Tuesday, February 24, 2009



From a dimly remembered big band swing tune. For some reason I keep relating old tunes and lyrics with today's events. Checked this one out on Google, and sure enough, heard an audio sample by Benny Goodman....good stuff! Actually, Columbus did use a compass. What he lacked was a method or instrument to track longitude....thereby not knowing how far they had traveled. The first scan is of Columbus's 'Nina', frustratingly out of focus, from a large Gallo point of sale poster done in the 70's. 'Tasteful' was never a big consideration with Gallo POS ads....just large, hard hitting, product advertising.

I did dozens over the years. They often used product photos with the art....the photos in the foreground. In this case, the illustration was set up behind the glass and bottle, so naturally suffered from camera focus. This art was for a red 'jug wine' named Spanada.

History, or illustration relating to history, is the CAWS idea this week....and there were not a lot of historical assignments in advertising....for me at least. Two 1970's comps follow, again for a client that I can't recall. It did not come through the normal agency channels. This fairly large illustration went to finish....but I never saw the poster. The comp request was for the Lincoln Memorial statue....painted in sepia tones....with the famous quotation from the Gettysburg address above it.

After seeing the sepia comp, the client requested the finish be done in the more natural colors of the marble statue, plus a flag theme behind with the quotation....and a panel below showing the well known exterior view of the Lincoln Memorial. The client didn't want the cost of another comp, as I recall. I created this hasty but necessary comp for myself....hence the lack of 'sharp' drawing. Wish I had followed through to see the finished result, and where it was used.

Next, three unique commissions from a 1970's San Francisco entrepreneur selling 'audio postcards'. These were plastic covered cards, a 33 1/3 record embossed on them, commemorating the bicentennial anniversary of the founding of our country. Four in all....I'm missing one....and yes, Virginia, people played music on turntables in those days! These scans, grooves and all, are from the cards....done at the height of the montage and 'acrylic swish' illustration period on the west coast.

A bank savings poster follows....Thomas Edison the subject....a gouache done in the 50's.

Finally a marker and pencil color comp for a Wells Fargo billboard....this one for me, a more finished comp submitted. One day Tom Hall came in, said Wells Fargo, the very conservative San Francisco bank, wanted a 'new look' for their billboards....still using the traditional symbol, the red and yellow stage coach plus six horse team. My ad philosophy, especially on billboards, was to give the client the most bang for the buck. I think this could have been a strong, eye catching poster. As it turned out, too much of a 'new look' for the conservative bank.

They went back to their traditional photographed posters of the Wells Fargo stage coach and team.

* Charlie Allen's Flickr set.


Bruce Hettema said...

Another gem. Thanks Charlie

Anonymous said...

Yet more lovely work Mr A.

John Yarnell said...

Thanks a bunch for everything you are sharing with us. Truly amazing work Mr. Allen, please keep it coming.

Anonymous said...

That Columbus ship - how it blends with the strange foreground. Something almost surreal within this clipped view.

How precise your drawing, Charlie!
Be it things engineered, or things grown - everything with that same unwavering faithfulness.

Love those Wells Fargo horses, drawn by good "Old Surehand"...

RaymentW said...

Great art. I was just at the library thumbing through an art book thinking how much I missed by not taking a course in art history. But what really brought me to your blog is that I just finished writing a web biography of Christopher Columbus. I was looking at art on the ships that made that first famous journey. I love the colors and hues you chose to represent the caravel.

Anyway, thanks for posting those pics. BTW, I found the idea of audio postcards quite fascinating. You would think they would get scratched in the mail!