6 Famous Father-Child Creative Duos

Written by Jack Neary

There’s a long tradition of family businesses being passed down from generation to generation. There’s a certain comfort in putting your legacy in the hands of a loved one, and if it’s something a father has found success in, chances are their child might have the aptitude and experience necessary to do the same. 

The arts are no exception, and seeing a parent pursue their creative dreams can go a long way toward normalizing a career in these fields for their children. Kara Walker, a contemporary artist and daughter of painter Larry Walker, reflected, “There was a feeling of safety associated with making stuff. There was also something about materials being available.…I didn’t realize until much later that pursuing art might be a fraught career choice for most people. It didn’t occur to me at all.”

Some of these duos ended up with a similar creative bond and some went separate ways, but they’ve all found success in their respective fields. As Father’s Day approaches, we commend all dads who inspire their kids to create.

Frank and John Lloyd Wright

Fallingwater, a residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Mill Run, Pennsylvania
Fallingwater, a residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Mill Run, Pennsylvania

Frank Lloyd Wright is synonymous with American architecture thanks to his 1000+ structures across the country. From the Gammage Auditorium in Arizona to Fallingwater in Pennsylvania to the Guggenheim in New York City, Wright’s work is known for its unification of architecture with its surrounding environment.

Though they had multiple fallings-out over their shared lifetime, John Lloyd Wright spent time training under his father and designed many homes that are now on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to full-size structures, John is also the inventor of the popular children’s toy, Lincoln Logs.

Phil and Lily Collins

Known for his musical success with Genesis as well as a decorated solo career, Phil Collins had more US top 40 singles than any other artist during the 1980s. Look no further than this viral YouTube reaction video to see how his work endures today. 

His daughter, Lily, began acting at a young age and has since received several Golden Globe nominations, most recently for her titular role in Netflix’s Emily in Paris. Though she didn’t follow in her father’s lyrical footsteps, Lily may have called on some of his songwriting chops while working on her collection of essays, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me.

Guillermo and Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo, Portrait of My Father, 1951
Frida Kahlo, Portrait of My Father, 1951 
Frida Kahlo’s iconic portraits are known the world over. What’s lesser known is that her father was a photographer, specializing in architecture and landscapes. Several years after his death, Frida paid tribute to him and his craft with a portrait of him beside his camera.

Though Frida’s work traveled much farther than Guillermo’s, his photography impacted her from a young age. She accompanied him on photographic assignments and helped him in his dark room, and a few of her self portraits are based on photographs her father took.

 

Eliel and Eero Saarinen

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri

The apple did not fall far from the tree in this family as both father and son received gold medals from the American Institute of Architects. Before coming to America from Finland, Eliel designed the Helsinki Central Railway Station as well as the National Museum of Finland.

Eero started his career at his father’s architectural firm and then went on to design structures such as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the Washington Dulles International Airport, garnering inclusion among the most influential American architects of the 20th century.

Julio and Enrique Iglesias

Julio and his son Enrique
Julio and his son Enrique

Julio was a professional soccer player in Spain before an accident derailed his sporting career. This story has a happy ending, though, as he would go on to discover his talent for singing and sell over 100 million records in 14 languages. 

Enrique, a Grammy winner himself, inherited his father’s abilities and made his own mark on the music world. He was the best-selling Spanish language act of the 90s and has topped the Billboard Dance charts 14 times, more than any other male artist.

Larry and Kara Walker

Kara Walker, Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred between the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart, 1994, Cut Paper on Wall
K
ara Walker, Gone: An Historical Romance of a Civil War as It Occurred between the Dusky Thighs of One Young Negress and Her Heart, 1994, Cut Paper on Wall

At 28, Kara Walker was one of the youngest people to ever receive a Macarthur Fellowship “Genius Grant.” Over 20 years later, she is still a prolific artist known for her cut-paper silhouettes. 

She frequently cites the influence of her artistic father, a career educator who has had more than 200 exhibitions of his own, as paramount to her realization that she could safely explore her own artistic interests.