Jantzen is a swimwear company that dates back to the 1910's. They were able to stay ahead of their competition by employing cream of the crop in pin up artists. Petty, Barclay, Whitcomb, Vargas were the masters that left their imprint on the label, however today I wanted to focus on a little known but equally talented illustrator.
I am a huge fan of the underdog, rooting for the artists of equal talent yet lacking in press and praise. Pete Hawley, who had a 17 year long relationship (mid 1940's-50's) with Jantzen, had a knack for creating compositions of bold playful beautiful women exuding innocent sexuality through their poses and expressiveness. This winning formula paved the foundations and visual cliches now used in the "modern retro" pin up scene. Pete later went to work under a different name and painted amazingly hilarious child birthday cards for Hallmark throughout the 1960's.
I am a new fan. You can see more here.
It is so strange to see just how many publications were hand painted during the early to mid century. This generation of artists were almost wiped out when photography became in fashion. Unfortunately I do not have the illustrators' names for these covers. I can't imagine how little these artists were paid for such cheaply sold material. Look at those prices.
Look at what I stumble on. These are some really obscure Mexican pinup artworks. I don't have much info on them but can assume they were for the 1949 version of the Maxim magazines of it's day. It's such a shame that painted covers are no longer a common practice. I know, I know. The typical latina look is not there but keep in mind, Mexican culture, like many cultures, showcase the european/ american look rather than celebrating their country's distinct ethnicity but the white, red hared Mexicanas are just as beautiful a the brown ones. Published in Mexico 1949-1950 by Editora Excelsior. Art by Al Moore, Fritz Willis and Freyre.
Creation has a way of making you feel like a mighty proud king after finishing a piece. Other times it makes you feel like a bummy loser incapable of anything artistic. I cannot begn to tell you the amount of tears, frustration, depression, and wasted time I spent on revising images... badly. They were never good enough. My mind was stuck in a ditch, too stubborn to try something new. However when my pride was put aside, applying a new inspired avenue, my work came to life. If it's not "coming out right", let it go. It's not meant to be born to you.
Art by Mexican poster extraordinaire: Ernesto Garcia Cabral
The cream of the crop of all artforms often comes from the underdog, the underground, the little guy, and the forgotten who deserved more praise than whoever had the fame. Many times fame with lesser talent has more to do with better public relations than a good invention. As the saying goes, "Credit goes the the exploiter of the invention, not the inventor. Sadly the publlc does not care to know the difference.
This is why I scream "ARTISTS INVENTORS AND CREATIVES OF ALL TYPES! Exploit your artistic inventions before someone expliots you!" Now that the internet age is here. We are no longer at the mercy of the gatekeepers of studios, art galleries, museums, artistic cities or other creative politics that once hid the creative class from the public. There is no excuse for any artist to fall into obscurity if he or she can truly help it. Oh yeah, and it's FREE.
One of Mexico's most obscure artist/muralist A.X.Peña leaves us with a classic Mexican Tourist poster in the 1950's for the Mexican Tourist Association. There are only a handful of his works around.
Today's posting celebrates the works of some lesser known illustrators of the 1930's and 40's who knew how to paint hotties of their time. They deserve some shine.
I wish I knew who made this chocolate ad. Only 2 colors used. Red and black on white.
Arthur William Brown illustration of Greta Garbo
John Lagatta-"Why Don't You Call Him" romance story illustration.
Special thanks to Sheepback Cabin for the history.
The reason new sounds, images and new deas comes quickly to the youth is that kids find games in everything. Those playful games develop later into new musical and artistic combinations that become billion dollar industries and they all had their origins in avoiding boredom. All my art styles were products of me fiddling around with my software. Now I make a living from it. The battle is to always stay fresh and new which is never easy. If you are bored or your passion has become stale, perhaps it's time to have fun again.
Art by vintage Mexican comedic poster artist : Ernesto Garcia Cabral
Every first Friday of the month, the town that I am currently residing at has a small festival around historic Munn Park. Art openings, outdoor activities and a bunch of fun small town stuff. They even have their own mini vntage car show where restorers and enthusiasts show off their creations and classic antique cars. I go a kick out of the kids that have zero connection to that era look at the cars as if they came from other worlds. As children we often are amazed at new experiences, but to stay inspired constantly we would do best to keep exposing ourselves to new sources of input. These are taken with my measly iPhone camera.
A classic Corvette unrestored.
What lady can resist snuggling up next to you in this baby?
Look at how modern the design of that dashboard is. Mini Cooper seems to have gotten it's cues from one of these classics.
Built like a tank!
Look at the crank they used to start the cars. 1927 License place
LOOK AT THIS ART DECO MASTERPIECE OF A HOOD ORNAMENT!!!
OH HAI .
Wow! The tables have turned so drastically. What was considered "dirty", taboo, and underground in 1950's "wholesome" society has now crept up into the mainstream, a new movement that cherishes pinup cover art and culture as good clean fun. Culture has a funny way of captivating the younger generation who fall in love with the past and what the old has abandoned.
Man!!!! As an artist, how great it would be to transport back in time to the 40s and 50's seeing countless of these magazines on newstands in TImes Square. Yeah I guess I would seem like super pervert man peering into the stacks, but I love art and happen to be passionately blessed in rendering the female form. This would've been heaven to me. Wonders what current underground taboo movements are occurring right under our noses to be made mainstream in 30 years.
Would you have posed for these magazines back in the 50s or would your passion drown in what society thought was right?
Enough about Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Bettie Davis and the like. Sometimes I wonder why we think the world of vintage cinema revolves around Hollywood alone when there always an abundance of amazing talent worldwide. It is rare that you see or hear about actors and actresses from other countries unless they crossover to North America with an awful movie.
This post pays tribute to the "pinup worthy" icon of classic Mexican Cinema, Miss Maria Felix who starred in over 50 films, and muse to dozens of artists including Diego Rivera.
Mexican Cinema produced some of the best poster artwork worldwide and as you can see, she made illustration easy for the artist with her dark mane and expressive eyes. One of my own art works is a modern tribute to her movie "Doña Diabla. A Diego Rivera painting titled "Tehuana" which Maria classified as "muy malo" ("really bad") was originally intended to premiere in a retrospective on Rivera's work but Félix did not allow the painting to be displayed, as she never liked it.
Diego Rivera's muse.
and my modern Mexican/ Russian fusion version starring Russian model Maria Plaksina.
Coby Whitmore (1913- 1988)
In my opinion Coby Whitmore is hands down one of the best painters of very sexy all american 1950's women during this "New School" illustration period. In an effort to remain fresh he explored "unfinished" graphic shapes. Large areas have been minimized or eliminated in favour of letting background and foreground blend together in an interesting arrangement leaving minimal hints of a scene while other illustrators were painting and filling everything in a traditional manner.
During the late 40's and well into the late 50's, hardly an issue of Ladies Home Journal and Good Housekeeping, went by without story and/or advertising art by Whitmore.
Sadly, for many of these old school legends, there are no direct sites showcasing their contributions to the world of art except for fan sites like Todays Inspiration keeping their name alive. I will be posting a part 2 of Coby's work at a later time.
Renowned illustrator/painter Robert A. Maguire created gorgeous cover images for more than a thousand books and worked for virtually every mainstream publisher in the U.S. He is best known for his incomparably sexy "femme fatale" images for pulp paperbacks in the 1950s and 1960s. Check out the new book "Dames, Dolls, and Gun Molls". Support the unsung art heros of days gone by.
Art Frahm (1907-1981)
Art Frahm, a Chicago area artist whose commercial art ranged from magazine cover illustration to zany "hobo" calendar paintings, excelled in (and perhaps created) the "ladies in distress" series for the Joseph C. Hoover & Sons calendar company, in which a lovely girl is literally caught with her panties down, her lacy undies slipping to her ankles while she's in the process of bowling, walking the dog or changing a tire. Frahm was commercially successful. His falling-panties paintings are still considered too camp to be art, and too juvenile to be erotica However this genre (which Frahm seems to have created) was in demand in the 1950s, and was later imitated by some other pin-up artists.