What do you get when you cross 25 years of TV news reporting with a little girl who just wants to color?
Lonnie Lardner: An unauthorized biography
by Josh Kaplan
Lonnie Lardner has yet to win an Oscar, a Pulitzer, or a Nobel Prize, and I swear to God, she’s pissed about it. She is insanely creative, unflinchingly positive, unnervingly competitive, and blindingly charming. She’s been an award winning TV reporter, radio personality, documentary filmmaker, fine artist and corporate creativity consultant.
She was also perhaps the worst waitress ever to work at any International House of Pancakes location, and a fairly inept 18-year-old summer replacement customer service representative at PAN AM Airlines (although she insists she had little to do with that carrier ultimately having to declare bankruptcy).
She has a remarkably inquisitive mind. Most people soon outgrow the insatiable curiosity of their pre-school days. Lonnie never did. Nor has she ever allowed anyone, or anything to squelch her sense of wonder about each new encounter. It’s that trait that makes her such an extraordinary artist. She finds art in every moment, every cloud in the sky, every crack in the sidewalk, and every scribble on a piece of paper. Where I see scratches on the back of a truck, she sees urban life recreating a Cy Twombly masterpiece. (See her recent post: “Scribbles of Understanding” http://www.thelardnerreport.com/scribbles-of-understanding)
(Just an aside–I think her abstract work is every bit as brilliant as Twombly’s and you can say her name without sounding like you have a speech impediment.)
Whether working with woefully underprivileged children in South Central Los Angeles, or providing creative challenges for some of the most successful executives in the country on private jets, Lonnie finds the inner artist in each of them. But more than that, she finds a way to make them see the inner artists in themselves—which, in my estimation–is a greater accomplishment than an Oscar, Pulitzer, or Nobel Prize.
Josh Kaplan is Senior Executive Producer, KTTV FOX Los Angeles. Oh yeah–and Lonnie’s husband.