Tuesday, February 24, 2015

World Bartender Day: February 24

Is she shaking up a Tornado or a Hurricane?  Either way our Bolls girl is displaying some serious mixology chops, though you're probably not focusing on her skills with the Boston shaker. This punchy cover hails from 1934, the year Bolles returned to Spicy Stories after it had undergone a change in ownership. 
Cast your eyes more closely on that shock of lilac crinoline. Doesn't it look like our man Enoch has hidden a message in it, not that I've had any luck decoding it. I'm reminded of the longstanding rumor that if you fold the covers of some pulp magazine just so, they end up revealing something extra. Not that Bolles' covers aren't already extra special.

Monday, February 2, 2015

World Ukulele Day

Some sweet strumming courtesy of our man Enoch. Both of these images were completed in 1931, a year which was not his strongest for Film Fun. It was during a period when Bolles' wife was slowly recovering from a serious illness and he was also dealing hard times brought on by the depression, casting far and wide for additional work.  But he struck gold with the alluring image of Sally Eilers for the movie Bad Girl. 
Yet as successful as this image was (it was used in the promotion campaign and even blown up to billboard size) it was perhaps his last assignment for Fox Pictures, a studio he was associated with beginning in 1923.  Unfortunately Bolles didn't get plucked by other studios, perhaps because so many had already pulled up stakes and moved to California.  If only Enoch had strung along with them!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Time and Again

It's a fact of life that illustrators busy with looming deadlines sometimes resort to "borrowing" from the work of their peers, be it general inspiration, a certain detail, a pose or the whole piece.  Bolles himself was routinely swiped by other artists of his time and still is today, but I have yet to find a solid example where he swiped from another artist.  Granted, he often worked from photos and in some cases changed nary a thing, but he must have had some personal code about lifting ideas from artists, or at least other artists. 
Take a closer look above at this original from 1925--the only surviving painting I'm aware of among the 23 covers he completed for Judge magazine--and you immediately notice that time-telling detail.  And then we fast forward to 1937 and we see another Bolles girl checking if she's late for an appointment.  Bolles would revisit a number of themes  throughout his career. There was a time when I pondered just how he could possibly keep track of it all, considering he painted at least 663 magazine covers (and counting). He certainly could have benefitted from some system to keep from overgrazing the same territory, if nothing else.  But it doesn't appear he kept a ledger of his work and he certainly didn't keep many of his paintings around in his studio, although these two are still around.  My own theory is that it was all in his head. Bolles had an amazing memory, which included a rather freakish ability to recall (or perhaps calculate) the last time a date and day coincided in the calendar (and if you're curious, the last time December 3 fell on a Tuesday was just last year, but prior to that you'd have to go back to 2002).
But I digress. The fun thing about these examples is that you get to see Bolles' reinterpreting an idea in the context of the era and through his evolving style.  And if you want a closer look the Judge painting is going up for sale this weekend at Freeman's auction house.  And with that I'll bid her adieu.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nancy Caroll, born 11/19/1903 by Bolles

Proudly on display we have one of the very few portrait covers done by Bolles, completed in 1931.  The signature is much larger than any done for Film Fun but the art director (or type setter) apparently felt no compunction about laying a line of type right over it, and indignity Enoch suffered several times during his career. 

If you've seen examples of the so-called 'specially posed' Film Fun covers Bolles completed for Film Fun in the late 20's, you might not think he could do a decent likeness (the cover of Lupe Velez was the glaring exception in this series, and you can read more about that cover here), but he nails this one.  I only wish there were more, and my guess is they took Enoch a lot longer, and so he focused on his pinup covers.  Speaking of pinup, stay tuned because I'll be soon be posting an interview with Dian Hanson, author of the amazing, The Art of Pinup. She's devoted an entire chapter to Bolles. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Friday, October 10, 2014

Seeing Double

From time to time I post examples of art done in the manner of our man Bolles.  In some cases they are clearly homages while others fall under the category of swipes. And unfortunately many amount to no more than line-for-line copies. Here we see a really nice poster inspired by a 1933 Film Fun cover. Curiously the girl in the poster is making the sort of complex hand poses that we associate with Bolles, whereas his cover girl's doing a simple high-five.
Below we see a charming example of one of Bolles' animal as transportation series, in this case a ray done up with some art deco detailing. By comparison, poor Bebe is riding if not abusing, what appears to be a ghastly mashup of a catfish and umbrella.  It's only too easy to imagine the ghastly bleat the poor beast is emitting.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 25: Lumberjack Day!

What a great cover from 1928, which if my records are correct was reprinted again in 1929. She's loaded with charm and what a festive ensemble Bolles has outfitted her in. And that axe may be small but it is all business. Take a look at that curve on the handle!  She may not have used that axe to hew her chair, but it could still do some serious damage in the right hands.