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Rollerdog

November 28, 2022

Hi there and I hope this finds you all well, this post originally went out in 2020 but I thought it a great colourful addition to these colder greyer days that I’d like to show it again.  I picture you snuggled down with a cuppa ready to be visually entertained lol. Well I hope not to disappoint with the vibrant and fun artist I have in store for you today.

I’ve been following Helen Foster’s company Rollerdog for quite a while now. Helen is an Illustrator and Designer, living in Derbyshire. She is also on Instagram as rollerdogdesign. As you can probably tell, Helen, like myself, has a penchant for lovely (and often lanky) longdogs! Here’s a couple of her initial drawings.

 

I messaged Helen to ask her more about her company.

How did you first become interested in the Lurcher, Greyhound, Whippety dogs that you illustrate?

I’ve always been enchanted by the gentle elegance of these dogs with their supremely long snouts, and their affectionate, sweet nature really appeals to me. I had a whippet called Speedy and sort of shared our neighbour’s beautiful greyhound, Talent, who I had a deep bond with. I also love it that despite their noble appearance, they often have hilarious, tangled sleeping positions and some extremely goofy facial expressions.

I noticed that you had been inspired by some great pics of other hounds from Instagram, which helped create some of your wonderful designs. Do you have any plans to branch out into more products using antics from pet profiles online as your inspiration? Perhaps it could be a competition for a new tea towel design lol

 

That’s a lovely idea! I’ve run a few competitions in the past and invited folks to upload their hound photos and I was overwhelmed with the funny and touching responses. And yes, I’ve been so inspired by my Instagram feed: I love the ‘pile of whippets’ photos of @cosmicpearlwhippet, and those of your very own Boo of course! I really enjoy making a cup of tea and scrolling through the beautiful photos and incredible artwork that’s being made all over the world. 

Talking of Instagram, I’ve found happiness in the ‘creative hub’ experience of getting to know fellow creatives. As an example, a creative ‘visual conversation’ started after I made drawings based on some of @cosmicpearlshippet’s beautiful whippety flower crown photos. Jane then recreated her original photo, complete with flower crown and a handmade collar to match the collar I’d worked into my drawing, as you can see in these photos:

What is your training or business-life prior to Rollerdog Design?

I became a freelance illustrator after leaving uni in the late nineties, and carried out commissions for some wonderful and diverse clients, including educational publishing houses, charities and public sector organisations. One memorable project was to design the children’s range of packaging for Hotel Chocolat, for which I was part-paid in Turkish delight! (Don’t worry Association of Illustrators, I was paid properly in actual money too).

I love the fact that you donate to the Forever Hounds Trust. Did you choose this worth-while Charity for a specific reason?


It started with a phone call from Naomi from the charity, who’d seen my work online, and we hit it off. Afterwards I looked at the gorgeous hounds on their website and I’ve never looked back. They have a fabulous team of volunteers who rescue abused or abandoned greyhounds, lurchers and other sighthounds from all over the country.

I believe the business is more than 2 years old, is this a full-time venture for you or something that’s still developing and growing?

Answering this question reminded me that Rollerdog turned 3 in January this year, and I completely forgot to celebrate! Yes, it’s a full time venture which continues to grow. It still feels new and I don’t get bored – there are always new products to try my designs out on (some more successful than others…let’s try to forget the unfortunate saggy socks experiment of January 2020).

Cushions, Tote Bags, Cards, Coasters, Aprons, Magnets, Tea Towels and Keyrings… what’s next for Rollerdog Design?

I often get asked about producing art prints and have recently found a fab print house that produces beautiful quality prints onto a range of art papers, so I’d like to offer this as an option in my shop. I’d also like to look further into getting my work licensed so that I can spend more time making new designs (although retail that can be great fun, and not meaning to lay it on too thick but I’ve truly never had a mean customer. I receive the most touching feedback, sometimes with very sweet photos – and quite often with the hound interacting with their new Rollerdog goody in the cutest ways, as you can see in these photos, the first one giving new meaning to the term ‘doggy-bag’ !

I’m loving the new cards and would like to see more of a range of those that you can purchase separately or together with the gift selection you presently offer. Also a few more male centered doggy designs for us dog loving males too : )


I’ve been talking with my printing chap (@artistgiftprinting) who produces the cards and we’re hoping to start offering just the cards on their own in the months to come. I’m also planning to bring some other animals into the mix, such as one of my favourite mammals of all time, the beautiful but endangered pangolin. I’m also a great fan of the beautifully dinosaurial rhea and seeing a hare in the wild always gives me a jolt of happiness – and they need our help too due to the cruel sport of hare coursing.

Any other dog related businesses or Illustrators work that you follow and admire?

So many. One of my favourite artists who also happens to love sighthounds is Whyn Lewis (@whynlewispaintings). I admire the characterful drawings of J. Otto Seibold (@jottoseibold) and Marc Boutavant (@chienpourriii) and Helen Dardik (@helen_dardik) produces the most gorgeous, fun patterns and paintings. Not dog-related I know but as a lifelong Moomin lover I find the work of the wonderfully wise and funny Tove Jansson endlessly inspiring. The list could go on and on.

Many thanks Helen for your informative, amusing replies. I get a sense that you match your chirpy characters very well ; )  I recently bought four beautiful coasters which I admire everytime I make a cuppa, which as were all in home isolation right now.. is quite often these days lol. How fab are these ? You can purchase anything from Rollerdog’s great range of gifts here and tell Helen I sent you : ).

Helen’s design skills include some great cards !

 

and have recently also turned to ducks !

Thanks Helen for letting us share a bit of your world today : )

Margery Gill Mid Century Book Illustrator

November 21, 2022

Happy Start to the week everyone and I hope this finds you well. Before I show today’s guest illustrator, I would like to tell you about an exciting event that is happening on Saturday 3rd and 4th December.  I am hosting my last sale of Fishink Ceramics this year on my Instagram account @fishinkblog between 9am and 5pm GMT, in my stories and on my feed. There will be a host of Ceramic Retro Birds, Fish, funky bird shapes and new Cat / Dog and other animal plaques suitable to hang on your wall like the ones below. They range in price between £15 and £50.

It would be fab if you could drop by, say hello, leave a like or perhaps make a purchase for yourself or a present for a friend, it all helps so much and also allows me continue to work, live and run this blog. If you don’t have an instagram account you can also visit https://www.greatnorthernevents.co.uk (link will be live on the day or the day before) who will also have a selection of my work on their site under the ceramics section.

I look forward to seeing you in either place and please follow me on instagram and tell your friends who may like my work, to do the same, many thanks Craig.

Ok on with the post today and I’m talking about an illustrator who many Enid Blyton fans may remember.

Margery Jean Gill (5 April 1925 – 31 October 2008) was a British illustrator of children’s books.

Born in Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, Scotland, on 5 April 1925, she was brought up in Hatch End, London after her father Oscar moved there to take a job at the Post Office Research Station developing the speaking clock.

She left school at 14 and took a place at Harrow School of Art. In 1946 she began studying etching and engraving at the Royal College of Art, married actor Patrick Jordan, and illustrated her first book, Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, for the Oxford University Press.

After a series of commissions for the Oxford University Press, Gill began an association with The Bodley Head, for whom she illustrated over thirty books between 1957 and 1982, including Margaret Kornitzer’s 1960 novel about adoption, Mr Fairweather and his Family, and books by Anita Hewett, Roger Lancelyn Green and others. John Ryder, the publisher’s design and art director, said her early work was “interfered with, rather than aided” by her background in etching and engraving, but as her drawings became bolder her work became more in demand, her serious, unsentimental view of childhood suiting the kitchen sink realism prevalent in children’s books at the time. She remarked “that is often how children are — taking their own lives seriously”.

Eleanor Graham, the founding editor of Puffin Books, also sought her out to illustrate books including  A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Gill’s lack of recognition was cruelly underlined, when a 1961 edition of this book was reissued as a Puffin Classic. Margery’s 24 pen-and-ink illustrations for the book were among her best work, but on the title page her surname was mistakenly printed as Hill.

She worked for numerous other publishers, including Jonathan Cape, for whom she illustrated Susan Cooper’s Over Sea, Under Stone in 1965, and Chatto & Windus, for whom she illustrated Cooper’s Dawn of Fear in 1972, drawing on her own memories of living in London during the Second World War.

I love her interpretations (below) for Susan Cooper’s classic first book in ‘The Dark is Rising’ series of books, “Over Sea Under Stone’.

Cooper said of her work on Dawn of Fear, “She caught the image of the kids I was writing about perfectly, with no communication. That does huge things for the confidence of a writer.” She illustrated A Candle in Her Room for Gollancz in 1966. She would often travel to capture the landscape and setting of books she illustrated, particularly those by Ruth Arthur and William Mayne, and for this reason a German publisher commissioned her to illustrate a German translation of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons.

During the 1960s Gill was working in colour and had become one of Bodley Head’s prized possessions – she was hugely sought-after as publishers began to explore working class lives in children’s literature. In his obituary written in 2008, Matthew Weaver made this astute observation: “Her sometimes solemn drawings of children underlined a new attitude to the young. Children were no longer to be talked down to, but taken seriously. Margery’s drawings, which presented a lively and unsanitised view of childhood, were in vogue. But always modest, she shunned the opportunity to exhibit her work “

Gill didn’t always find the creative process easy and would often go through periods of despair when she would threaten to destroy all her work. But ultimately she was prolific and clearly she saw her drawing as fundamentally important to her: Every drawing is a fight which I really enjoy. I enjoy, too, the failures, and starting again ” 

But by the early 1970s the prevailing fashions in book illustration were beginning to change and there was a declining demand for Gill’s social realism. Her output declined significantly and ill health – breast cancer and arthritis – meant her last book was illustrated in 1985.

She combined freelance work as an illustrator with motherhood – she had two daughters – and a teaching job at Maidstone College of Art. From 1969 she and her husband lived in Alpheton in Suffolk. As the 1970s went on her work fell out of fashion as publishers preferred cartoonier illustrations for children’s books, and her output was slowed by arthritis in her hands, and in her later years, cataracts. The last book she illustrated was Anne Thwaite’s Pennies for the Dog in 1985. She did voluntary work in her retirement, including charity collections and Meals on Wheels. She died on 31 October 2008.

She was admired by fellow illustrator Shirley Hughes, who said “I thought her work was terrific. It made me look to my laurels. It was modern – the children she depicted were less sweet. Margery used solid black line with tremendous fluidity and ease: the way her children stood and moved was very distinctive”.

Many thanks to Wikipedia for the information used in this post.

Also for all folks local to Manchester, UK I will be taking part in an afternoon Craft event here next Sunday. Hope to see you there : )

Reginald Montague Lander Midcentury Posters

November 14, 2022

Hello one and all, here’s a great escape to a more tranqil mid century time, have a fab week ahead.

Reginald Montague Lander was born in London in 1913 and lived until he was 67.

Educated at Clapham Central School and studied art at Hammersmith School of Art.

He produced a wealth of work in the 60’s and 70’s for travel companies. Look at these beauties !

A close up to appreciate the detail in his work.

He became the chief designer and studio manager at Ralph Mott Studio from 1930-9, and worked for Government Ministries and the British Transport Commission.

He produced a huge number of posters for GWR, LNER, British Railways and the Post Office, right up to the late 1970s.

He worked in a few different styles, painterly, graphic, architectural and even quite cartoon-like.

Reg worked predominantly using gouache and watercolour and had many distinct styles. Here’s a very painterly rendition of Conway.

There’s not been a great deal of change as this photographic view of Corfe Castle in Dorset (below), clearly shows.

Sadly as there isn’t a great deal of information online about Reg, I don’t know if he worked from real life, sketches or from photographs. I’m guessing a mixture of all three.

I love these rural views. The texture and colours work so well together.

Slightly strange yellow and orange, cloudy borders, I must say.

A beautiful harbour rendition above and a very different style of work below, almost like a grey-green version of a Seurat painting lol.

If the images I found online hadn’t been attributed to Reg, I doubt I would have believed that they were all the work of one person. Great to see how adaptable he was as an artist.

One of my favourite styles is this truly midcentury 50’s and 60’s one below.

He must have created hundreds of posters during his lifetime.

Quite a prolific and hopefully affluent artist.

Look at these beautiful scenes.

More uplifting scenes to make you smile here.

These remind me of the work of Harry Stevens and Daphne Padden.

If anyone has any more information about Reg Landers I’d love to hear it. Which of his work makes you smile the most ?

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Marian Mahler Mid century textiles

November 7, 2022

Hi !

I thought that it’s a while since I have said hello to everyone reading my posts. Hey what a strange and varied time we are in !

I hope this finds you all well and that you are discovering some simple things to inspire and interest you. For myself I think it is all about keeping myself active, engaged and present, even when I have to spend copious amount of hours indoors or at home. Please feel free to peruse the back issues of posts on my site, they go back over the last ten years and there are over 1200 of them for you to read, look at and hopefully loose yourselves in. Do let me know if you find a connection in one or more of them and I hope you find them inspirational and engaging.

Remember with Christmas fast approaching, to shop small and support small businesses this year more than ever. We all need to put our savings into shopping small and keeping those creative tiny companies alive and well or come next year, they may no longer be around. If you like Ceramics then please take a look from my stories and feed what I have available for sale and I can ship my work to anywhere worldwide, even direct to your chosen recipient ! Follow me today on Instagram @fishinkblog.

So.. onto today’s creative artist.

Marian Mahler (1911-1983) Austrian born had trained at the Kuntgewerbeschule in Vienna  (1929-32) and at the Royal State Academy, with some of her early designs being produced by the Wiener Werkstatte.

She arrived in Britain in 1937 as Marianne Mahler and worked as a free-lance designer,  having supplied leading firms with her designs before the war.

During the early 1950’s she produced many designs for Allan Walton Textiles, Edinburgh Weavers, Donald Brothers Ltd. and Helios.

Her best client was David Whitehead in his ‘Contemporary Prints’ range. Whitehead’s were Britain’s most dynamic printed textile company, based in Rawtenstall, Lancashire. By 1948 the company was directed by architect Dr John Murray, whose ambition was to establish the Company in the forefront of contemporary design and to make good designs available on the mass market.

He wrote an article on his philosophy The cheap need not be cheap and nasty which was published in Design , Dec 1950. Twenty of their designs were chosen to be displayed at the Festival of Britain and on the SS Campania, the touring ship of the festival.

She also created a few book covers for Penguin books too.

Lovely work and a great influence on British fabrics during the 50’s and 60’s. If you liked this post you will also be interested in the one on Lucienne Day and Barbara Brown. Apologies if I may have accidently included one of Lucienne Day’s designs in with Marian’s above, they both used similar motifs at times an so it is easy to get them confused.

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Enid Marx A design pioneer

October 31, 2022

Enid Dorothy Crystal Marx was born in London on 20th October 1902. She first went to school in Hampstead, then at the age of 12 she boarded at Roedean in West Sussex where she benefited from an excellent art teacher. In 1921 she entered the Central School of Arts & Crafts to study drawing, pottery and printed textile design. After a year she went to the Royal College of Art (RCA), where she studied under Paul Nash, among others, with fellow students, and future RDIs (Royal Designer for Industry), Edward Bawden and Barnett Freedman. The assessor failed her diploma piece as being too abstract but sixty years later the RCA appointed Marx an Honorary Fellow in 1982 and Senior Fellow in 1987.

Gallimaufry, the College magazine, included Marx in its ‘Hall of Fame’ for 1925 because ‘among all the misses who flirt with Art, she alone woos it seriously’. Nash recognized her originality as a pattern maker and he encouraged her to become an early member of the Society of Wood Engravers and the Society of Artists.

Marx spent a year in the studio of Phyllis Barron and Dorothy Larcher as their apprentice. She learned how to mix dyes and the craft of hand-block printing on textiles. In 1926 she set up her own studio printing her usually abstract and geometric designs on various materials. These soon became extremely fashionable and sought-after.  A reviewer of the 1928 Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society’s exhibition, for the RSA Journal, said that ‘Enid Marx is an able designer; her printed linen…might be taken as a good example of a good collection’. Two years later a review of her first one-women show at the Little Gallery elicited an appreciation of her designs, ‘somehow she manages to combine forms that are essentially in the modern spirit with large harmonies that have the most agreeable traditional suavity’.

Just a small selection of the repeat patterns that Enid created.

Marx showed her work at many exhibitions including Zwemmer’s ‘Room and Book’ and ‘Artists of Today’ shows, as well as the 1935 Paris Expo. Christian Barman RDI of London Transport commissioned Marx to design seating fabrics for their trains and buses (1935). They formed a mutual admiration society, Barman praised her work and Marx wrote his obituary for Design magazine (1980). Other commissions included lining fabrics for luggage designed by John Waterer RDI.

Curwen Press commissioned a number of her repeat patterns on paper to bind their publications. Book covers and wood engravings were commissioned by a number of publishers, including Chatto & Windus, Hogarth Press, Faber & Faber and Penguin, as well as being featured in various publications such as Artwork, The Studio and The Woodcut Annual. She also wrote and illustrated a number of children’s books and, with her lifelong companion, the historian Margaret Lambert, she published pioneering works on folk art – a subject close to her heart. English Popular and Traditional Art, published in 1946, was Marx believed ‘the first time there had been an overall survey, and the notion that there was indeed such a thing as English popular art’. Her bequest of the Marx-Lambert collection of 19th century ephemera, to join their holdings of British folk art has ensured that Compton Verney holds the largest collection of popular art in Britain.

With Paul Nash and Eric Ravilious, Marx taught wood engraving at the Ruskin School, Oxford (1931-33) and she spent a term, as cover for an absent tutor, at Gravesend School of Art. She took her students, including the future RDI Sir Peter Blake, to see a considerable collection of ships’ figureheads. Blake hints that this might have been the start of his own enthusiasm for popular art. At the age of 63 Marx took up full-time teaching at Croydon College of Arts as Head of the Department of Dress, Textiles and Ceramics (1965-70). ‘I was rotten at admin…but the students were poppets’, she wrote. ‘I think they only wanted me for my RDI!’ She continued to help and advise students until she was well into her nineties.

During the Second World War Marx was one of the artists invited by Sir Kenneth Clark to participate in his ‘Recording Britain’ scheme to record the country’s natural beauty and architectural heritage under threat from German bombing and other destructive forces. To her surprise her children’s book, Bulgy the Barrage Balloon, was an instant success. As well as writing and illustrating several more books Marx also produced little chapbooks, printed on off-cuts to amuse the young during air raids.

After the war Marx was invited to join one of the teams sent, by the British government, to Germany to report on how the Germans set about training designers. Margaret Lambert wrote up their findings in a report for the Board of Trade and its publication subsequently helped Robin Darwin form many of his ideas for reshaping the RCA when he became Principal. Marx went on a similar fact finding visit to the Scandinavian countries and reported that, in spite of the war, they had managed to achieve work of quality and innovation. Towards the end of the war Sir Gordon Russell RDI invited Marx to join the Design Panel of the Utility Committee. Her textile designs were produced by Alastair Morton RDI at Morton Sundour and exhibited at Britain Can Make It (1946). Morton and Marx shared a close and creative relationship for the rest of their lives. These utility fabrics also featured in the RSA’s Design at Work exhibition (1948) and she wrote the section on ‘Furnishing Fabrics’ in the accompanying booklet. For the Festival of Britain (1951) Marx helped RDIs Milner Gray, Reco Capey and Keith Murray select the furniture, furnishings and equipment for the Festival’s Royal Pavilion. The invitation to design commemorative stamps for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 provided Marx with the opportunity to work in a different medium. ‘Our stamps’, she said, ‘are, or should be regarded as, our Queen and country’s visiting card’. Marx described working on the stamps as one of her greatest pleasures. She received a further commission from the Post Office to design the Christmas stamps for 1976, her designs for these were taken from the ‘Opus Anglicanum’ embroideries.

Appointed a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) in 1944 in recognition of her excellence as a ‘pattern maker’, the only member of the Faculty to be given this attribute, Marx felt that she was now accepted as a professional, ‘before I was like most women artists, just considered an amateur’. She regularly attended Faculty meetings and took an active role as a jury member for the RSA’s Industrial Design Bursaries competitions. Marx urged the RSA to be more proactive and influential in design education, she regularly encouraged them to extend their archives and raise their profile and she used the correspondence section of the RSA Journal to express her concerns about the British manufacturing industry, design and craftmanship. In her appreciation of the life of the Finnish textile designer Dora Jung HonRDI, for the RSA Journal in 1981, Marx wrote that Jung’s ‘weaving forms a beautifully illuminated page in the record of Finnish art and design’.

A small, dark determined woman of considerable stamina Marx campaigned ceaselessly for the continuation of the direct, unaffected, but human design values that her generation had established before the war. Enid Marx died in London, at the age of 95, on 18th May 1998. Many thanks to the University of Brighton Design Archives for the information for this post. Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save

Walt Peregoy Mid century background artist with Disney

October 24, 2022

Walt Peregoy was born in Los Angeles in 1925. He spent his early childhood on a small island (Alameda, California) in San Francisco Bay.

He was nine years old when he began his formal art training by attending classes at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Berkeley, California.  At the age of 12, Walt’s family returned to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in Chouinard Art Institute’s life drawing classes.

At the age 17, he dropped out of high school and went to work for Walt Disney as an in-betweener.

 

In 1942, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard and served for three years in the Infirmary as a 1st Class Petty Officer. After World War II he continued his art education, studying at the University de Belles Artes, San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, and with Fernand Léger in Paris.

 

In 1951, Walt returned to the United States and resumed his career with The Walt Disney Studios. Although skilled with these more conventional projects, his personal style began to surface. Walt’s unique style began to meshed well with that of his contemporary, stylist Eyvind Earle.

Walt and Eyvind’s work on Paul Bunyan (1958) was nominated for an Academy Award in the short category.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their unique style of animation on Paul Bunyan was a departure for Disney. Walt continued to work at Disney for an additional 14 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He was lead background painter on Sleeping Beauty (1959)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before embarking on the most ambitious, intelligent, and personal effort, his work as color stylist and background artist on One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), and The Sword in the Stone (1963).

He later worked on Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969), and other series produced by Hanna-Barbera.

He returned to Disney (WED Enterprises in 1977 through 1983), contributing his unique view to the design of Epcot Center in Florida, where his influence included architectural facades, sculptures, fountains, show rides, murals and pavilions. This study drawing was done for his design work at the Epcot Center, in the Land and Imagination Building.

More backgrounds from other films.

 

 

Along with Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle and Joshua Meador, Walt was one of the featured artists in Disney’s Four Artists Paint One Tree documentary. This documentary illustrated the unique interpretation that each artist can bring to a single subject matter.

Walt’s work has been the subject of one Man Shows at: Stockton Museum, California; The University of Santa Clara, California; Galerie de Tour, San Francisco, California; Rutherford Gallery, San Francisco, California; Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, California; Landau Gallery, Los Angeles, California; Dickie Hall Gallery, Laguna, California; Jack Carr Gallery, Pasadena, California. He has also participated in group shows at: National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C..

 

He taught Background Styling at Brandes Art Institute from 1984–1985 as well as Principle of Drawing.

In the last years of his life, he continued to draw and paint in the Los Angeles area.

He was well known for being an artist with a strong belief in his work and someone who wasn’t afraid to speak their mind. He had disagreements with Walt Disney himself and even aired his views about the reality of working for Disney in a speech he gave when he was nominated for a Disney Legend Award in 2008.

It’s interesting to hear this because it shows a truer side of life at the Disney studios. His great granddaughter Jennifer Guzman said about the Awards ceremony…

” The rest of the people honored that day spoke for 2 to 3 mins. I think Uncle Walter would have gone much longer than these 10 mins if they hadn’t taken him off stage. I love how the band started trying to play him off… he will only speak louder.”

A great individualist and a true artist.

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You can be sure of Shell

October 22, 2022

Fishinkblog 10127 Shell Oil 1

Good day everyone.

As a child my earliest associated memory of going for petrol, was always the free gift you would get for filling up at that service station. Different companies tried to outdo one another with the presents they would bestow on you for your custom. As an early artist, I particularly remember one company giving away felt tip pens. Each colour had a name and so you were encouraged to try and get the set. I always found it so exciting, going to choose the colour (or colours, depending how much fuel you had bought) after my dad had filled the car. It was a clever way to get loyalty and repeat custom and was possibly one of my first exposures of the power of advertising and consumerism !

Shell used postcards as an early form of advertising, beginning in the early 1900s. Postcards were a quick and easy way of sending messages before telephones became a popular commodity and postal deliveries could arrive several times a day. The popularity of postcards helped Shell increase their profile in Britain, reaching everyone including the non-motorists.

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The first Shell advertising poster was created in 1920. They were displayed on the side of lorries carrying fuel to customers all over the country. These adverts (or ‘Lorry Bills’ as they became known), were designed in reaction to the public outcry against roadside hoardings in the countryside.

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Foreign posters too and a whole range of topics and themes, not just centered around the more obvious choices of cars and transport.

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Of course there were still many classic posters produced using the more obvious themes too.

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But unusually Britain’s landmarks and a campaign showing the different types of people who use Shell, became very popular.

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I’m sure you’re relieved to know that Judges, Architects, Scientists and even Film Stars all use Shell.

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We’re told it’s even a ‘friend to the Farmer’, giving it that ‘good for the environment angle’.

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The most innovative designs were created around 1932, when Jack Beddington became responsible for the company’s advertising. Under his direction, artists were commissioned who weren’t necessarily associated with commercial art. These artists went on to become famous names in British contemporary art.  Among them were people like Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Vanessa Bell, Ben Nicholson and John Piper.

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There are over 7,000 posters in the Shell Art Collection, reflecting the charm and character of a nostalgic age of motoring.

Just imagine filling up here… : )

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The poster (below) depicting the family all ready for their holidays, is definitely my favourite.

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Which one is yours ? You can find out more about the Shell Posters by visiting the National Motor Museum website.

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Taisto Kaasinen

October 10, 2022

Taisto Kaasinen (1918–1980) was one of Finland’s leading ceramic artists in the 20th century.

He was the son of Viljam Kaasinen and from 1941 married to Airi Lija Valtonen. Kaasinen first studied art on his own and then privately for Erkki Koponen and Uuno Eskola . He was trained as a ceramicist at the Arabia factory 1946-1952 and was employed as a ceramic artist at Upsala-Ekeby in 1952. He returned to Arabia in 1961 where he has his own studio in the art department. He participated in the exhibition Artium Exposé in Gothenburg in 1953 and in several exhibitions in Uppsala.

He was part of the Nordic tradition aiming for warm-hearted, humorous, and sometimes subtly ironic design.

My favourite piece is this cat, such a great character.

He became a prominent designer of animal and people figurines with rounded shapes and kind expressions.

Taisto’s artistry is represented at the numerous museums in the Nordic countries.

He even depicted Knights of Old and Knights of Bold !

Also using flat ceramic-relief artforms as well as more 3D sculptures.

‘People’ (the name of the sculpture above), is located on the Hermanni Parish Hall in Helsinki and was made by Taisto in 1967. It depicts five people of different ages, holding each other by the hand to form a chain which symbolizes unity within the parish and involvement in the different stages of people’s lives.

I love his range of 2-D and 3-D friendly ceramic pieces.

Beautiful Nordic Ceramics. If you enjoyed this, check out the work of Mari Simmulson, Stig Lindberg and Lisa Larson.

More about Mary Blair

October 3, 2022

In a blog concerned with mid century art, the artist Mary Blair is bound to crop up a fair few times. I recently came across another book about her by John Canemaker. Entitled ‘Magic Color Flair. The World of Mary Blair.

It was created for the Walt Disney Family Museum 2014 Mary Blair exhibit, of the same name, and is an authoritative collection of Blair’s life and work including the precocious paintings she made as a student at the renowned Chouinard Art Institute; the enchanting concept drawings she created for numerous Disney films; her lovely illustrated Golden Books, which are still treasured today; and the rarely seen but delightful advertisements, clothing designs, and large-scale installations that she devised later in life.

Curated by Academy Award winning animator John Canemaker and annotated with fascinating information about her artistic process, ‘Magic Color Flair’ is a bold, lively look into the work of an equally bold and lively creative, whose invaluable influence and keen eye helped shape some of the world favorite Disney experiences.

As I’ve already got the ‘Art and Flair of Mary Blair’, I may have to place this one under ‘future investments’.

After a little research I stumbled across this piece below which was sold at auction originally from Mary’s estate and dated 1966. It is said to be an early study for Mary’s tiled murals called ‘Tomorrowland’.

Here’s what the murals turned out to look like.

Such a wonderful array of colour, movement, style and well plain joy to be honest !

She had a great talent for bringing design and illustration to a large marketplace, in a friendly and creative way.

A few more snippets of Mary’s work I’d not seen for a while.

Some old favourites for Alice in Wonderland,

Peter Pan and Cinderella.

The classic rags to riches story.

I love Mary’s great sense of colour, style and application of paint.

Some mid fifties advertising and an early sketch for some Indian and African inspired designs.

You can also see a short sixties film about the making of the tiled murals for Mary’s designs here. I’ve also created more posts about Mary which you can see by clicking on the links under Mid Century Artists on the right side of my blog. Thank you.

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Bob Wilvers… Up to Date

September 26, 2022

Morning Everyone and I hope this finds you well.

I’ve recently added to my old post on the artist Bob Wilvers from the 1960’s, so for those of you who didn’t follow me back in 2011, here’s a complete update. Enjoy !

Bob Wilvers was the art director for the Carl Ally agency in the early 1960’s when he developed a campaign for Salada Tea. The commercial featured little old ladies on large Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the tag line ….. ”Who says that Salada Tea is for little old ladies?”  There’s a link to a poor copy of the original ad here and another 3 amusing Salada Tea ads here.

In 1964, he became a founding partner and co-creative director at Jack Tinker & Partners, with a client roster that included Coca-Cola, Gillette and Alka-Seltzer Plus. He was an accomplished watercolor painter and illustrator whose work was featured in several galleries and museums. Apparently Milwaukee based Wilvers was just 24 when he painted these.

I received an email from Terry who had read my blog about the illustrator Bob Wilvers and for those of you who missed it (tut tut) you can catch up here. At the end of the article I asked if anyone knew of any more of Bob’s work could they let me know. Terry not only knew of his work, but had an illustration of his own and even sent a copy so that I could show you all.

Terry explains ” I found this WC in a very rural part of Indiana and it reminds me of an area in West Allis, Milwaukee which was a district of homes which were bars/pubs on the first floor, and homes/apartments above on second/third floors. The signature looks a little like “williams” but on the back printed in pencil was Bob Wilvers on an entry form to an art exhibit in Milwaukee, so I assume this was painted well before he moved to NYC. Bob thumb-tacked the paper to a board, you can see 6 white holes around the edges where the water flowed around.” Such wonderful work, again with such spirit and so well observed. I’m so grateful to Terry for sharing this beautiful piece of Wilmers’ art with us, thanks again Terry.

For those of you who are still following me, regarding  the story of Bob Wilvers, there is yet a further addition and a surprising happy ending.

After a reader of my blog sent me an image he had of Bobs’ work, I was suddenly gripped with an urge to see if there was indeed more images to be discovered. I was lucky to be able to track down Bobs’ daughters Roberta and Tracy, and they very kindly sent me some images of the pieces of their fathers’ work, that they had in their homes. Such beautiful work should be shared with many and I hope that by blogging here, we can all appreciate what an amazingly skilled artist he was.

Roberta informed me that ” The images that you have on your blog came from the Ford Times October 1956. It was an article that was written by my mom and illustrated by my dad. One of the attached images is also from that piece. The other images are from the August 1957 issue. The Ford Times had quite a few piecesof my dad’s work. They donated one of the them, ‘ Trinity Church ‘ to the Smithsonian in Washington DC. ” (Featured further down).

I love the summery feel to his watercolours above and perhaps later images below where Bobs’ style has developed and flourished into new areas.

My favourites however are still his beautiful landscapes, with their rich colours and textures.

Sincere thanks again to both Roberta and Tracy for kindly allowing us access to the images above. Amazingly, I’ve just managed to find an online copy of the Ford Times magazine October 1956 for sale, which features some of Bobs’ work. So a little piece of Mr Wilvers will live in my home too.

Also many thanks to Marilyn for sending this image of two paintings of Bob’s that she saw an antique show approx 10-12 years ago in the booth of W M Schwind Jr Antiques of Yarmouth, ME. They were marked $3500 each.

Another update (April 2017), just in from Tracy, who’s really enjoying seeing images of her dad’s work appear here. She sent me a link to the painting of Trinity Church at the Smithsonian (but not hanging at present). Another beauty, thanks Tracy.

Finally, a reader called Richard contacted me with these two wonderful pieces. Apparently, Richard’s father told him that Bob painted these in his eighth grade, they have been hanging on his living room wall since he was a child. How lucky ! Thanks Richard for getting in touch and sharing those with us, much appreciated.

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1959 Cover for Fortune Magazine

https://fishinkblog.files.wordpress.com/2022/09/420e5-19592b42bapril2bcover2bby2brobert2bw.2bwilvers.jpg

If anyone has any links to more of Bob’s beautiful illustrations could they please let me know. There’s an interesting article about his work in advertising here and a great feature about his life history here.

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