Birdsong on the right.

1986 pen and ink ad for Tin and Lint featuring Statue of Liberty and old plane

Red Sox player holding bat, caricatures of many other plalyers behind him

Then, in 1999, along came Chowderfest! Hud’s design for our first-ever event, after creating several design possibilities, featured Diamond Jim Brady and Lillian Russell as he wanted to be sure to incorporate a design that would link the event to Saratoga. The first year’s Chowderfest design is shown below. (Hud fondly recalls that his mother and girlfriend LOVED this design.)

1999 Chowderfest logo with cartoon man and woman sitting at table with spoons to their mouths

The 2nd year, he went with a design that had a Norman Rockwell feel to it, involving children (now known as “the boy and the girl”) and the additional characters of “the duck and the squirrel,” who he felt tied the design not only to Saratoga in general, but to Congress Park in particular. The design did, indeed, resemble artwork from the Saturday Evening Post during the 1920s and 30s. “A boy, a girl, a duck and a squirrel” were born, and have become the standard characters in all our Chowderfest logos.

2000 Chowderfest logo with boy and girl sitting on bench and steam coming up from their soup bowls

Each year, we decide which Saratoga landmark we would like to see featured in the logo. For the 2020 Chowderfest (scheduled for February 1), we have selected City Hall as the area landmark to be included, in celebration of completion of the extensive renovations it has undergone over the past year due to a lightening strike in August of 2018.

Once we decide on our design, Hud comes to the office to personally discuss and understand what we are looking to have designed. For the 2020 logo, he went to City Hall for some sketches and decided that he would prominently feature one of the lions stationed in front of the entrance, in addition to the front door and stairs, as a means of depicting the building in a way that would be immediately recognizable to anyone who looks at it.  Each year, upon completion, he brings us his sketch done with paper and pencil, we review it, and have him make modifications if necessary. At that point, it is hand delivered to T-Shirt Graphics in Ballston Spa, NY, who creates the coloring. Once we approve the final coloring choices, and everything is finalized and approved, Hud’s design becomes the front of the tee shirt we see on the many Chowderfest attendees each and every year.

2020 Chowderfest logo

2020 Saratoga Chowderfest logo

Hud’s artistic talents are varied and his works are beautifully and intricately detailed, and can be seen throughout Saratoga in places such as the Olde Bryan Inn, 9 Maple, Siro’s, City Hall and the Saratoga Springs City Center.

Discover Saratoga is exceedingly grateful to Hud for the beautiful designs he has consistently created for our Chowderfest logos since 1999!

And, MARK YOUR CALENDARS for the 22nd annual Saratoga Chowderfest on February 1, 2020!

Photo of Hud Armstrong with his arms crossed and a half smile

Artist, Hud Armstrong