Friday, February 09, 2007

A Sincere and Healthy Philosophy

I'm not entirely sure if this unsigned piece (below) is by Joe De Mers but something tells me it is. If you know for sure, don't hesitate to let me know.

I wonder, how did Joe De Mers feel about his advertising assignments? Here's a passage from the Introduction to the Famous Artists School course in illustration:

"The well-trained artist (and he must be well trained) who enters this field of art, with its special rewards of financial security, steady work, and the satisfaction of seeing his pictures reproduced, often nationally, must take on certain obligations. First, he must develop a sincere and healthy philosophy toward the use of his art. Second, he must realize that the buyer's interest in art for its own sake is secondary to his interest in its use to support his selling or communications effort. Third, he must learn about people - his client's audience and its reactions to art forms and symbols. And finally, accepting these considerations, he must produce good pictures that will not only reflect his own personality as a sincere artist - but will also deliver his client's message in a picture language that his audience will find convincing and easy to understand."

I have a lot of respect for the attitude expressed in that passage. I suspect it was an attitude that came easily to the commercial artists of the 50's - perhaps more so than it does to many illustrators today. From reading about - and speaking with - artists from that time I've come to appreciate their professionalism about their craft. Illustration was a great way to make a living and you got to express your creativity to boot - but the client's needs came first. This sometimes means the mattress or the sheets are the 'hero' of the piece and the beautiful girl becomes the prop.

Still, a true professional like De Mers managed to give the client what they wanted while producing his best possible work and maintaining his artistic integrity. That's admirable.

These pieces can be seen at full size in my Joe De Mers Flickr set.

1 comment:

  1. Regardless of the masterful technique employed in these pieces, they both make me want to sleep for an entire week straight. Those fresh, massive pillows are calling my name!