Everett Raymond Kinstler was born August 5, 1926 in New York City. His father, Joseph Eugene Kinstler, was born 1895 in NYC of Austrian ancestry. His mother, Essie Abramson, was born 1899 in NYC of Russian ancestry. They married on September 27, 1923. He was their only child. His father, a veteran of the Great War, was a clothing manufacturer. They lived at 50 Lincoln Road in Brooklyn.
In 1941 at the age of sixteen, he quit school in his Sophomore year at the High School of Industrial Arts, in order to work as an inker at a comic book company for three dollars a day.
He studied at the National Academy of Design on 89th Street and the Art Students League on 57th Street.
Also located on 57th Street was the art studio of James Montgomery Flagg. After an impressive visit with the celebrated artist he became his greatest influence and mentor.
In 1945 he began to create pen & ink story illustrations for pulp magazines, such as The Shadow and Doc Savage for Street & Smith.
On October 15, 1945 he entered military service as a Private in the U.S. Army. He was honorably discharged in 1946, after which time he resumed his busy illustration career in NYC.
In the 1950s he worked for Avon Publications, drawing mystery, war, and western comic books. He also drew for Dell Comics, Fawcett Comics, DC Comics, Ziff-Davis Comics, and Atlas Comics.
He continued to work for pulp magazines during the 1950s, creating interior story illustrations for Short Stories, Adventure, Thrilling Detective, and Ranch Romances. He also painted pulp magazine covers for Short Stories and Ranch Romances.
In the 1950s he began to sell freelance cover paintings to paperback book publishers, such as Avon, Hillman, Bantam, and Pyramid.
He married Lea Nation on June 23, 1958. They moved to Connecticut and raised two children, Katherine and Dana.
In the early 1960s he began to receive portrait commissions, and he was soon a nationally-celebrated portrait painter. He has painted over 600 portraits of artists, dignitaries, corporate leaders, Hollywood Stars and Presidents.
After his first marriage ended in divorce, he married Marguerite "Peggy" Griffen Chartier on January 1, 1996.
In 1999 he was awarded the Copley Medal by the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Ray Kinstler is very busy painting every day in his historic landmark art studio at the National Arts Club in NYC.
© David Saunders 2009