Herb Briggs Story – Hal Riney’s Storyboard
By Lee Riney
When I came to San Francisco from the Midwest in the ‘60s, I didn’t know what an advertising agency was. Somehow, I’ve forgotten how, I ended up as a secretary at Foote Cone & Belding. It was my first job.
I soon discovered that my favorite office on the 18th floor of the Russ Building was Herb Briggs’ office. His walls were covered with sheets of illustrations tacked up willy nilly. The air smelled of fixative and chalk. It was a jumble of pencils, paint and paper. Herb could always be found there – crouched over his drawing board, pencil in hand. He could sketch anything in seconds, and the many storyboards tacked to his office walls were impressive, even to an untrained eye.
Herb was about 5’10”. He was unkempt – he needed to comb his hair and shave. Faded jeans, plaid flannel shirts and sneakers were his daily garb. Always friendly, he would growl at you in his rumbling low voice. I could understand only a few words, but didn’t bother to ask him to repeat himself. No one else could understand him either. He kept a small fridge filled with beer in his office, which was promptly opened and shared at 5PM every day.
When a client rejected a proposal, everyone was expected to stay at the office to rework all the art, all the copy. Herb didn’t go home at midnight along with the others. He took down the drapes in his office, found a couch, pulled the drapes over him and spent the night. In the morning, he looked just like he had the day before.
Everyone loved Herb. Not only because of his immense talent, but because he was so genuine – the agency staff, copywriters, account executives, media people, were indeed smart, witty, will – dressed and charming, but they never stopped trying to impress. Herb was just Herb.
His modest home in Mill Valley was a Sunday afternoon destination. His wife, Pat, would greet us at the door. His son, Dan, would be sprawled in front of the TV watching Star Trek. Agency people and their friends, lovers and wives came knowing there would be large jugs of cheap wine passed around, with maybe some popcorn or chips, and excellent company. People sat on the floor with Herb, or sprawled on the couch. There was spirited conversation on every possible subject except work. All arrived and left with little fuss, perhaps a “See you tomorrow”.
The creative section of the agency – the copywriters and artists – spent a great deal of time thinking up pranks. Any secretary who went down the hall to the creative department, always watched carefully before passing doorway. Fixative that could be lighted with a match and projected into the hall like a flamethrower was a favorite weapon to be use on passing secretaries. We hardly looked up from our typewriters when we heard screams. Herb never failed to call his good friend, Mik Kitagawa, on Pearl Harbor Day, rail at him about the Japanese attack, and hang up without identifying himself. One memorable day, several of the creative staff got together, duct taped Herb to a desk chair, rolled him to the elevator, left him inside to be seen by everyone, and pressed the “down” button. This lasted tor at least 10 minutes. We gathered around the elevator door, laughing and shouting encouragement to Herb when the elevator opened at our floor; waving when the doors closed.
Herb was a Scot, and once in a while, to everyone’s delight, he would put on his kilts and march thorough the office playing his bagpipe. If a client was visiting, so be it.
Later in his career, Herb worked for my husband, Hal Riney.
Hal Riney was renowned for never giving anyone a compliment of any kind. If Hal found work acceptable, the best anyone could hope for was a grunt and a nod. Herb had a framed storyboard hung in his den. At the bottom of the page Hal had written “Not Bad” and signed it. Anyone who knew them both, understood.
(Notes: Read more about Herb? Go to: The Prince Of Pranksters By Todd Miller
I could find no photos of Herb Briggs.
I received this, below, from Tim Price – that shows a Hal Riney Storyboard.
It’s a Xerox copy of one of the Riney Rulers. Hal didn’t do shooting boards, instead he drew out these exacting – to the second– graphs in which every scene, all dialogue is precisely laid out. I think that’s why Hal once told me, “We use Mr. Pytka (director) mainly as a cameraman.”
Yep, Herb worked for Hal at the same time I did, Botsford Ketchum days.
I knew Herb, got no photos.
“Pink Pearl” and More Art Supplies
In the previous post, Bill Stewart’s “Pink Pearl” eraser was there among his art supplies. That brand of eraser was not just an art tool it was used by all. I got curious about its origin and found — the science!
On June 17, 2019, Ray Hahn wrote this: (Search: Bottle Caps and Pink Pearl Erasers)
The Eberhard Faber Company opened America’s first pencil factory in New York City in 1861 on a plot of land now occupied by the United Nations. It is uncertain when the eraser was invented, but in general terms, Joseph Priestly (the same man who discovered Oxygen) is frequently given credit for the eraser.
The history of the Pink Pearl eraser is much better documented. It was invented in 1848 in Germany when Eberhard Faber’s grandfather, Casper, decided that a new method of erasing wayward graphite marks (not, lead) might be achieved by using rubber. Erasers have been an important piece of writing history, but the pencil and the eraser were at first, two different tools. It was Faber who first added erasers to his pencils and he did so sometime after a new factory was built in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn in 1872.
The magic ingredient in the Pink Pearl is volcanic ash from Italy. When mixed with rubber, it is the pumice in the ash that gives the eraser its unique smell. Unlike poorly formulated erasers that loosen and remove paper fibers, the Pink Pearl erases by cleaning the surface. It is elementary science, which demonstrates that erasers don’t just work manually; they also work chemically. ?Pencils work because, when they are put to paper, their graphite mingles with the fiber particles in the paper. Erasers work because the polymers that are used in manufacturing them are stickier than the particles of paper. It’s that simple, graphite particles end up getting stuck to the eraser instead of the paper. Erasers are literally sticky graphite magnets. (This article appeared in an earlier form in the South Jersey Postcard Club’s McClintock Letter of October 2014, page 6.)
And More Art Tools
I have contributed photos of a lot of my old art tools to the “Museum of Lost Art Supplies” as we show in the column on the left under “Places We Like”. This is still a great collection to look over.
Recently with the extra time and a few items still to send in – I found that the site was not responsive in accepting additional items. After several attempts, I reached Lou Brooks.
Hey, Hi Ann! Sorry it took a while to get back to you. Lots of changes. Clare and I moved to McMinnville Oregon almost a year ago, and we’re still chasing our own tails to catch up. Now, the CO-VID! But on we all go. My original provider has made it difficult to get the Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies site to do us much good these days. I value your contribs and friendship, Ann, and strongly request you sign up on FB for my Forgotten Art Supplies Forum Pushing 4,000 enthusiastic members and climbing. With stellar results… tons of postings, and plenty of back and forth helpful dialog. All seem to enjoy it immensely. I enjoy you posts, and would love to see your stuff up there.
Just sign up and I’ll put you right in.
I don’t do Facebook but I slipped my collectible into Richard’s FB account —to place these two examples with my written description. It went up quickly on the “Forgotten Art Supplies Forum”. I was surprised as I received twelve comments about my submission. Lou Brook’s new Facebook collection shows items that are in addition than those on his previous site.
(We are keeping the original “Museum” on this site. It is still interactive for viewing the extensive collections but it doesn’t accept new additions.) Or use this link.
I’ve thought of another subject – the Flo-master felt tip pen and its ink.
This attractive felt-tip pen could be filled and re-filled. It was available before Magic Markers and other markers appeared in art stores.
The beauty of this pen was that I could control the wet or dryness of the strokes to the paper. As you pressed the felt tip a few times to a surface, ink would flow into it. When the felt tip became partially dry, subtle shading was possible. I used it often in life drawing classes and I carried it when sketching outdoors.
This sketch, above, I made on a landscape sketching field trip in the summer of 1961 – a summer class at the Academy of Art (founded in 1929 by Richard S. Stephens) Mr. Stephens was leading us there on SF’s Telegraph Hill. At the end of class, all were invited to a coffee shop (where Scoma’s Restaurant is now) —where “Pappy Stephens” held court.
I mentioned the pen to Bill Stewart and I was surprised that he, too, remembered it as a favorite tool.
Bill Stewart wrote:
I was going to send a Pix of a Flo-Master Pen. A pre Magic Marker refillable felt pen. When I was a student, Robert Fawcett gave a lecture. Of course, everyone wanted to know what he used for his beautiful, powerful illustrations. He said a Flo-master pen. After that, all the art supply stores sold out of Flo-masters. Actually Flo-masters were originally intended for use as sign markers in the retail stores. Later, a tool for NYC subway taggers.
This was my SF office/studio room —with lovely “North light”! (1 Lombard Street, where Battery Street met the Embarcadero.) On November 6, 1997, I dragged my chairs, drawing board, lamps, two file cabinets and all of my art supplies —home.
Art supplies that I was sure I was going to need.
Now, I need to send photos of the last of my collection of art tools— to the “Forgotten Art Supplies Forum”.
Oddments from the files of an AD’s log book.
I was working for Botsford, Constantine and McCarty, soon to become Botsford, Ketchum. We just moved into a building near Market Street. I think it was called The Jones bldg. but not sure. The time was around 1968ish. I think we were at this new location for about three or four months and we were getting comfortable with new spaces. We were located on the 8th or 9th floor as I remember it. On a Friday afternoon about 4:30 everyone was winding down for the weekend. The art directors we’re putting away their Magic Markers scattered all over in their office along with ellipse guides, numerous triangles, French curves, T‑squares and all the other “stuff” that proclaimed them as art directors. Without the stuff, you ain’t no art director. If you didn’t have the stuff, they would call you a creative director or an account guy something. (One time a writer came into the art department and said, “The only reason you guys have a job as art directors is because you have all the STUFF”)… and looking back, I think he might have been right.
The illustrator that did the sketch was Dick Brown In Seattle. I really liked his work, nice and loose. He caught the character of each person really well. I noticed everyone ended up with huge hands, however. I guess that was kind of his style.
Anyway, as I was finishing the organization process, Brian Barnes walks into my office and points to a salmon fishing pole I had been using for a prop for an Olympia Beer photo. He asks, how do you cast with those level-wind reels? I said, you just need to keep your thumb over the line as the reel is spinning while the line is playing out. When the bait is near the water, you stop the spin with your thumb so you don’t get a backlash of line if the reel is still spinning. Well, it was late Friday so I said, here, I’ll give you a demonstration. Open the window. (We had really big windows that you could still open). I put a Pink Pearl eraser on the end of the line for a little weight and cast it out the window. The line sailed out over the street below in a beautiful arc and I stopped the reel with my thumb. The Pink Pearl stopped mid air and gracefully swung back and bounced off the building wall for another show of ballet like motion. That was impressive but it needed just a little more weight to show Brian how a proper cast really looks. We asked the guys who were loitering near my office if they had anything for a weight and they came up with a plastic chicken from a BBQ display sample for Olympia Beer. A little large but the right weight. We fixed the line to the plastic chicken and cast again. The chicken flew straight and true and was soaring high above the busy street below. A beautiful sight to see. A chicken flying high over Wells Fargo for a few seconds and then slowly arcing down to take on the speed of something that resembled a raptor. The chicken/raptor swung back to hit the building wall and again bounce back for a final show of aerobatics. Now, the last cast was so good, much more line was released and the chicken was now very low above the busy sidewalk. I would estimate it to be maybe about 4 to 8 feet above the people below. The clear fishing line was almost invisible and now it appears like this BBQ’d plastic chicken is levitating just a few feet above all the pedestrians… but no one notices. Quite a sight. As we were reeling up the chicken, someone in one of offices below had an umbrella out the window, trying to snag the chicken but we successfully avoided the kidnap attempt and retrieved the chicken. At that point it became more than just a lesson in casting so we wrote a note on a post-it that stated “PLEASE IGNORE THE CHICKEN.” We carefully lowered the chicken back to the kidnapers window, the umbrella came out again and the chicken was rudely was pulled inside. Well, we just lost our chicken. They didn’t ignore it as instructed. After a few minutes the line was released with a new note attached. We reeled it back up and the note read: “WHAT CHICKEN ?” The next day Herb Caen wrote in his column about a levitating chicken of unknown origin was spotted across from Wells Fargo. I kept the article but lost it years ago. Maybe I can find it in the Chron.‘s archive sometime.
A Walk Into History
In the mid 1970s to the early ‘80s, I coördinated a very interesting documentary art program for the National Park Service. The program had been going on between the New York Society of Illustrators and the National Park Service in Washington D.C.
I had received word that they wanted to include a professional art society on the west coast into their program ”Artists In The Parks”.
A ‘Parks’ official flew out from Washington D.C. to meet me to discuss the program and their needs.
Fortunately our Society of Illustrators was having an annual exhibit in the lobby of the Crown Zellerbach Building at the same time. After having wined and dined him, I took him to see the illustration exhibit. He was very impressed with the caliber of talent in the San Francisco Society of Illustrators. Two days after he flew back, I received a phone call. We were a part of the program!
The San Francisco illustrators that chose to travel and create paintings for the National Parks Collection were:
1‑Jim Sanford (not shown) 2‑Chris Kenyon 3‑Dave Grove 4‑Earl Thollander (not shown) 5‑Norm Nicholson 6‑Suzanne Siminger (not shown) 7‑John Rutherford (not shown) 8‑Ray Ward 9‑Bill Shields 10-Dick Cole (not shown) 11-Joe Cleary 12-Ed Diffenderfer 13-Robert Bausch (not shown).
I was asked to assign those artists willing to travel and participate in the program to a national park or monument in the U.S. Upon their return, an artist would produce one or two paintings with complete freedom to express their interpretation of the park they had visited.
One assignment that I had, included traveling to Glacier Bay National Monument, Alaska and Klondike National Historic Park in Skagway. Skagway, Alaska, in 1976 was a quiet village and tourism was minimal.
Upon my arrival, in a conversation with one of the residents, I told him my purpose for being there. He immediately suggested an afternoon excursion for my wife and me. Our guide offered to take us to a ghost town called Dyea, site of the starting point for the gold prospectors in the 1898 Yukon gold rush. We accepted his offer and found ourselves bouncing over and old dirt road for miles in his truck. We climbed up and over a mountain until we came to a spot where the road ended. “Now we have to hike in, the rest of the way”, our guide said.
My wife and I looked at each other with apprehension. The only thing visible was thick brush and heavy timber ahead. I told my wife that I would fall back behind her and our guide as we hiked in, as a safety measure. Was this guy for real or had we accepted a ride from a possible Klondike mass murderer? The thoughts went through my head.
After about a half-mile hike through mosquito-infested brush, we suddenly came into a clearing. There before us were a number of old deserted cabins from the 1898 gold rush. Many cabins still contained remains of furniture and some utensils on the tables. We saw an old gravesite with sixty head stones. This was at the base of the steep Chilkoot ice steps that the miners climbed on their way to the gold fields of the Yukon. As the story has been told, the miners waited for days to climb the ice steps, single file and burdened down with all their gear. On one occasion, one slipped and fell – – bringing the others down with him, resulting in the deaths of sixty miners. All now buried in that graveyard.
After safely returning that afternoon to Skagway, we reflected on what we had experienced that afternoon. The whole experience of that afternoon directed me to a different approach to the art I later produced. I created a large assemblage, depicting the history and the events of that area.
For the Glacier Bay assignment, I painted one of the massive glaciers. I was trying to capture the quietness of this vast landscape. The quiet, once in awhile, only broken by the roar of an ice cliff collapsing into the bay, called “caving”.
“An Other-Worldly Experience”
Artist Robert Bausch was born in 1938 in San Francisco and grew up in California. After graduating from college he was an art director for several advertising agencies in San Francisco before he launched a freelance design and illustration business in 1968. He has always had a strong interest in aviation, and has produced many paintings of aircraft, which led to his participation in the Air Force Art Program. He also made several paintings for the US Navy and NASA.
In 1979 the National Park Service commissioned him to travel to Carlsbad Caverns as part of the Artist-In-Residence Program, where he produced sketches on the spot, down in the caverns. Bausch had never been to Carlsbad before, and found being underground for hours at a time to be an unforgettable experience. This was also the first time he had been to the Southwest, and the sweeping landscapes made a lasting impression. Bausch reflects on his time in the cave:
“The experience of visiting Carlsbad Caverns was surely one of the most unusual ones I’ve ever had. What an astonishing thing the caverns are! It would have been different enough just being there. But the fact that I was actually working “down below,” drawing and thinking about what I was drawing, in this very strange and awesome place, was quite a treat for the senses. Every morning after breakfast for four days I went down and sat on a campstool and started sketching. This was early in the day, and very few other people were about, if any. Down here was a truly magical world, the prehistoric depths of our planet. The lighting was very subdued, and it was extremely quiet, except for the sound of dripping water, echoing from unseen chambers around me, as the process of the formation of the caverns continued. I will never forget this other-worldly experience.”
Bausch created a series of impressionistic pen-and-ink renderings on illustration board and paper of various areas in the cave, and donated a total of nine large drawings. Some of the drawings were executed using only detailed hatched ink lines, while others were enhanced with ink washes. Each drawing also has a line of hand-written text at the bottom describing the location. Documenting the process of a drawing with text as part of the finished image was very popular in the 1970s.
In 2009, Lois Manno, who at the time had been volunteering at Carlsbad Caverns for 15 years, and has been involved with the National Park Service for many years, published a beautiful book, Visions Underground, which chronicles various artist’s involvement with Carlsbad Caverns, and the art they have produced as a result. 4 of Bausch’s drawings are featured in the book.
Assignment: Harpers Ferry Historical National Park, WV
SFSI member, Ed Diffenderfer
Dick and I phoned Ed who described the trip in the Fall of 1970. He said that before leaving home, Mary Ann planned an extended stay. They would rent a car and touch on selected locations in that region of our country.
When they arrived at Harpers Ferry, viewing and taking many photos, Ed said that the history of both; that location and abolitionist John Brown, combined in determining his illustration.
[Mary Ann, was a commercial artist before she turned her talents to writing. She has had a number of books published. This from her recent email to us: “I have a novel coming out soon (September) about a woman artist — “All Kinds of Beauty”.”]
She suggested that I search the life story of John Brown.
Here, first, is Ed Diffenderfer’s painting.
Following Ed’s painting (and a photo of Ed from the 2001 SFSI Reunion) I show images that I have found about John Brown—
‑the man: Born May 9, 1800, ancestry back to 17th-century English Puritans, and from a staunchly Calvinist and antislavery family. Father of 20 children (some sons, were also abolitionists). Many years involved with the Underground Railroad and other anti-slavery efforts.
‑the Harpers Ferry Raid that he instigated: On the evening of October 16, 1859, Brown led 21 men on a raid of the federal armory of Harpers Ferry in Virginia (now West Virginia). Holding dozens of men hostage his followers gathered the stored guns with the plan of inspiring slaves to march north, to freedom.
Brown’s forces held out for two days but they were eventually defeated by military forces led by Robert E. Lee. Many of Brown’s men were killed, including two of his sons, and he was captured.
‑and the price he paid: — hanged — for his attempt to abolish slavery in the years before the Civil War.
Visiting West Virginia at that time of the year, Ed said that they found the trees were showing their ultimate of colors. He said that they drove a lot, stopping at the chosen locations, such as Norman Rockwell’s original: home-studio / museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Ed said that the collection, there, offered the chance to see the detail of the brushstrokes on paintings never seen when reproduced in halftone printing.
The Diffenderfers traveled as far as Rockport, MA and then it was soon time to return to California and start painting.
Yosemite and Mount McKinley National Park
G. Dean Smith studied at Pratt Institute in New York and the Art Center School in Los Angeles before opening a graphic design firm in San Francisco in 1959. It was in 1962 — for San Francisco’s ABC outlet, KGO-TV, that he designed (known as the Circle 7 logo) – the first of the trademark symbols that were to make him known nationally.
Conference of National Park Concessioners
For this leaflet shown: “Welcome to your park” — Dick Moore was asked by G. Dean Smith to show the various services available for visitors during their stay in the US National Parks.
Welcome to the Tetons
Line art of a section of a full mountain range — Dick created this line drawing for a folder about the Grand Tetons for G. Dean Smith. The year and details are forgotten. Just this sample remains.
Norm Nicholson and Robert Bausch supplied the stories of their experiences.
Then, with a phone call to Ed Diffenderfer, I was able to present the third National Park Service, “Artists In The Parks” report.
The other samples, here, were not part of the SFSI project.
G. Dean Smith’s trademarks for the NPS were designed in 1968 –for the Yosemite Park & Curry Co. and in 1970 –for the Mount McKinley National Park.
The assignments that Dean gave to Dick Moore in the 1970s show other graphic designs required by the Conference of National Park Concessioners.
To show the locations of the parks described, I added the maps from Google.
When many of those who worked commercially, came to the time to make a change or retire, they usually stepped into another avenue related to their talent: fine arts painting, personal photography, sculpture, writing, decorative wear, event designing & planning, professional crafts, book design, teaching, theatre and more. Their unique talents, perfected through the years, were valuable in pursuing their new interests.
When Bruce Wolfe switched full-time, from 2D illustration to 3D sculpture — he surprised many in our ‘graphics’ circles. Bruce had a wide range of painting styles. This move, out of the commercial advertising arena, gave a huge opening to others. Here is Bruce’s sculpture of photographer Ed Zak – and I show Ed Zak in 2006.
In the 1960s and ‘70s— ‘Levi’s Brand’ in San Francisco — many of us think: Chris Blum!
There were Levi’s posters, ads, and TV commercials (from Dancer Fitzgerald and Sample) like this one:
Now, his favorite art form is boxes – – that make you stop, and question, and wonder!
You can see Chris Blum’s websites in our listings: “Still in The Game” and “Artist’s Sites” in the columns at left and right.
Dave Broad has said: “I found my heart and wife in San Francisco”. He also found a long and successful opportunity – he joined Landphere Associates. Dave found that art studio was full of great people – and Max Landphere, was a close friend. There, Dave created humorous Illustrations. After many years, Dave decided that it was time to start freelancing. Time to be working from home, as his third child was due to arrive there. His light-hearted Illustrations continued to grace many publications. When he stepped away from commercial work, that was his chance to show his watercolor talents — from the classic watercolor styles to bright abstracts.
We posted a full story of Jack Allen’s photography, previously. I missed showing this sample of his 1965 “Lucky Lager” photography. This time we emphasize his change from photography to painting. The style of his paintings are now subjects for jig-saw puzzles: “Company Town” (500 pieces) and “Nob Hill” (1000 pieces) are shown – very popular for all ages who are now staying close to their homes.
Kirsten Tirsbak Nusser
Kirsten arrived from Denmark in late 1965, and worked for Psychology Today Magazine in San Diego and design studios in LA.
I first met Kirsten when I joined Barnum Communications, later FCB, in 1976. For many years we both covered medical ad agency needs as art directors, graphic designers and layout artists. (Shown: a medical journal ad for Aleve® and the Genentech HER2 Patient Education Brochure (Cancer) –for which Kirsten won an RX Award.)
During many big campaigns, we were often working nights and weekends, after everyone else had gone home! After I left FCB healthcare in 1995, Kirsten stayed, and was employed there as Art Director, until retiring in early 2001. Then her time became open — to design jewelry (and she also teaches jewelry-making). Kirsten said she especially enjoyed designing the backdrops and coming up with fun ideas for this event in 2019: Speak Easy Night Club, for the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco.
Here was another move to sculpture. Mik Kitagawa worked at various ad agencies in San Francisco.
He started in print, got into TV at Y&R on Goodyear. When he moved to other agencies he did both TV and print.
This entry into the SFSCA 1974 competition won him a gold medal.
Once on his own, he found many locations to sculpt. I didn’t know Mik at the time, except for his appearances at McGovern’s on Vallejo Street. Then he would attend the Geezer Gatherings. Richard and I visited one of his “open-studios” and we purchased this figure. This bronze piece, Mik titled: “Romeo and…”.
Just recently we received a note from Norm Nicholson. I have posted his illustrations, but now he is writing his memoirs.
Norm’s note to me:
I knew you were a native of San Francisco. That is a great story of your mother working in the defense industry in Richmond. She was one of the original Rosie the Riveters. You have to start writing your memoirs with all the years of growing up in SF. Or you probably have started.
I have to get back to it myself as I have let the pen drop so to speak. I have written a lot of memoir material as I had been in several writing workshops. It’s really for my Grandson’s and Grand daughters, who would enjoy them.
I would see Rory Phoenix, also at McGovern’s. I knew that he was in advertising but I didn’t know of his copywriting talent. That was back in the 1980s. I remember seeing the ”Pin Drop” commercial on TV.
I changed my lunch spots when McGovern’s became a ‘fern bar’ called “Grumpy’s”— so I no longer saw these ad men at lunchtime. Then in 2010, in our Marin Independent Journal, I saw Rory Phoenix again — a painter!
I was able to reach Rory and he sent this:
“McGovern’s” late 70s early 80s was an era of long lunches. I remember the owner Seamus poured very generous drinks.
I worked at JWT ‘til ‘87 and left for Chicago, then NY in ‘87. Came back to JWT 9 – 3‑2000. Painted all my life and was an art director ‘til the Mac turned layout into a commodity and became all about Photoshop. Copywriting always seemed easier. Heck, I wrote half the scripts and headlines anyway.
I continue to work remotely where age doesn’t seem to matter. I think the Internet gave a lot of us “geezers” a fresh opportunity, after they’d shunted us out when we started looking too much like “Dad”.
You can see Rory Phoenix’s websites in our listings: “Still in The Game” and “Artist’s Sites” in the columns at left and right.
With so many at home and not sure of being employed again – – I find that, very much like the time that I had to retire before retirement age. It was 1996 and I was age 55 when I moved out of my studio located in San Francisco. It was not: “Now, what else can I do?” it was “I know what I need to do”.
I became a caregiver. I had already been assisting my aunt who had been on her own for nine years. I had been able to stop by “in the avenues” after work. So helping my aunt, taking on some free-lance jobs and other family matters filled my time. But then from 2002 to 2011, my mother needed my help.
Care giving starts with the closing down of residences.
(Totally out of my realm of experience) was the “first job” – – when a small mobile home that I sold through a realtor – was abandoned before the full payment. The property had been wrecked and my “trusted” realtor turned her back on me. I needed to refurbish, advertise and make the appointments and show the property, and sell the mobile home. I even wrote a new sales agreement that incorporated the rules of the mobile home park with the legal requirements for selling. This is just to say that, when you have a new task, you can tackle it.
All this was before the time when daily health-care was needed full time.
Senior-care wasn’t in my art instruction, but my past assignments in the medical ad agencies gave me the interest to illustrate what I was learning with this new challenge. I also took photos of foods, homecare equipment and my mother. (I was lucky that she was always sweet and accepted all that I tried when there were changes made and she required more help.)
As a full time caregiver, I was not making money – but I was saving it. No more free-lance business expenses, no hired help to our home.
There were those who suggested that my mother be placed in senior home. I couldn’t “not know” what was happening to her daily – or even hourly.
So, as I was learning what was required, I was making a record of everything. I was “on the job” as I had been all those years at my drawing board.
My past assignments had shown a lot of step-by-step instructions. My past experience with type and photo selection helped when I created a binder of information. A visiting hospice nurse once suggested that my binder of care would be useful for the Red Cross to share with the public after a natural disaster. Family members might need some easy-to-view instructions.
There were vacations that I had to refuse, but I used the time for family research, family trees, and keeping this Geezer group as an extension of the friends that I had from previous years. After 2011, I continued almost full time with these projects.
The change of job for me, I know now, is that I write. I hadn’t been into writing since my high-school years. Now I’m writing for this Geezers site, computer type designing of family roots, and I wrote a small (48 page) book of my paternal grandparents.
Another big job change for me is that I take digital photos! I have taken thousands of shots as we have visited (monthly for 6.5 years) the building of the “Matthew Turner” – – a tribute to the master ship-builder of 228 ships who was related to one of my most favorite persons since 1964: Murray Hunt. I can’t say that I am a “photographer” but I am especially enjoying this new job change and also using my favorite tool – – this computer. (But I do still draw on paper.) I even submitted this cartoon to the New Yorker magazine. But it was rejected.
My changes did not make money. So many people are looking into what else they can do to bring in income.
Still, at this time, when it is safer to keep family members together — I know that I would again choose being a family caregiver.