Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Call Me Ishmael

But the world knew him (as I did until yesterday) as "Woodi". Woodi Ishmael (1914-) always signed his magazine and advertising work with his first name. I have no idea why, but that distinctive signature graced countless ads, usually for something mechanical or industrial. Ishmael clearly found his niche by specializing in machinery, though he was just as adept with the human form and natural environments.

A web search turned up this dense site of biographical info, art examples and even audio clip interviews all courtesy of the U.S. Airforce. It turns out Woodi really enjoyed painting airplanes, and Uncle Sam had plenty of work for him. Go check it out.


  1. Woodi and Gwen Ishmael lived on our dead end street in Larchmont, NY, for many years. As a kid, I used to love going up to his studio, which had a huge picture window next to his drafting table. Woodi was the first pipe-smoker I knew. He did several paintings of my dad and the Larchmont volunteer fire department. My sister has them framed in her house. Recently on eBay I was able to get a copy of the Elks magazine that carried a self-portrait of Woodi at his drafting table. What a remarkable talent and a great American.