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.
Click on an image for a larger view, large images can be scrolled to see all the image
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.
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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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
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