These came from my old neighbour, Dee, from a big set that was rescued from a garbage dump. They date from the 1950s, I think. A bunch were very fancy, with inserts, and had to have been assembled by hand:
Die cut shapes like this are very expensive to do. There is also an abvious effort to use novel materials, like yellow cellophane:
Students of the Animation/Illustration program at San José State
University are demanding their own department, after being denied
services and space equivalent to what other art students at their school
According to a faculty member, the A/I students get only 6,000 square
feet of space, while the Fine Art students get 63,000 and won’t share,
despite A/I topping out its enrollment while Art’s enrollment falls.
That’s not all. A/I students are suffering because their
student-to-teacher ratio is higher than Art or Design as well; and in an
effort to keep more from enrolling, they are subjected to a higher
level of GPA - 3.75 - than almost every other department in the
university in order to gain admission to the prestigious and successful
program.It looks like the university is embarrassed to have skilled
workers training under its roof, and is trying to close down the
In the absence of any public statement or explanation as to why the
A/I students are not treated as other art students are, it appears that
the students of the Animation/Illustration program at San José State
University are suffering because the administration and the Art faculty
who control the department have an innate and unexamined prejudice
against illustration and cartoon (A/I instructors are not given a seat
in the decision-making boardroom, according to students in the video).
Such prejudice against commercial arts developed in the late 19th
century and peaked in the 1950s, when it was used to bolster the
modernist New York School elite. In recent decades, scholarly theories
from institutional critique to Bourdieu’s theory of cultural capital to
theories of popular culture have all demonstrated that the demonization
of illustration was a product of mid-20th-century time and place, when
thinkers such as the Frankfurt School marxists decried commercialism in
art and culture following the devastation wreaked by Nazi propagandists,
the rise of Fordist capitalism and its dark side, the Great Depression.
What adherents to the “culture critique” overlook is that the so-called
non-commercial arts are just as commercialized as illustration, and in
far more insidious ways, being an unregulated market speculated upon by
the world’s wealthiest seeking tax shelters.
While critical analysis of corporate media and popular art is a
necessary component of making a better world through art, disowning a
highly competent program is not the way to do it. San José State
university would be well advised to see the opportunity under their
noses to pioneer Practice-Based Research in the United States.
Sign the petition
to get the Animation/Illustration program its own department, where
they can nurture up creators who will apply good critical thinking
skills along with their studio skills, to make the university proud.
I am pleased to announce that an exhibition I curated is opening on October 4 in Calgary at the Museum of Contemporary Art. It re-introduces the fabulous avant-garde illustrations of Oscar Cahén to the Canadian public for the first time in over 50 years.
I will be giving a gallery tour and talk at 5:00pm on Thursday October 4th. The exhibition opening commences at 6:00pm. Free and all are welcome!
Earlier that same day I will be giving two presentations at the Alberta College of Art, on the topics of visual culture and Canadian illustration history. If you are students there or can talk your way in, I look forward to meeting you there!
In illustration history we have no textbook. Many instructors have been waiting for something, and several people have thought about writing one, but nothing has appeared. Meanwhile, everybody keeps re-inventing the wheel for their individual class, often missing huge bodies of knowledge that they don't have time to research.
In order to help identify the needs of potential users, and the content, scope and format of a textbook, I have designed a survey with Whitney Sherman (who teaches illustration at MICA). The Society of Illustrators in NYC has kindly agreed to sponsor it.
I would like to invite anybody with an interest in historical illustration to fill it out. It's a long survey, because it's thorough; it will take you between ten and 20 minutes, depending how much you want to comment.
Exciting news! My colleague Doug Dowd and I proposed a panel on illustration studies to the Association of Historians of American Art for inclusion at next year's CAA - and it was accepted!
For those who don't know art history circles, getting a panel or paper into CAA (College Art Association) is to art historians what getting into the Whitney Biennial is for artists. As far as I know, this is the first time the merits of periodical illustration and its status in American art history is going to be discussed in detail, with the most prominent art historians on the continent.
I hope all my illustrations buddies can make it! This is a milestone for the entire field. Possibly we are marginalized no more!
I'm still working on Arthur Heming for an upcoming exhibition and catalog. Our team just recently found this image posted by an anonymous person looking for info about it. We REALLY want to talk to you, so I am posting here in hopes you will find this in a google search. Please get in touch.
And if anyone else has Heming info or artwork - I want to talk to you too!