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Celebrating Illustration, Design, Cartoon and Comic Art of the Mid-20th Century

Bernie Fuchs: "... the home town was very proud."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

David Apatoff, who wrote the issue-long article on Bernie Fuchs in Illustration magazine #15, sent a message the other day:

"Leif, I am sending three illustrations by Bernie from 1958 -- a series he did for Coke when he first broke out of the pack."

"Here is what is special about these. In the first picture, the girl is wearing a high school sweater with a big "O" on it."


"That stands for O'Fallon-- the small town where Bernie grew up and married his high school sweetheart."


"This series of illustrations for Coke was when Bernie first began to pick up momentum, at the beginning of a 50 year, worldwide career. At this early stage, he was still looking over his shoulder at the little town in rural Illinois that he had left behind."


"If you look at the third picture, someone has written in ballpoint pen, "March 2, 1958." That was written by Bernie's mother in law back in O'Fallon."


"In those days, his mother in law was clipping out and saving the artwork of the young man who had taken her little girl away to the big city (Detroit). I get the impression that not many people ever left O'Fallon, but when someone escaped and made good-- actually had a picture published in a national magazine..."


"... the home town was very proud."

Many thanks to David for sharing these rare, early Bernie Fuchs illustrations with us - and for the charming anecdote that accompanies them. Be sure to visit David's blog, Illustration Art - always guaranteed to be a fascinating read!

* My Bernie Fuchs Flickr set.

39 comments

  1. There are several children's books illustrated by Bernie Fuchs that are fairly new (within the last ten years or so.) Many of these I've seen at my local library, like "Ragtime Tumpie." There was another one that he wrote himself called "Ride the Wind" about the Pony Express. They all have several interior paintings.

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  2. These are more than 50 yrs old and still look good to me. It is fun to see these.

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  3. On a larger scale, kind of reminds me of Walt and Marceline, though I suppose we all have that tendency to revisit our past and cherish our home town on some level.

    More incredible work by Fuchs. Nice post.

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  4. I will say this,he does tend to overuse those 'overlapping figures going back into the distance' compositional device a bit.Lovely story though.

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  5. Am I missing a joke here? Clearly the lady in stripey T-Shirt is Audrey Hepburn, are the men significant? They look as if I ought to recognise them.

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  6. After looking at Fuchs illos this week in retrospect, I always saw something special there in his very early work, and when he hit the magazine scene, it was like a runaway train without brakes. IMO, he was one of a very small group of illustrators, who broke into the 50's and early 60's, that had a great sense of beauty, fashion and style and refined taste in depicting attractive elegant people. They incorporated a progressive sense of design, flow and pattern in their compositions. Al Parker had it, Coby Whitmore, Joe DeMers and Joe Bowler also had that great elegance and sophistication to their work. Even when Fuchs did his many sports features for Sports Illustrated, it was always there.

    Chad, those overlapping figures provided an interesting well connected flow to his strong compositions. Fuchs influenced many illustrators to overlap their figures in interesting and well designed ways. He also was one of the first editorial illustrators to use the "frieze composition" so effectively and frequently. What Al Parker was to the 50's, Bernie Fuchs was to the 60's.. and if I recall correctly, both started their careers in St. Louis and both were skilled musicians, that had to choose between their music or their art for a career.

    Tom Watson

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  7. Jasper12:18 AM

    Leif, sorry to go off-topic here, but I was wondering if you could recommend a few of the best female mid-century illustrators. I know it was a male-dominated industry, but I'm hoping that you will be able to name just a few significant ones.

    Thanks!

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  8. Interesting to watch, beside the highschool-sweater girl with the big "O" - there's the man trying to manage this big "O"-shaped tire one-handed, because for advertising reasons he is obliged to hold a Coke bottle in the other hand.

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  9. Jasper;


    You bet! I'd be happy to: I'm going to include some links for you to previous posts on some of the great female illustrators I've written about right here on Today's Inspiration:

    Joyce Ballentyne: http://ow.ly/lwgU

    Sheila Beckett: http://ow.ly/lwh4

    Barbara Bradley: http://ow.ly/lwh9

    http://ow.ly/lwhg

    http://ow.ly/lwhw

    http://ow.ly/lwhE

    http://ow.ly/lwhK

    Tina Cacciola: http://ow.ly/lwhR

    Naiad Einsel: http://ow.ly/lwhV

    http://ow.ly/lwi8

    http://ow.ly/lwip

    http://ow.ly/lwiv

    http://ow.ly/lwiA

    Margaret Erath: http://ow.ly/lwiH

    http://ow.ly/lwiK

    http://ow.ly/lwiN

    Arpie Ermoyan: http://ow.ly/lwiS

    Loraine Fox: http://ow.ly/lwj2

    Gyo Fujikawa: http://ow.ly/lwj9

    Frances Hook: http://ow.ly/lwjh

    Mary Horton: http://ow.ly/lwjm

    Lucia Lerner: http://ow.ly/lwjq

    http://ow.ly/lwjx

    http://ow.ly/lwjC

    http://ow.ly/lwjG

    http://ow.ly/lwjN

    http://ow.ly/lwjS

    Elsie Manville: http://ow.ly/lwjZ

    Mary Mayo: http://ow.ly/lwk9

    Dorothy Monet: http://ow.ly/lwki

    http://ow.ly/lwko

    Marie Nonnast: http://ow.ly/lwku

    Jane Oliver: http://ow.ly/lwky

    Alice Provensen: http://ow.ly/lwkF

    http://ow.ly/lwkJ

    Aileen Richardson: http://ow.ly/lwkR

    Ruth Ruhman: http://ow.ly/lwkX

    And there was also Barbara Schwinn, whom I've been meaning to post about: http://ow.ly/lwl1 and many others (like Eness and Susan Perl) whom I hope to document some day.

    There you go, Jasper. Happy reading!

    Best - Leif ;^)

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  10. I agree with Burt. The girl in the Hollywood image is definitely Audrey Hepburn and I'm pretty sure the guy next to her is supposed to be Gregory Peck. "Roman Holiday" was produced in 1953 which would have just been a few short years before this ad came out. I recognized them immediately. Could be completely wrong… but sure looks like that set to me.

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  11. No, definitely not Peck.The guy with the 'tache looks a bit like Ernie Kovacs, but as he's wearing headphones I guess he's a production guy and the other two I would say are just generic 'types'.They appear to be in a TV studio as that camera doesnt look like a movie camera.

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  12. I would be very surprised if Fuchs tried to create a movie star or celebrity likeness on purpose, unless it was part of the assignment, like golf & tennis pros or baseball stars.. which he did for sports illustrated in the 60's. From what I have read and heard about him, he was his own man and blazed his own trail gaining his inspiration from the great illustrators before him. I think part of the challenge was the process of creating his own people (characters) in his illustrations, rather than ape a recognizable movie star. I think it would be just coincidental hat it might look like some movie star or celebrity, but of course the movies did help set the styles and trends of the day, and some illustrators influenced the movie costuming and sets.

    Tom Watson

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  13. I would be very surprised if Fuchs tried to create a movie star or celebrity likeness on purpose, unless it was part of the assignment, like golf & tennis pros or baseball stars.. which he did for sports illustrated in the 60's. From what I have read and heard about him, he was his own man and blazed his own trail gaining his inspiration from the great illustrators before him. I think part of the challenge was the process of creating his own people (characters) in his illustrations, rather than ape a recognizable movie star. I think it would be just coincidental hat it might look like some movie star or celebrity, but of course the movies did help set the styles and trends of the day, and some illustrators influenced the movie costuming and sets.

    Tom Watson

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  14. Harley4:42 AM

    Leif, I cannot thank you enough for providing this list. I am assistant-teaching an illustration class this Fall, and we noticed that almost all of our examples are male illustrators, but almost all of students are female. We wanted to include some excellent female illustrators so as to provide a fuller picture, and to avoid discouragement. I thought of some big names, like Mary Blair, but I knew you'd have insight into the somewhat-less-famous gems.

    As always, I will recommend this site as the premier destination for mid-century illustration history. It's simply the best!

    Again, THANK YOU SO MUCH.

    Harley

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  15. Harley4:43 AM

    ^
    BTW, I signed as Jasper last time, which is a nickname. I fluctuate. :)

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  16. My pleasure, Harley - as a matter of fact, you're question inspired my choice of this week's theme: a look at some more female illustrators. :^)

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  17. Harley, I find your comment interesting in wanting "to provide a fuller picture, and to avoid discouragement", for your mostly female students. I agree that there were some excellent female illustrators back then, but I don't recall a time that it made a big difference to male art buyers.. a good illustrator was in more demand than a mediocre or poor illustrator, male or female. A.D.'s were looking for what they considered was the right illustrator for the right assignment, regardless of gender. It's hard to imagine a young woman today being discouraged from being an illustrator, because the mid century examples you show them were mostly done by male illustrators. If that is the case, how will they ever survive a tough competitive industry. Barbara Bradley, one of my mid century teachers, was very successful as a major league illustrator, because she was damn good, and didn't feel like a victim of the "good old boy" mentality. Like most illustrators back then, she was successful because she worked her tail off, and did high quality work that A.D.s were looking for. If a female student.. or a male student wants it bad enough, they will learn their craft and stay with it until they find their place in the industry. And, they won't be discouraged because they didn't see enough examples of mid century female illustrators.

    Harley, perhaps you under estimate your female students. ;-)

    Tom Watson

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  18. I dunno, Tom; I think there's room to consider another point of view on this one - and that, as with any minority situation, its almost impossible for you and I, as members of the traditional 'old white male' hierarchy, to truly appreciate what would inspire or discourage members of that minority.

    I wouldn't underestimate how important it is for young women entering the field today wanting to see examples of role models - even at a distance of half a century - to draw inspiration from.

    As well, I would say that from my conversations with Barbara, she did feel somewhat discouraged by the 'good ol' boy' situation - at Cooper's and again after arriving in SF. Barbara told me she always felt very much like an outsider in her male dominated profession. Not an enviable situation.

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  19. Lief, I knew you would disagree with me, but not a problem. ;-) I understand your very warm and fuzzy points :-), but my observations are that a lot of young women today are mentally tough and are used to getting what they want. IMO, there's nothing wrong with being inspired by whomever or whatever turns you on, but what difference does it make if the illustrator that inspires you is in the M or the F category? All the female illustrators and designers I knew, were inspired by the artists work, not the gender. And, I did comps and illos for a lot of women A.D.s and designers for the software industry, during the late 80's and through the 90's.. gender was never an issue for me or them. We all talked the same language and pursued the same goals.

    As for Barbara Bradley, we had several lengthy email conversations on the subject, and, although most of the guys didn't invite her to go for lunch or drinks after work with them (probably felt they couldn't do the "guy talk" thing), but they had great respect for her work and treated her as a professional equal, including the owner the studio. In fact he encouraged her to take all the time off needed for delivering her baby and staying home afterwards.. in her words "he was always very understanding and kind to me". She wrote me that she never felt that she was passed over or black balled as an illustrator, and was often selected for her illustration style over men that had similar styles. Why?.. because she had a woman's perspective and understanding that they wanted. It actually helped her, and today some would look at it as reverse discrimination. But my view is that she was the right person for the right job.. it's how competition works. What I admired about Barbara, was she never indicated she was bitter, felt she was victimized or played the "feminist card".. even though it has become popular to do so.

    I also find it interesting that it appears woman might be in the majority in the commercial art field, or will probably soon be. If your assessment is correct Leif, will we have a 'good old girl" mentality? Will it be sweet revenge.. or just simply choosing the right person for the right job ?? ;-)

    Tom Watson

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  20. Tom; With all due respect, I stand by my opinion that you just don't get it. For starters, Barbara was, like most women of that era, more accepting of the inherent chauvinism of the men of those times. Consider this passage from my first post on Barbara in her own words:

    "Then Thursday and Coopers. I didn't expect anything... only hoped. However, Chuck liked what he saw! I was almost broken-hearted when he told me that he just didn't want to hire any more women artists. ( I never learned exactly why but gathered that another one had caused the studio some trouble). I assured him, to no avail, that I emptied waste baskets beautifully and cut a mean mat. That was the worst moment I'd ever had or would have because I was a woman."

    How exactly does that fit into your argument that women illustrators were judged on the merit of their work alone?

    The fact is we are all more comfortable, more inspired and work more effectively when we have role models who are like us. Why otherwise would universities be making such an effort to encourage more young women to pursue science and engineering courses by highlighting 'celebrity' female scientists who have become successful astronauts and inventors and so on?

    Its not about "warm and fuzzy" notions, "victimization" or "playing the feminist card" (all facile catch phrases, btw, used by those who seek to short circuit legitimate debate). Let's agree to leave them out of these blog discussions and on Fox News, where they belong.

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  21. Leif, to borrow your phrase from awhile back, "I think I struck a nerve". With all due respect back at ya, certainly you're not saying that if I don't agree with you, I don't get it.. or my ideas aren't "legitimate" (?). Barbara's quote, "that was the worst moment I ever had or would have because I was a woman", confirmed what she conveyed to me in our conversations.. that compared to other professions, when she got her opportunity, it was smooth sailing. My wife and I both started working during the mid century, and I get it!.. we were actually there, living it! I've seen what happens to those that feel sorry for themselves, and give themselves excuses, and I've seen what happens to those like Barbara, that didn't let the disappointments and tragedies such as Bernie Fuchs loosing his fingers, stop them from achieving a full and rewarding career, at the very least. And, a "legitimate debate" is not simply avoiding points you may not agree with.

    My reference to "feminist card", was important to my point of view, but maybe you missed my point. ;-) ... Barbara Bradley could have told you it was terrible for a female illustrator in the 50's, but as she related to me, she had a positive career. When I met her the first time, she was in her early 30's and was confident, firm and in control. She believed in herself as a woman and as an illustrator, in spite of her "worst moment" early in her career. I'm sure you can trot out a small list of female illustrators that had awful experiences in the 50's, but I suspect most women found more success in the illustration and design fields than other male oriented professions. It's obvious to me that Barbara saw the positive side of being a female illustrator in the 50's, and I couldn't have been more pleased for her.. and that's MY warm and fuzzy side. ;-)

    Tom Watson

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  22. Tom; Again, with respect, everything about your rebuttal suggests that you can't see this situation with any objectivity. Yes, you struck a nerve - but not because of your point of view on this issue - I just resent the condecending tone of your opening remarks that I have a "warm and fuzzy" view on this matter. It smacks of "pat-on-the-head" paternalism and seeks to invalidate my opinion right from the onset. I'd appreciate, if we're going to debate this topic, that we stick to the facts.

    Tom, because you were there doesn't give you authority to say "this is how it was". If that were the case, all the work of all the historians in the history of historical research would be rendered pointless. Sometimes we have a better view of the landscape when we step back a good distance and get a broader view. If anything, your personal anecdotal experience is only a tiny sampling - and one skewed by your personal philosophy on the matter (already thoroughly expressed) and the chance meeting of those you happened to interact with and their personal philosophies.

    My point in retelling the story of Barbara's initial experience meeting Chuck Cooper wasn't so much about demonstrating her strength of character (obviously praise-worthy) as it was to demonstrate a reality of the times: Barbara had the great fortune to have been initially rejected by someone who, as bosses go, has been universally lauded as one of the sweetest human being who ever lived -- and even he was prone to judge a female illustrator first by gender ("Sorry, I don't need any more women artists") and second on the actual merit of her work.

    If the nicest boss in the history of illustration was susceptible to that kind of chauvinism, what chance did all the many other hopeful female illustrators have with the many far less compassionate male bosses?

    To come full circle, its always easy for you and I, as members of "the ruling class" to look out at any minority or oppressed or under-represented group and say, "Well, I don't have any prejudice against you and I don't see any prejudice around me in my circle of friends and associates so if you'd just pull your socks up and work as hard as me and all my (white male) friends did to get here, you'd be just fine!"

    But looking back over the decades at the real numbers we see that simply wasn't the case, was it?

    Why?

    I submit it was because, just as I've read time and again in interviews with Jewish artists ( and in fact as its been expressed to me personally by some of those artists ) women and other 'minority' groups were judged by who they were first and on the merit of their work second.

    For that reason, its important that today's young female (Jewish, Black, whatever) artists have demonstrable role models from that era they can look to and say, "this person who was like me was a brave, talented determined pioneer, who overcame much larger hurdles than I will have to, and if they could do it, I can do it."

    I don't see why there's anything wrong with that. It strikes me as a perfectly natural human desire.

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  23. Harley12:30 PM

    Leif, I'm very excited about this week's subject matter, and proud to have helped inspire what we'll all be seeing and learning about.

    As for this debate, I knew quite well that, when I shared the reason for my request, the possibility existed that some sort of offense might be taken. I certainly don't want to live in a world of political correctness gone wild, and I'd venture to guess that Leif does not either. I'd like to assure Tom that this is not what is happening here. As a matter of fact, I really do understand some of Tom's concerns. Tom thinks the students should be tough already, and if not, they should be toughened up. I agree. I can see that Tom would like the academic and illustration worlds to be meritocratic. I am in favor of this as well. We simply did not want to give students the impression that this is a man's industry and a man's industry only. "Females in illustration" is in no way the thrust of the class. No big too-doo will be made about the sex of the illustrators. No inferior female artist will bump a superior male artist from the program, or vice versa. In fact, this is not a history class, it's a hands-on class where students will work on actual publishable assignments. The art directors will be making the final decisions regarding whose work is published and whose is not.

    As I said, I am the assistant. The professor is female, and has several decades of experience in the illustration business. It was she who originally raised the subject, and at that moment I realized that I did not know many 40s/50s female illustrators. I thought that I may well have been missing out on something. I've learned about all of my favorite illustrators when I've least expected it. Leif has been incredibly kind and helpful in this regard, and I can't thank him enough.

    A final thought - a female can bring a different touch to art than a male. I'd not want to learn about mid-century singing and have it be all Frank and Nat with no Peggy or Ella.

    H

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  24. An absolutely wonderful conclusion to this discussion imo,Harley - thanks. :^)

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  25. Leif, I'm not condemning or defending minorities of any type in the illustration field. I'll leave that for the social activists. The last part of your comments, I can agree with. I never said roll models weren't important, as you implied. In fact, my praise of Barbara's and other's characters and accomplishments, was to point out that there were women illustrators who could and did do well in a male dominated industry. As a teacher and a professional, she influenced and inspired many students, male and female.. the ideal roll model. Bravo! Nothing I have said denies that.

    Far more men than women were in the illustration and advertising fields back then, but then far more men had full time careers, and most wives stayed home to raise their kids. You can argue or disagree, but it doesn't change the facts.

    I knew women A.D.'s that almost always used female freelance artists, because they could relate better and were comfortable with them.. so it cuts both ways. And, frankly I didn't have a problem with that.. I understood. This may shock you, but I even knew women (plural) that made it a point to tell me that they would rather work for a man than a woman!.. claiming "woman are a pain in the ass to work for". Those are NOT my words or thoughts, those are THEIRS!

    Incidentally, isn't your expressions "good ole boy" and "old male hierarchy" some of those "facile catch phrases" you accused me of using, and said we should leave them on Fox News where they belong? And, isn't Barbara's first rejection from the owner of Coopers, just a "tiny sampling", as you put it when you attempted to dismiss some of my positive examples? Apparently, these accusations only apply to my opinion.


    To be frank, we have two different methods of drawing our opinions on this subject, Leif. Since you don't have any direct personal experiences working during the mid century, you read stuff and talk to people that more or less supports your thinking, and then arrive at a conclusion that satisfies your nature and point of view. IMO, you are a "theorist". That does not mean that you are ALWAYS right nor accurate in your opinion. I think my experiences together with Joan's experiences, and those around me at the time (good and bad), does give me credibility that I wouldn't have if I had not been there, done that. Frankly, I have an insight on the subject that you will never have.

    I knew men that felt and acted superior and were demeaning to women, which I didn't agree with, but they were usually jerks, even around the guys. But, I also knew plenty of men that gave woman a career opportunity, special treatment on the job, and even extra financial help.. my father was one of those men, and I admired him for it. Joan's father believed a women should have a college education, but her step-mother didn't think it was necessary, because she had a full time job that payed well, and SHE didn't have a college education. I agreed with Joan's dad. There is always two sides of a coin, even if it doesn't always support your opinion.

    Reading and looking at ads in American magazines from back then, is a good way to develop a one sided opinion, unless you are not looking for agenda support. It's too easy to spin it your way. Since the 70's, I have read and heard a lot of distorted and miss information, and the usual psycho babble about this and related subjects from writers that have personal agendas and little personal experience. I find that very unfortunate.

    Some people just prefer indulging on the negative and dark sides, I guess. ;-)

    Tom Watson

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  26. Tom;

    There comes a point in these Internet debates when the parties end up endlessly repeating their position without making any new progress, and I think we've reached that point. None of what you've written has moved me to change my opinion on the matter and I can see that you feel the same way on your side.

    Thanks for expressing your opinion with such passion and conviction.

    Time to lay this one to rest, I think.

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  27. Harley, thanks for your understanding. I was writing my last post here, so just now read your post. My fingers are getting stiff, so I will just say that I am glad there are still illustration instructors with your attitude and desire to inspire and help ALL your students. Keep up the good work, and I agree with your comment about "politically correctness gone wild".

    Tom Watson

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  28. I'm in full agreement Leif, and I appreciate the opportunity to have a lively debate. I think we are both equally hard headed on our views. ;-) At least we exposed both sides of the coin, which is usually the point of a debate.

    Respectfully,
    Tom Watson

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  29. Edward4:18 AM

    In a debate such as this I would always trust the 'eye witness' account. There's too much greivance history passing for fact these days and I think it is slightly impertinent of you Leif to assert your hearsay opinion over a man who was actually there, quite disrespectful in fact.Before long we'll have armchair historians telling veterans what it was like on the beaches on D Day just because they saw Saving Private Ryan.

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  30. Edward;

    Over the last several years on a nearly daily basis, I've read from legitimate expert source material like Walt Reed's "Illustrator in America", American Artist magazine, "Illustrating for the Saturday Evening Post", "Forty Illustrators and How They Work", "Art Director and Studio News", etc. -- I've conducted dozens of interviews with illustrators of that era and/or their family members, and corresponded with recognized experts in the field, including museum curators, educators and published illustration historians.

    If you honestly believe that, in spite of all that, my opinion on the matter is nothing more than disrespectful impertinence because I happen to disagree with the perspective of one particular eye witness to history, then there's a group of war veterans I'd like to introduce you to: The Nazis. As "eyewitnesses to history", I trust you'll accept their interpretation of WWII over those of all us "armchair historians" who weren't at Normandy but did happen to see Saving Private Ryan.

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  31. (And, btw, I'm not in any way comparing my friend Tom Watson to a Nazi - only pointing out how absurd your remark is, Edward)

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  32. Edward9:06 AM

    I understand the point you make,but contemporary historians view the past through the prism of the present; where good humoured banter as it would have been then is now seen as potentially sexist or low-level bullying.Even people who thought nothing of it at the time start wondering if their innocent comments could be construed as offensive.So a new story emerges, one in which their is now someone claiming some form of victimhood because they worked in an office where other people were allowed to smoke for example.
    Mr Watson was there, he's a good man now, he was a good man then and he behaved and saw others behave in accordance with the civilised mores of the time in the 'progressive' arena of design and advertising, I really think we can trust his perspective.Because your argument,unintentionally I believe, frames him as a fool or a liar.
    WRT Nazis.The Germans in no way deny their guilt for two world wars.In fact Mrs Merkel again apologised humbly for Germany's actions.Holocaust deniers and other crackpots may well have a different take on D Day...but are you categorising Mr Watson's observations with that kind of extremist comment...strange.

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  33. Wow..I was fascinated by your wonderful Fuchs post and then found myself caught up in your back and forth with Tom ( who I met in my neck of the woods...real nice guy )
    e
    I was hired by Barbara to teach at the Academy of Art and she sure was a tough ol bird. I really liked her.

    Since I'm one of those minorities every one seems to care about and want to inspire...it never meant much to me to have a mexican as a role model. I just cared about the art.Butsome people do need role models , so if it helps ...I have no problem with that too.

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  34. Edward; You understand the point I make but continue to gloss over the fact that I am drawing on eye witness source material, either in the form of recognized, acredited published experts in the field who were there at the time or actual first-hand interviewees who were there at the time.

    For some reason you insist on focusing on what you perceive as my character assassination of my friend, Tom, while completely ignoring any and all remarks he directed at me!

    And you go so far as to attempt to twist my analogy about the Nazi's into an attack on Tom when I very clearly pointed out that it in no way was meant to cast aspersions on him at all. It was directed entirely at you.

    FYI: I'm German and I resent you lumping all the German people in with the Nazis. Until I receive an apology from you don't expect any more of your comments on this blog to remain any longer than it takes me to delete them.

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  35. Wow, this has gotten way out of hand... and all because Tom Watson initially proposed that Harley's female students not be so infatuated with the idea of looking to other female illustrators in the golden age, and rather, just stick to their pens (or Wacom tablets).

    I think there are a couple of truths that some people seem to be ignoring here:

    1. "Minorities" were not respected as much mid-century (or prior) as they are today.

    2. Students research previous art/artists as part of their training (or they should), and most will chose a couple that they idolize for whatever reason moves them: concept, style, media, or even if the artist just represents themselves as an individual in some way.

    It's really astonishing that Tom - as a creative professional - could be ignorant of the fact that perception plays. Though there are the few that will buck trends and succeed no matter the cost, as a general rule, it's much easier to succeed if you know that at least more than a handful (of, at the very least, your same sex) have acquired success before you. Additionally, it's about story - being able to look at someone from afar and visualizing stepping into their shoes once in awhile... and if the roles were reversed, and Tom (and Edward) were back in school and it seemed liked all the old great illustrators of the past were women, I'd bet anything that they'd have a pretty hard time trying on those artists' shoes for a little inspiration.

    The truth of the matter is that Harley's students will probably keep on with their degrees no matter what - especially in this day and age in America - but what the hell is wrong with a little inspiration now and again. I mean, why are we even at this site? For the great illustration, the story, and especially for those just starting out, the inspiration from those who came before us.

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  36. Thanks for recentering the issue, Matt; I appreciate it -- you boiled down the point I was trying to make at the very beginning of this discussion when I said: "I think there's room to consider another point of view on this one..."

    Which Tom, I feel, certainly did consider, in spite of the fact that he and I engaged in a rousing debate in the course of defining our points of view. To Tom's credit, he said, "I never said role models weren't important, as you implied." [Incidentally, I did not mean to imply this, so apologies, Tom] "In fact, my praise of Barbara's and other's characters and accomplishments, was to point out that there were women illustrators who could and did do well in a male dominated industry. As a teacher and a professional, she influenced and inspired many students, male and female.. the ideal role model. Bravo! Nothing I have said denies that." And he concluded "At least we exposed both sides of the coin, which is usually the point of a debate."

    To which I say, "Bravo, Tom!"

    Obviously I like Tom, and respect and value his knowledge and opinion (even when I disagree with him) or I wouldn't have encouraged him to contribute as often as he has to Today's Inspiration as a guest author.

    I welcome strong opinions (actually, I wish more of this blog's readers would express them) and perspectives that differ from my own on the (possibly contentious - "Female Illustrators" - who knew?) topics I occasionally present.

    What I won't tolerate, however, is a troll showing up here making rude, unwarranted accusations and trying to rationalize his extremist, anti-intellectual views.

    Come here and engage in unnecessary pot-stirring and I will shut you down.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Leif, and Tom, sorry if I seemed to "restir the pot" a little. I think I was just irritated by the new poster that seemed to exacerbate the situation (and take Tom's side to a new level), and my post reflected that (by going to the source of this confusion).

    Civilized debate is always good, imo, and can be extremely informative to those who care about trying to understand differing perspectives than one's own. Trolls obviously don't understand that, or care.

    Keep up the fine work, Leif.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Not at all, Matt - but I (and I'm sure Tom as well) appreciate your considerate clarification. :^)

    ReplyDelete
  39. One of the men in the ad could be William Holden, who also grew up in O'Fallon Illinois. Ronald Reagan spent summers in O'Fallon at his aunt's ice cream parlor, and Holden was Reagan's best man at his wedding. See www.ofallonhistory.org

    ReplyDelete

 

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