My regular readers know I've been a bit obsessed with making and or blogging about large scale reproductions of fragments from printed ephemera, particularly chromolithography, stone lithography and other early to mid 20th Century color-print processes.
I recently discovered the blog 4CP (four color process) by John Hilgart, the blogger known as HM/HS Half Man Half-Static, A Curator of lost items. (Great name, by the way.) HM/HS writes in an early early essay In Defense Of Dots: The lost Art Of Comic Books:
"Who is responsible for this art? At the level of a square inch of printed comic book, no one was the creative lead. 4CP highlights the work of arbitrary collectives that merged art and commerce, intent and accident, human and machine. A proper credit for each image would include the scriptwriter, the penciller, the inker, the color designer, the paper buyer, the print production supervisor, and the serial number of the press. Credit is due to all of them, to differing and unknowable degrees, for every square inch of every old comic. The hand of fate created this art, and it guides our hand as we search for 4CP images: We move a tiny Ouija board pointer across mid-Century comic books, looking for beautiful ghosts."
"However, in the decisive, paradoxical twist, four-color process created a form of depth even as it fought against illustrative realism. Whereas contemporary reproductions of mid-century comic art are truly closed and flat, old comic books are visually leaky and deep. Four-color dots perforate the flat surface of the universe, opening onto nowhere – some uncharted cosmos."
Read the whole essay HERE and make sure to spend some time in the 4cp archive for amazing images and really well thought out and well written articles.
This video contains many of my favorite elements: progressive politics, dolls and deconstruction of images and fakery. Wow.
"This mock commercial for a Black Moses Barbie toy is the 2nd in a series of 3 celebrating the legacy of Harriet Tubman. It is part of Pierre Bennu's larger series of paintings and films deconstructing and re-envisioning images of people of color in commercial & pop culture."
I love this cartoon and wanted to share it with you. Sheer genius. The Tantalizing Fly by Max Fleischer, created in 1919, the same year as The Easy Road To Readng in the previous post. Notice the difference between the sweet nostalgic art of ML Spoor and the avant garde perspective of Fleischer. Radically different approaches to art always happen in the same historical moment.
Max Fleischer, with his brother Dave Fleischer, were famous not only for the Out Of The Inkwell series, but also for Betty Boop, Koko The Klown, and the animated versions of Popeye The Sailorman, and Superman.
A slightly different version of The Tantalizing Fly, as well as a much better explanation and history of the rotoscope than I could ever hope to do, is part of this inkwellink Ray Pointer mini documentary about Fleischer available at their InkWell Ink website.
For a wonderfully erudite and in depth look at animation and the early 20th Century avant garde I highly recommend Hollywood Flatlands: Animation, Critical Theory and the Avant- Garde, by Esther Leslie. Not an easy read, but well worth it.
Poor Pitiful Pearl. Photo ©Liza Cowan 2008. Print of this photo is available at my online store
William Steig, author, cartoonist, illustrator, famous for Shrek, Dr. DeSoto, Sylvester and The Magic Pebble, zillions of New Yorker Covers, and a reluctant advertising illustrator, was also the creator of my favorite doll: Poor Pitiful Pearl. Pearl was my first and my only true doll love. She was made in 1958, and stayed in production in various incarnations throughout the sixties.
A couple of years ago I was putting together an exhibit of 20th Century Works on Paper, and had just purchased this poster:
This gorgeous, huge lithograph was made for Shell Oil in 1944. As I was researching the poster and Steig I came across the fact that Poor Pitiful Pearl was a Steig creation. Of course! But I hadn't realized it as a kid, even though our family subscription to The New Yorker was a favorite of mine, and I poured through it weekly looking at the cartoons.
We had enough New Yorker magazines and New Yorker cartoon collections around the house that I could have been, should have been familiar enough with the Steig canon to have been able recognize his style on my darling doll. But I didn't. The New Yorker...dolls? Nuh uh.
But check this out. How much more alike could they be? Even the clothing matches.
Pearl even came with her own little Steig book:
Click the smaller images and they will pop up.
Poor Pitiful Pearl booklet by William Steig. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections
Order magnet at my Etsy shop here