Daily Diversion #8: An Old Man’s Gift (The Ford Times)

I do the blogging for a local gallery chain. We carry a lot of Charley Harper pieces (as in, the most in the world). Nine months ago, this would have meant absolutely nothing to me. Even though I’ve moved (mostly) in and (occasionally) out of the art world for the bulk of my adult life, I had barely heard of him before starting this gig. Back in “the day”-in this case the 1950s onwards-he did a lot of illustrations for a  magazine called the Ford Times, which I had definitely never heard of. Even though I love old periodicals. (I think I can be forgiven for not reading old copies of a lifestyle magazine put out by the Ford Motor Company, right?) Anyway, I will try to wrap this up in a neat, figurative bow because, well, this is a diversion piece. As we know, in my universe, that constitutes a few sentences and a photograph or two. Moving on….

Ford Times, November 1958

Ford Times, November 1958

I met a delightful old man yesterday afternoon. After he found out that I sometimes write about Charley Harper, he gave me this excellently preserved copy of the Ford Times. Although I have seen most of the prints made from these illustrations, I had never seen the magazine before. I had no idea that it was so small! I thought that it was a full-sized periodical.

Top: Flamingo by Charley Harper Bottom: Purple Gallinule by Charley Harper

Top: Flamingo by Charley Harper Bottom: Purple Gallinule by Charley Harper

He didn’t just gift me with any Ford Times issue, but one that featured some of the images I have written about. I love the flying flamingo in the background of the top illustration.

Tents with New Ideas

Tents with New Ideas

This layout makes me want to go camping, badly. But only if I can have that awesome car and the sweet tent, which actually makes setting up camp look fun! This story alone made my day (I’m weird like that). Thank you, Mr. Old Man! Your gift is in good hands.

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Inspiration Board-8 February 2012

  1. The work of the late Cincinnati (and internationally famous) artist, Charley Harper. I’ve never been a big fan of animal art (or puns) but there is something about his clean lines and mid-century modern aesthetic (which he dubbed “minimal realism”) that has been drawing me in, almost unwillingly. Any previously declared distaste for animals-in-art has been sliding slowly away, in the face of his compelling creations. I don’t love them all (far from it, actually) but am seriously enamored of some of the pieces.
  2. Although this is hardly new, or cutting edge, I’m slightly obsessed with Jane Wiedlin‘s acoustic version of ‘Our Lips Are Sealed’. I love kooky chicks; for this reason alone she has always been my favorite member of the Go-Go’s. When I was very young, my Aunt Linda gave me her copy of ‘Beauty and the Beat’. Ah, nostalgia, right? Not entirely. I almost prefer this version to the original; maybe it’s just because the stripped-down sound goes better with winter’s quiet ways.
  3. Margaritas. Maybe I’m terribly eager for warm weather but I have been ordering this salt-rimmed concoction at every available opportunity, instead of my usual Scotch.
  4. The book reviews in the current (FEB/MAR 2012) issue of ‘BUST’. There are so many compelling entries. I want to read them all, particularly ‘Agorafabulous!: Dispatches From My Bedroom’ by Sara Benincasa (William Morrow), ‘Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality’ by Hanne Blank (Beacon) and ‘Treasure Island’ by Sara Levine (Europa).
    Charley Harper

    Image via Wikipedia