It's taken me some time to find this stuff I did after returning home and here it is.
This was done with opaque watercolors directly on a page in one of the notebooks. It's a young Swiss couple out for a night on the town in Zurich's left bank. At least I think it was the left bank.
A watercolor of a sketch I did of the famous Salvador Dali's house in Port Lligat, in the province of Catalunia, Spain. We couldn't help but take notice of the great man darting from window to window glaring at us (we were staying at a hotel close by) like a soul possessed. Did we think he was crazy? You bet.
Campo dei Miracoli in Pisa, Italy. Watercolor.
Old castle tower and tropical flora in Recco, along the Italian Riviera. Watercolor.
Returning home to New York Harbor. Watercolor over pen and ink.
A dummy I made of torn paper for a book cover to be published by D.C. Heath & Co.
Dedicated to the memory of Ruth Tremaine Giambarba, 1932-1978.
Seen in retrospect the 1950s were wonderful years for those of us who were not sent to Korea to fight a bloody war from 1950 to 1953. I was discharged a Staff Sergeant in the 101st. Field Artillery of the Massachusetts Army National Guard where I served from 1948 to 1955. After the invasion by North Koreans in June 1950 our enlistments were frozen. We were required to stay close to home and wait for the call to active duty. Fortunately, it never came.
My first year as a private, 2-1/2 ton truck and jeep driver.
During this time my young wife Ruth and I improved a small "starter home” we bought, and then sold, to finance an extended trip to Europe. It allowed us seven months to explore countries west of the Iron Curtain and for me to discover my roots in Italy where my family has lived for centuries (Hannibal parked his elephants nearby during the Second Punic War). From 1955 through 1960 we managed to travel, live and work in Europe, for a cumulative total of two years or more, interrupted only with trips back to Boston when funds were in need of replenishing.
Ruth studied French and Italian by listening to Assimil phonograph records.
Then she subscribed to the French edition of Elleto be au courant with the language.
"Dans le vent," she said.
I was a cartoonist contributing to national magazines such as Sports Illustrated, and freelancing graphic art for advertising agencies and corporations such as Polaroid with whom I had a 25-year career as a designer and consultant. I was inspired by the Belle Epoque we experienced in Europe, what we now know was a Golden Age of design: from the Alfa Romeo GiuliettaSprint to the Neue Haas Grotesk typeface and Braun household applicances. In the mid-1960s inflation would cause the following decades to be manipulated by bean counters with little feeling for creativity unless it related to their accounting practices.
Most of my drawings during our travels were made with a No. 1 Rapidograph fountain pen using Pelikan black fountain pen ink on the quadrille pages of a note book bought in Goteborg, Sweden. I drew from memory the images that I recalled seeing that day. I worked in my lap or on a table usually provided in the pension where we were staying.
Then, one night in Nervi on the Mediterranean coast, just east of Genova, I managed to refine many of the original sketches into the drawings that also appear here, working with the same pen on thin sheets of Italian air mail paper, bound in pads, that is purchased in tobacco shops.
That was over fifty years ago, and I have never been again so prolific. It’s obvious that I was critical of many Europeans. Perhaps it had to do with years of living in Boston where Anglophiles are a resident majority. Or maybe it was my response to the caustic cartoon wit of Ronald Searle and Tomi Ungerer who took such delight in savaging the residents of the United States they had observed in the same period of time.
I'll be adding much more so please stay tuned. . . .
Here are more, posted on 28 December --
Young Swedish couple
Mother and daughter, Goteborg, Sweden
Teddy boy, London
Soviet GI, who called me "comrade" when we passed him in their zone of Austria.
And more, uploaded on 4 January 2009
Two Brits we met who were taking great delight in disparaging all things American. The toff and his missus weren't hesitant at all in enlightening us with what was really wrong with our country. Or for that matter, the Irish, Scots (who wanted their damn Stone back), Jews, Italians, those damned froggies across the Channel, Bolshies, Atlee and Labour, and the Americans who come over with more money than brains or good taste, and . . . oh, yes, let's do have another round. Jolly good and thank you very much.
"I say, where are you from in the States?"
A younger version of the previous couple, on the Lido, Venice.
A couple of older Germans on the Lido, Venice.
Danish couple watching the cars go by, somewhere on the island of Jutland, near Aarhus.
The original pen and ink drawing from which the painting in casein, above, was made. I think I like this much better.
This is the original page in a notebook where I had drawn a Swiss couple in Geneva braving a cold wind blowing in off Lac Léman. From it I later did the small gouache sketch below in another notebook.
A high point of our trip was our first visit to France.
This is a preppie American kid wondering what to do with himself in a Paris restaurant.
Meanwhile, out in the November cold, a colonial from North Africa sold chestnuts he roasted out on the sidewalks.
Other colonials arrived up from Le Metro carrying their worldy goods.
And dirty old men tried to sell postcards of nude women.
And women of the night practiced engaging smiles.
In Vienna, they appared to be much older, more tired.
Younger women worked their charms on jaded men in coffee bars.
Street walking was the tried and true means even in the outskirts of town.
The sketch from which the image above was made.
German motorcyclist approaching customs with his doucments or carnet.
Other scary guys -- Soviet officers working their own zones. The guy at the top kept me for an hour in the Soviet checkpoint at Helmstedt, Germany, then refused to let me drive on to Berlin. The other two were seen in Vienna showing off their shiny boots and tailored Class A uniforms, in stark contrast to the shabbiness of their enlisted men.
In Italy there seemed to be a dozen uniforms for every service branch. The troops with feathers in their caps belonged to Alpini, or Alpineregiments, officers in the Italian navy wore shorts out on the town in summer.
Former military men wore bunches of fruit salad on their lapels.
Men weren't the only ones checking themselves out in shop windows.
Young Italian men were well-tailored with excellent haircuts. Of course, farmers and older men seemed not interested at all in fashion.
Certainly I was no fashion plate, though Ruth was always well turned out. This is a happy couple as they stopped for a drink along one of the Italian lakes north of Milano.
On the road in France.
Ruth, on the way home, photographed from a lower deck. We always sailed Tourist Class, which for the modest sum of $180 fed a traveler three huge meals and more for as many days as it took to cross the Atlantic.
That was a great time in the history of this world, perhaps it will be remember as another Belle Epoque, as the French described their own choice moment in time.
I wasn't prepared for the positive feedback I got about my Polaroid designs. I'm particularly grateful to the kind words of Alissa of Mediabistro, Khoi Vinh of Subtraction and Stephanie Piro. I urge you visit them on this incredible medium that connects us all in a wonderful way we could never have dreamed of when this work was done.
Cape Cod Winter is an original silk-screen print I produced myself in 1962 working with a resist of torn paper and LePage's glue. I added Peace in Bodoni in Adobe PhotoshopÂ® a couple of years ago. Click on image to enlarge.
This was Cape Cod Summer, produced in the same manner and same sheet size, 20 x 26 inches. 1963. Click on image to enlarge.
Working the one-man squeegee at one end of the studio-workshop, Centerville, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The designing end of the studio-workshop I built (in 1962) on the footprint of a two-car garage, about 20 x 24 feet in size.
Magpies, another silk screen print on 20 x 26 Strathmore Fairfield paper in 1973. The resist was glue over touche. Click on image to enlarge.
Purple Grackle, same technique, 1973. Click on image to enlarge.
Nude in black, glue resist over touche on 20 x 26 Strathmore, 1970.
The original sketch for the print, above, done with felt-nib markers on a sheet of layout pad paper.
A commercially printed poster designed for the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in 1972. I worked a 6-month gig in Sardinia at the time and designed this with markers on a layout pad for a printer in Milano. I hope to replace this fuzzy scan with something better when I can find the original.
OK, enough about me, let's get back to the amazing talent of Al Parker who was an extraordinary designer as well as illustrator.
This is probably shameless of me, but I can't resist adding my own work to this web log. I've rationalized it this way: as so many have remarked in so many words, "You probably haven't heard about this guy . . . ." and a few articles have favorably mentioned my work, which you can find at my other blog: The Branding of Polaroid 1957-1977. I feel I really should enlighten my viewers to what it was like working in the great post World War II environment before the accursed bean-counters took over and polluted the world visually as well as physically by their insane preoccupation with the "bottom-line." You can view it all and read about it in detail by clicking the hot link above.
The first collection of Polaroid SX-70 Land Camera family of a high-quality camera and accessories as introduced in 1972. Below is an enlarged version of the "god's eye" which I used to identify the product line of cameras.
The Polaroid Pronto! Land Camera line of products introduced in 1976.
The Polaroid Square Shooter Land Camera, introduced in the early 1970s to capture the market for instant photography at lower price points in department and discount retail outlets. Square format film sold for less than the traditional rectangular format film.
The Polaroid Square Shooter Land Camera line used both square- and rectangular-format film. This was also a down-market one-piece camera made of plastic to sell for low prices in discount stores. Click on image to enlarge.
My original design for Polaroid sunglasses sold only internationally and not in the USA. The date was 1962 and it was one of my favorite designs. The image eventually became generic for sunglasses throughout the world and was discontinued by Polaroid for that reason in the late 1970s. Click on image to enlarge.
My favorite design for the Boston-Kyoto Sister City Committee done pro bono in 1972. More, later.