Much of early 20th century advertising art can be considered kitsch — gaudy, tacky, however one defines the term. And yet, as 'art for the masses', it has appeal, at least as eye candy — empty calories for the brain. My aesthetic appetite always has a taste for the exotic flavors, whatever the caloric level.
It used to be that collectors of books would paste an 'ex libris' label in each of their lovely acquisitions. Basically it was a little certificate of ownership that indicated, "this is my treasure, hands-off unless I deem you worthy of loaning this book, and even then you better damn well return it", or sentiments of that nature. It used to be that persons with money would have their book plates designed by an artist of renown, making them quite collectible in and of themselves. Then, back in the '60s, there were adolescents like me who bought, for a couple of bucks, a little box of mass-produced bookplates for my mass-produced books. Tolkien's Middle Earth had a huge upswelling back then and I had assumed this was an image of Bilbo Baggins, even though this guy doesn't have big furry feet. I think I saw this same bookplate design at B Daltons a couple of years ago. Every once in a while as I look through books that have been with me for years, I see one of these with my name signed on it and think again, "this is my treasure . . . "
This was a sweet little graphic for a sweet little product, circa 1913. I sincerely wish that transportation had not progressed beyond this sort of conveyance (it's really similar to Grandma Duck's auto as rendered by Carl Barks). As a society we move too fast and have made things too complicated...and too reliable on non-renewable energy sources.
Looking at this image last night, as I was processing it, I suddenly wondered who the hell is driving here? It's a hundred years too early for the Google Self-Driving Car!
I am posting these images with a non-profit and educational 'fair use' motive, regarding respective copyrights. Anyone downloading and using these images for any commercial use would be in violation of respective copyrights, and does not have my approval for such use.
My name is Thom Buchanan.
I'm an artist and photographer.
People are my favorite subjects to portray in art and photos. My wife (and studio partner) has called that my 'people skills', as I've been passionately creating portrait studies for many years.
I refer to myself as a pictorialist, a combination of image-making and journalist. Images are my life.