Willi Baum

Willi Baum

Adven­tures with pen and brush and camera, and trav­eling the world, would describe my life.

Born in Switzer­land, my school years in Dresden, surviving the city’s destruc­tion in WW2, I was fortu­nate to spend a 4‑year appren­tice­ship in Graphics in Switzer­land after the war. At age 20, I won the national compe­ti­tion for the design of a poster for the Swiss National Philat­elic Exhi­bi­tion, also chosen among the best Swiss posters of 1951. It is now in the MOMA collec­tion of N.Y.

After 4 years, adven­ture called, so I accepted a job as Art Director at South African Adver­tising in Cape Town. My earn­ings there allowed me to discover S.Africa and even­tu­ally roam East Africa on a motor scooter, with a stint at East African Adver­tising in Nairobi. On safari with my Lambretta. I devel­oped my love of wild life photog­raphy. Life was as inter­esting as the magic images on the stamps of my boyhood collec­tion. Many exciting adven­tures alone in the bush living in a pup tent, got me as close as possible to amaz­ingly tolerant wildlife.

Before returning to Europe, I earned my seaman‘s papers on a Pana­manian tramp steamer in the Indian Ocean.

1956. Back in Europe and in need of income, I joined Unilever as Art Director in Hamburg and London.

1958. Left for the U.S., touring the country in a used Ford. Ended up in Denver, finding plenty of work in design free-lancing, and most reward­ingly designing and illus­trating national ads for “Martin- Denver” Space program. After a short-lived marriage, took off for a 10-month trip to Japan, S.E. Asia and from there, over­land to Europe, recording with sketch­book and camera.

1961. Return to U.S., free­lancing for adver­tising in San Fran­cisco. Discover kayaking on the beau­tiful bay. In 1962 start many fruitful VW trips to Mexico, drawing and water-coloring.

A long sojourn in San Miguel Allende offered a chance to study mural fresco painting, and a chance at learning horse jumping.

When the savings ran out, I returned to S.F. and on to N.Y.C. where good free­lance work was to be found. From there a passage on a large ore-tanker to Rotterdam, drawing and painting on board.

1964. Again in S.F., design and illus­tra­tion shifting to illus­trating for the emerging creative national school­book market, launched by the most promi­nent publishers.

1969. Move my studio from Pier 39 to a house in Mill Valley. Work lead to illus­trating children’s books and even­tu­ally writing around a dozen of my own picture books mostly for Euro­pean publishers. Many story ideas orig­i­nated on travels. Observing dance drama in Bali lead to a visual trans­la­tion in the form of a large port­folio of 32 hand printed and hand colored linoleum cuts, the “Bali Ramayana”, still looking for a book publisher for the collec­tion.

Having my own letter­press, allowed for an output of private linoleum cuts over the years. A home dark room allowed for printing my own b/w travel photos.

A very creative rela­tion­ship with a book publisher in S.F. allowed for steady work in book dust-jacket design which allowed for continued travel, now with my shutter-bug wife Kimiko, who shares my love for Africa and it’s wild animals. The back­yard of our home in Mill Valley is a favorite hangout for the local wild life.

Willi Baum

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George Albertus

George Albertus

In the early ‘60s — George Albertus was in the ADASF office after an officer’s meeting. George was the first socially conscious artist that I had met. (This was before Primo Angeli’s poster: “The Silent Majority”.) George’s current mission, then, was to feed poor and hungry chil­dren in the USA, working with the St. Andrew Pres­by­terian Church of Marin City. He was passionate in his causes, in his art with light and cheerful wit, and in his views…when the strength of his opinion was very obvious.
He once, gave much of his time and limit­less energy to the ADASF “Love-In” party honoring Adele Smith who held our club together! He painted a twenty-foot banner, featuring many of the club members. It was displayed again at the first GEEZER GATHERING in 1993. Draped along the far side of the swim­ming pool, a wind picked it up…so all I have now is a photo of part of it.

Just after I grad­u­ated from City College of San Fran­ciso, George Albertus taught there. I missed his class by a year! He and other profes­sional Bay Area artists such as: Stan Galli, Alice Harth, Dick Cheney, Amado Gonzalez, and more…brought first-hand knowl­edge to the students of commer­cial art.

There was an ADASF Minia­ture Auction held at “Gold Street” (where New Year’s Eve was cele­brated every night of the year…Champagne, noise-makers, confetti — the works!) and who else remem­bers that it also was the street in North Beach where “Conklin Brothers”…. Square-cut and his pal Carpet Head…put a perma­nent carpet on the one block of street? At the auction, I placed a winning bid on one of George’s entries. A woman at the auction (not one of our club members) argued with me on the defi­n­i­tion of “Art”. She insisted that only a conven­tional land­scape or such, was worth being framed and sold and hung on a wall. This framed “Albertus” (below) has been on my wall since then.

Also, below, is the section of the “Love-In” banner and many of his accepted entries found in the ADASF Annuals of that time.

Ann Thompson

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Note: There’s more on the early styles of George Albertus on the “Today’s Inspi­ra­tion” website…(search his name). Then at the bottom…(Click on “14 posts”)…the last three: a letter from George’s son, Anthony, and two comments.

Gene Hoffman

Gene Hoffman

Born in Penn­syl­vania in 1933, Gene Hoffman taught himself design and worked as an art director at an adver­tising agency until 1954. Gene Hoffman was working in San Fran­cisco as a free-lance artist in the early 1960s.

Here, he is shown in a 1962 issue of the “Galley West”, the news­paper of the Art Direc­tors and Artist Club of San Fran­cisco. (Note: “Galley West”, a “galley” — as some of us well remember — was a first proof of copy when type was set in metal. This print on newsprint paper, 7″ wide, was for proof-reading and sizing only…before the clean, clay-based print for paste-up was requested.)

Gene Hoffman was an award winning artist with Gold Medals from the New York Society of Illus­tra­tors, the Art Direc­tors Club of Denver, Okla­homa City, Phoenix, and Dallas / Ft.Worth…in addi­tion to his artwork being featured on national maga­zine covers. Those who remember Gene, would say that Gene spoke a lot…on many subjects… and with much humor. His illus­tra­tions in ink or paint, soon moved to a style that that no longer needed trips to Flax art supply store (at that time, at Bush and Mont­gomery streets). He was finding his medium, his palette, every­where! While producing a great many collages, Gene moved to Colorado and taught at Univer­sity of Northern Colorado, spreading his enthu­siasm to many years of art students. One of his students, designer, Sara Jacobs (Shablingo), received this comment on her website after she wrote about Gene’s graphic design class.

Gene’s wife, Sue Turn­gate wrote:
I was married to Gene for 25 years. He cared so much about his students, and yep, took it person­ally when folks were not engaged. And when students were engaged, he was very devoted. I’m still in touch with a number of his former students. At some point, I’d like to find a home for Gene’s art. After he passed away in 2005, there were a few more exhibits of his work – bur really, it would be wonderful for more people to get to expe­ri­ence it.

Below are some exam­ples of Gene’s early work and a few of his assem­blages.

Bill Nellor

I only recently made my first contact with Bill Nellor, who is 89 years young.
He had a wide variety of clients and could style to his work to fit each.
Here, below, are parts of several emails from Bill, describing his commer­cial work.
But first, a painting (another example of his versatility)…that I found on Google Images:


Ann, yes the painting was mine. I did it in my first year at Cornish College. It was done for my father who had been in the logging busi­ness and from his photographs I executed the painting. When both my mother and father passed away it somehow went into auction. Where it went from there I don’t know. I also had a one-man exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum during my final year at Cornish where 3 of my paint­ings were purchased by the museum.
I’ve been unable to tract down the where­abouts of the painting and its status at this time. I went to Artfact and entered my name with no results. I would be inter­ested in passing it down to my son or daughter. Maybe you can help me find it? Thanks,
Bill Nellor

I was an art super­visor at Y&R in SF and later moved to Santa Rosa where I became a partner in the Levinger-Nellor adver­tising agency. Yes, I did develop the art and concept for “Clo”, the Clover Dairy cow adver­tising series. The client strongly resisted the “Clo” approach (Cows don’t have teeth like that!) until reluc­tantly conceding. I believe that I lost the account a few years later when the client learned that I had partic­i­pated in an anti-Vietnam war demon­stra­tion in Santa Rosa. I was very much against our involve­ment there. I have a son named Robert who was named after my brother that died in WW2, we both served in the Navy. Robert was eligible for the draft but I kept my polit­ical beliefs private from my adver­tising busi­ness. Somehow the client learned of my partic­i­pa­tion in the anti-war move­ment and my part­ner­ship with Levinger was termi­nated. I then proceeded to open my own adver­tising agency and was very successful with several large local accounts that adver­tised nation­ally.

After I sold my agency busi­ness my wife and I moved to Maui where I designed items and made paint­ings for the tourist trade. After ten years we moved back to Santa Rosa to be near our two chil­dren and Grand­chil­dren, and now a Great grand child. I am 89 years old now and my activ­i­ties are very limited (Oh my achin’ back!). We live in Valle Vista senior subdi­vi­sion and still manage to take our daily walk through our very nice common area park.
I’ve attached a poster of Susanne Somers I did (shame on me) for Maher­ajah Water skis in the 70’s as part of the “right-on” theme for the adver­tising I was doing for them. The poster has become a collector’s item on the Internet even to this date. So…my past is tainted with this unscrupu­lous means of paci­fying my clients adver­tising demands. Please forgive me for this shady episode from my past. The logo design for “right-on” also appeared on T‑shirts, which are even being sold today on the Internet.
I’ve also attached what was the second “Clo” bill­board “Support your local cow” a “take-off” on the popular TV series at that time “Support your local sheriff“. I don’t have a copy of the first, but it depicted the body of Clo as a factory with the head­line “Factory Fresh.….Clover Milk”. The artwork of the head of Clo is exactly the same today as then.
I collab­o­rated with Jim Molica a good friend in the adv bus, late 70’s, to produce a pocket-book edition for Signet Books called “Funny Fizzles”, copy attached. It was a comic inter­pre­ta­tion of some actual funny patents on record at the patent office.
I don’t believe that I have any other items I’ve saved from the past since I cleaned out most of it when my wife and I moved to Maui for ten years.

To see what Bill is doing, now, look at his work under “Artist’s Galleries” in the column to the left.

Gordon Brusstar

Of That Time:
The following images, in this collec­tion, are from the 1950s to 1970s publi­ca­tions of Art Direc­tors and Artists Club of San Fran­cisco, San Fran­cisco Society of Illus­tra­tors, Commu­ni­ca­tion Arts, and private collec­tions.

Gordon Brusstar
I only got to meet Gordon once, when he came into BH&H’s studio with his 4′ x5’ layout for a POP for grocery chains. I still can see it in my mind, I was so impressed with his talent.

Click on an image to see a larger view and the gallery.

If you remember Gordon and can tell us more about him…please add you comments by clicking here.

I remember Gordon Brusstar well, he did several illus­tra­tions for us back in the 60s and early 70s when I was AD at AF-GL. He was a great guy – jovial and funny and was always laughing. He and his wife oper­ated a tree farm some­where out of Napa. He also showed paint­ings in the Yountville mart and in the old Nut Tree. A very talented artist.
 D Wayne White