Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Enoch Bolles the Originator: Today is International Selfie Day!

As previously promised, the Bolles vault of rarities has been cracked open for your viewing pleasure.  And today's celebration is the perfect occasion to share this image, which I declare is the first depiction of a selfie in the history of pinup art, until proven otherwise.  Notice that sure and stylish grip our Bolles girl has on that camera. Those signature lifted pinkies mean she's posing as much for us for herself. Now if I could just get my hands on that photo!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Tasty Tootsie Wootsie Trolley Card by Bolles

I can't blame you if you've been frustrated with the ebbing output over the past year on this site. You deserve an explanation.  But first, let me offer a tasty reward for your patience and continued interest in all things Bolles,  Here we have a charming and previously unknown Bolles illustration completed in 1925 for what was then called a Car Card.  They were mounted above the windows of trolley cars and buses, and were the dominant form of visual advertising. Think of them as the cardboard equivalent of TV commercials; brief, to the point, and ephemeral.  The cards would hang for no longer than two weeks and then were tossed in the trash.  Others were repurposed as wall insulation in houses. Take a look at the unrestored version below, and you see what that does to them.  

But back to the paltry pace of posting. It's not a reflection of any drop of interest in our man Enoch. Quite the contrary, I'm more motivated than ever to get my book project on his life and work published. And there's some hopeful news. It currently is in review at a major art publisher.  

The fact is that each and every one of the Bolles images in the 250 plus posts from this site have been 'repurposed' on the web thousands of times.  That's all fine and dandy but the lesson learned is that to have any chance of getting the book published, I'm obligated to save most of the unseen, unknown and forgotten advertising illustrations, magazine covers, drawings, preliminary sketches, pinup paintings(!) and other goodies for the book.  But not all of them, and so over the next few weeks I promise to post some other rarities.     

In the meantime, those of you interested in seeing more about Streetcar ads will find no better source than this book written by Woody Savage, the leading authority on car cards.  I have a copy and it's terrific, chock full of great art (including some by Bolles) and fascinating information on this forgotten form of advertising.  Woody also has a website that includes many images from the book. You can even order printed copies of your favorite card.  Maybe one day I'll have something similar for the Bolles book.  
An ad by the leading producer of

The top image is by Bolles.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween!!

How I wish I owned this minty fresh copy of Breezy Stories. I swiped it from the collection of my Bolles pal Mark Forer but I know he'll forgive me once he finds out.  Bolles made several covers with pumpkins but I think this one's the best.  The pumpkin concurs!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Bzzzz August 29 is National Honey Bee Day!

During his career Enoch drew from a vast zoo to serve as supporting characters on his covers, but very few were the cute little puppy dogs that 'littered' the work of so many pinup artists. In contrast, Bolles preferred members of the animal kingdom with more bite than bark or in the case of today's cover, sting. Over the years sharks, stingrays, polar bears and snakes each got their shot at rattling a Bolles girl, and they all failed. Yet it took just one lonely bee to buzz this Bolles girl. Enjoy this honey of a cover.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

July 27 is Walk on Stilts Day!

Our man Bolles never fails to deliver. Throw him a challenging, obscure or simply ridiculous holiday to celebrate and he bats back a home run. This issue of Spicy was published in 1935 but looks like she could have been painted yesterday. 

Every now and then I hear from a follower asking about the Bolles book. The proposal is currently in review by a major publisher and my fingers are crossed.  In the meantime I've located two "new" original paintings that will be a part of the book.  So things are still happening and I'm hoping there will be exciting news soon!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Soul Sisters?

The recent issue of Vanity Fair has a wonderful feature about the illustrator, Robert McGinnis, who at 91 is still making beautiful art of gorgeous women. I'm sure many of you are already well aware of his work from iconic movie posters such as the early James Bond films and Breakfast at Tiffany's, as well as his scores of fantastic paperback covers featuring women who would never be mistaken for the work of another artist.  If not, check out his official web site.  One of the interesting quotes in the article was by the author and editor-at-large of Vanity Fair, Cullen Murphy. In his description of the McGinnis woman he says she: 
"shed the shackles of her time period. You can’t say that about the work of illustrators from the 20s, 30s, or 40s, or even from the 70s or 80s. The women they depict can easily be slotted into the right era. But a McGinnis Woman? She could stroll the most fashionable precincts of New York or London and Paris today and turn heads—but as a living being, not as some throwback. Can Rubens say that?”
I couldn't agree more, and am looking forward to Murphy's upcoming book about his father (who drew Prince Valiant) and his illustrator pals. I feel that the timelessness of McGinnis's women is also due in part to the cool factor imbued in his work. His well honed sense for women's fashion (at least when they are wearing any) from his book cover work from he 60s and 70s certainly reinforces this. And his women are tall, tall, tall and shapely in a very modelish way (although I don't think she ever posed for him, the model who comes to mind is Veruschka).  Even the men in his book covers-usually lurking in the background-pass modern muster in their Mad Men suits. 

But-and you knew this was coming-I am obliged to take (mild) umbrage at Murphy's conclusions about artists of the past. In support of my argument I submit Exhibit A, my favorite among all Bolles' covers. She made her appearance on the April 1935 issue of Film Fun. One of the things that initially attracted me to Bolles was that his women seemed so modern, both in appearance and attitude. The fact that Bolles' kept his finger on the fluctuating pulse of fashion does mean his work can often be tagged to the year of its publication, Yet I often get the feeling she's a modern woman dressed in a period costume. So while I may have a fantasy of dating a Bolles girl, I know she'll never be dated, if you know what I'm saying. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

What? I missed National Puppy Day!

No way I could let this occasion pass without a post, especially because Enoch painted more covers with turtles than puppies.  On the cover of this 1930 issue of Pep Stories our Bolles girl giving her Pekingese first dibs in the bath, not that he looks particularly pleased about it. While you may rate this cover as lukewarm the interior of the magazine was so hot that it was yanked (briefly) from the newsstands. When it returned Bolles had moved on and soon Earle Bergey began his long run of covers.