Arthur Leslie Ross, Jr. was born December 4, 1910 in West Orange, New Jersey. His father was also named Arthur Leslie Ross, of Scottish ancestry, and was a designer at a rug mill in Amsterdam, NY. His mother was J. Margaret Hoffman, of German ancestry. He had an older brother, Warren. His family called him "Let" and his friends called him "Joe." They lived at 58 Whittingham Place.
After graduating from West Orange High School in June of 1928 he went to work at a printing company, The American Color Type Co.
In 1929 he studied at the New York School of Fine Art, and from 1931 to 1934 he studied at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where he crossed paths with H. W. Scott, Walter Baumhofer, Frederick Blakeslee, and Rudolph Belarski.
In the Fall of 1934 he opened his own freelance art studio on East 63rd Street in NYC, and then later at West 67th Street.
His first assignments were interior story illustrations for Mavericks and Bull's Eye Western Stories. He was soon painting cover illustrations for pulp magazines, such as All Sports, Blue Ribbon Western, Complete Cowboy Novel, Complete Northwest, Crack Detective, Dime Western, Exciting Sports, Popular Western, Real Western, Spy Stories, Sport Story, 10-Story Western, West, Western Aces, and Wild West Weekly.
On April 5, 1937 he married Pearl Elizabeth Mather of Montclair, NJ. In 1939 they bought a five-acre property as a weekend home in Poughquag, New York, in Dutchess County.
By 1941 he was doing freelance work for Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures, and Paramount Studio.
He was drafted and served in WW2 as the art director of the U.S. Training Aid Division at Fort Hood, Texas. His wife moved out west and lived at off-base housing and in 1944 their daughter, Carolyn, was born. After the war their property in Poughquaq, NY, became their year-round home.
Working from his home art studio, he resumed his post-war pulp magazine career and painted covers for Action-Packed Western, Dynamic Science Fiction, Famous Western, Giant Western, Super Sports, West, Western Action, and Western Trails.
In the 1950s he painted covers for paperback book companies, such as Bantam Books, Berkley Medallion Books, Gold Medal Books, Monarch Books, Perma Books, Pocketbooks, Popular Library, Pyramid Books, and Signet Books.
He illustrated men's adventure magazines, such as Cavalier, Real, and Real For Men.
He also worked for J. Walter Thompson Agency in NYC and he illustrated jobs for Boy's Life, Colliers, United States Shipping Line, and the Hollywood movie poster for The Bridge Over The River Kwai.
In 1960 he opened a private art school on his property. As his reputation grew he was invited to teach night school art classes at the local high school. He wrote a book for art students, Art With Understanding, which was never published.
According to the artist, "Some 15,000 years ago people drew on cave walls. They invented ways of expressing themselves. With a strong desire to express what they felt, they drew without hesitation. Their work carried the conviction of positive thought in expressing a sensation. Their drawing are great because of their delicate sensitiveness and the assurance that reveals how they felt. They are not realistic or abstract, but are pure expressions. If these people were able to create great art, surely you can. The only barrier you have is your mind. You must feel sure of yourself and work with the conviction that you are starting something truthful. Creative work needs a starting point. Not unlike the foundation necessary for a fit life. The same commitments are demanded for both the artist's picture and the artist's life. The picture without structure is superficial and empty."
A. Leslie Ross died in his art studio in Poughquag, NY, at age of seventy-eight on August 24, 1989.
© David Saunders 2009