Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Empty Calories for the Brain

Much of early 20th century advertising art can be considered kitsch — gaudy, tacky, however one defines the term. And yet, as 'art for the masses', it has appeal, at least as eye candy — empty calories for the brain. My aesthetic appetite always has a taste for the exotic flavors, whatever the caloric level.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Certificate of Ownership

It used to be that collectors of books would paste an 'ex libris' label in each of their lovely acquisitions. Basically it was a little certificate of ownership that indicated, "this is my treasure, hands-off unless I deem you worthy of loaning this book, and even then you better damn well return it", or sentiments of that nature.

It used to be that persons with money would have their book plates designed by an artist of renown, making them quite collectible in and of themselves.

Then, back in the '60s, there were adolescents like me who bought, for a couple of bucks, a little box of mass-produced bookplates for my mass-produced books. Tolkien's Middle Earth had a huge upswelling back then and I had assumed this was an image of Bilbo Baggins, even though this guy doesn't have big furry feet.

I think I saw this same bookplate design at B Daltons a couple of years ago. Every once in a while as I look through books that have been with me for years, I see one of these with my name signed on it and think again, "this is my treasure . . . "

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Sweet Summer Nights

It's not officially summer where I am, but it's starting to feel like it.

Here's a toast to sweet summer nights to come!

A stipple print of art by Camille Roqueplan — 1839

Monday, June 1, 2015

Strength and Swift Passage

Once upon a time, these terra cotta winged horses stood at the height of an Etruscan temple, symbolizing strength and, for what it was worth to the viewer, swift passage.

This sculpture has survived since before the Christian era and for all we know was modeled from life, before the extinction of such magnificent creatures, so I like to think.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

We Move Too Fast!

This was a sweet little graphic for a sweet little product, circa 1913. I sincerely wish that transportation had not progressed beyond this sort of conveyance (it's really similar to Grandma Duck's auto as rendered by Carl Barks). As a society we move too fast and have made things too complicated...and too reliable on non-renewable energy sources.

Looking at this image last night, as I was processing it, I suddenly wondered who the hell is driving here?  It's a hundred years too early for the Google Self-Driving Car!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Star Lore

Even for star lore and mythology, this piece seems rather enigmatic, which of course is part of its appeal.

Art by Julius Diez, circa 1915

Friday, May 22, 2015

Shape of the Clouds

"Daddy, daddy, look up there at the shape of the clouds! I see a ducky and a frog! What do YOU see?

"Well, I see, um, well...uh...hmm, that is, well—hmmmm..."

Franz Stassen — from a German edition of Faust

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

No Reason

Pretty much all of us first got to 'know' Superman in some manner from his many incarnations as envisioned in comic books, paintings, novels, games, movies, & TV shows. My very first introduction to the character was during the Eisenhower era, when I was just a little squirt waiting my turn in an Ohio barbershop, where dozens of coverless DC comics were strewn about. 

The artist was Wayne Boring, whose distinctive style many times showed Superman running through the air, rather than flying. Another element that Mr. Boring showed a lot was the city of Metropolis shining in the background, using vertical ink lines, giving the fictional city a distinctive personality. The panel showing here was from a puzzle page in a '50s comic that I remember as one of the first images I ever saw of the guy. 

No reason for posting this now, but when I look at this iconic drawing, I can vividly recall the smell of the barbershop with the Old Spice and other manly aromas. I loved being a kid.

Wayne Boring

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


This is an 1896 painting by Alfred East called Idyll of Spring.

You know what? I like idyllic paintings . . .

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hello Out There

It's been quite a while since I've been here on this site. I've been really busy. I could start posting again, if I thought anyone missed having me here...

Art by Richard Doyle — An Elfin Dance in Faerie Land 
middlish 1800s